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Devil May Care (If He's Guilty)

Chapter Text

Alec Lightwood was many things. He was a man of honor, a man of substance, strong and steadfast in his decisions, and on the rare occasion, he was patient.

Alec Lightwood was not, however, a man of mercy.


“No, please! I’ll give you anything, I swear, please stop!” The man’s voice trembled as he struggled to speak through the remaining teeth in his mouth. The beating he had suffered thus far was, shockingly, not the worst one Simon had seen Alec give in his time as his assistant and he actually found himself getting a little bored. The thought alone made him second guess his life choices, frowning and wondering if it wasn’t too late to go back to college. Before he could get too far down that thought path, another cry rang out from across the room and the tortured man began openly sobbing as blood ran down his swollen face from the various lacerations he had suffered.

“I want information. That’s all. I have asked multiple times, quite nicely I might add, and yet you keep refusing. Are you offering what I want now?” Alec Lightwood, head of the Lightwood crime family and gleefully dubbed ‘The Godfather’ by Simon, leaned on a cheap wooden desk, the sleeves of his white button down rolled up carefully to his elbows and eyes intense as he stared down the man tied to a chair in front of him. His relaxed stance juxtaposed the tension in the room and Simon had no doubt it made the man being tortured even more unsure of where his chances of survival lay. He knew that if Alec Lightwood, 6’3 inches of well built muscle and cold indifference was in the midst of torturing information out of him, he might be a little scared for his survival as well.

Scratch that. Simon would be downright terrified and positive he was going to die.

The mobster arched an eyebrow as the silence stretched out beyond his question, casting Simon a look of ‘ can you believe this guy?’ to which Simon just gave an exaggerated shrug. Alec turned back to the man, whose name he had long forgotten, and watched as he coughed and blood dribbled down his chin. Alec lazily reached up to stretch his arms out above his head and sighed as he felt his shoulder pop. He checked his watch and made a show of examining his bloodied knuckles. The majority of the blood wasn’t his own, the dark red staining his skin and seeping in between his fingers toward his palms. He shook his head in irritation and pushed away from the desk behind him, taking a step forward.

The man whimpered and Simon, who was still sitting silently in one of the far corners of the room, watched a smirk tug at Alec’s lips.

Alec continued forward until he was close enough to see the sweat on the man’s brow and leaned down, grabbing his face roughly and forcing him to make eye contact. The man cried out in pain, most likely a broken jaw, Simon noted, and stared at Alec through swollen black eyes.

“I’m getting tired. I have other things to be doing and frankly, you should be thanking me for giving you this much time out of my day. I’m exercising a lot of patience dealing with you.”

The man breathed heavily and tried to speak, blood gurgling in his throat. He coughed and wheezed, more dark blood trailing down his chin onto Alec’s hand.

“I...I haven’t seen him in over a year, I swear. I don’t know anything. I spoke to him once, we h-had one meeting-” The man was cut off by Alec’s hand squeezing down on his broken jaw, his piercing scream breaking the eerie calm that had settled over the room.

“WHERE IS HE?” Alec’s sudden outburst made Simon jump in his seat, causing him to lose the game of Snake he had been playing on his phone. He frowned and checked his smart watch again. It was almost time for dinner. He wondered if Alec was in the mood for take out or pizza. He pulled up UberEats and began to scroll through possible options, his stomach rumbling.

The man had begun crying again, the acrid scent of urine filling the air as he struggled to pull his face out of Alec’s grip. Alec threw a quick punch, striking the man’s already battered ribcage, hard . Alec felt something give way under his knuckles and the man gasped loudly in pain, doubling over.

“Please, no more...please. Just kill me…” His breathing hitched and became more and more labored as he begged. Three hours at the hands of a determined mob boss had done a number on the man, his entire body covered in blood, sweat, and now urine and the multiple injuries he suffered making him delirious with pain.

Simon looked up and saw the seething anger that had twisted onto Alec’s face, the way his jaw clenched and unclenched and the veiled pain in his eyes. Definitely a soup dumpling night. Simon confirmed the order on his phone and tucked it into the inner pocket of his suit jacket.

“Alec?” Simon kept his voice low as he addressed his boss, watching his reaction closely. The man was prone to snapping when he was in one of his moods and Simon had learned many lessons regarding Alec Lightwood the hard way. The most important one, he had thankfully never had to learn from experience, as Izzy had taught him when he first began to work as Alec’s assistant.

Never, ever, under any circumstances, call him ‘Alexander.’

His eyes snapped to Simon’s and he took a deep breath, stepping back from the man that was barely breathing in the chair. Alec ran a hand through his hair and tugged at it in frustration, turning away from them to stare at the blank grey wall behind him.

“Belcourt.” The almost unintelligible whisper was followed with a fit of coughing and the sounds of struggled breathing. Alec spun back around and gripped the man’s hair, yanking his head up.

“What did you say?” Alec demanded, voice rough and frantic. “What did you say?!” He yelled in the man’s face, a desperate look in his eyes.

“Belcourt. She’s been heard talking...about him...word on the street is she...knows something.” The man’s speaking pattern indicated a punctured lung and a bad one if the increasing wet noises of his now quieter breathing was anything to go by. Simon almost felt bad. Then again, the man had murdered 3 people in cold blood for money, so he really didn’t.

Alec let go of his hair with a heavy sigh, the man’s head falling back down in a slump. Tears had welled up in Alec’s eyes and spilled over his cheekbones, the relief on his face clear as day even as he quickly wiped them away, smearing blood on his skin. Simon didn’t think he had seen Alec look so relaxed in months.

“Finally. Thank you.” Alec murmured to the man, patting him on the shoulder in an uncharastically friendly gesture for the current situation. The man lifted his head and Simon almost thought he looked hopeful.

Poor sap.

Alec exhaled again, straightening his shoulders and smiling slightly as he reached for the holster on his hip. Before the man in the chair even had time to beg, and before Simon had time to cover his ears, a gunshot resounded through the room, blood and brain matter spattering the floor behind the now limp body in the chair. Simon sighed, wiping his face tiredly at his boss’s rash decisions and sent a text to the cleaning crew, making sure to tell them that room 3 needed the heavy duty ‘spill kit’.

Alec holstered his handgun and grabbed his suit jacket and phone from the desk. He typed something quickly before slipping the phone into the pocket of his black slacks. His white dress shirt was stained beyond saving and his once wrapped hands were a swollen mess of blood and loose hanging cloth. Simon made a mental note to put in an order for new hand wraps as he stood from his chair and waved his phone in the air with a smile.

“I ordered food?” It came out sounding like a question, still unsure of his boss’s mood. Good news aside, Alec was touchy these days and notoriously hard to read.

But he smiled and walked forward to clap Simon on the back, who winced. Raphael was going to have a hard time buying whatever excuse he could come up with for that blood stain that was undoubtedly on his suit now.

“We’re going to find him. We’re going to find Magnus.” Alec stated firmly, grinning at his assistant before turning to leave.

Simon smiled in what he hoped was a reassuring way and followed Alec out of the room.

Simon hoped, for Alec’s own sake, that he was right.




After finishing up dinner with Simon at the office and going over how they were going to get a hold of Camille, Alec went home to his empty apartment with a heavy feeling in his chest. Dropping his keys on the counter, he tugged off his tie and tossed it aside, simultaneously toeing off his dress shoes and kicking them away. In the back of his mind, a small voice reminded him how much Magnus would have hated that and he frowned, rubbing his temples and willing the thoughts away. He didn’t even turn on any lights as he made his way to his bedroom and collapsed on the bed, stretching out and allowing himself to sink into the mattress.

Today had been one of the more painful ones so far. Over a year and a half of searching and only just a few months ago had Alec started getting leads again. The majority of them had been dead ends, just rumors on the street that Alec had put too much stock into, but the man they had picked up and tortured today, Alec had had a gut feeling about him.

He just didn’t think it would lead him to Magnus’ ex. As far as Alec knew, Camille Belcourt was a petty criminal who liked to leech onto successful people and feed off their money and skill until she didn’t find them useful anymore. When Alec had heard about her from Magnus, almost 2 years ago now, she was assumed to be somewhere in Europe. Alec sat up, berating himself as he unbuttoned his shirt and tossed it across the room. He should have thought to check on Camille. He hadn’t thought she would be involved in Magnus going missing since she hadn’t seen the man in over 4 years at the time of his disappearance. Rolling himself haphazardly under the blanket, Alec stuck his phone on the wireless charger and buried his face in the pillow, a deep frown on his face. The woman was abusive, sure. Conniving and manipulative and one of the most toxic people that Alec had thankfully never had the pleasure of meeting, and despite all of that, he hadn’t even suspected her.

His whirling thoughts of self doubt and irritation slowly turned into thoughts of Magnus, typical of what happened when he tried to sleep. He found his mind wandering to thoughts of the man’s eyes, the way he liked to line them with kohl and the one time in particular that he smudged a bright gold beneath them, a look which had Alec’s throat tightening at the very first sight of him. It had been the night of one of their first dates, the first time he had joined Magnus in his loft for drinks. He had blonde streaks in his hair and the glitter had contrasted with his dark skin. Alec had a hard time keeping his hands to himself and an even harder time leaving the loft before he moved too fast and messed things up. Magnus hadn’t made it easy, his shirt only half buttoned and decorated with attention drawing necklaces, as if Alec had needed any more of a reason to stare at his chest. They had ended up sprawled out on his balcony couch together, legs tangled up with Alec resting his head on Magnus chest and pointing to the sky, drunkenly making up constellation names. Magnus’ laughter, the way he had clutched his stomach and fallen into a fit of giggling when Alec had started making up dirtier and more ridiculous names, had made Alec realize he was already in love with the man and had been from the very first date they had. Magnus Bane had quickly made himself the most important person in Alec’s life and didn’t even realize it because he was tipsy on one too many vodka sodas and laughing so hard he cried.

Alec missed him. He missed him a lot.

And he was going to do everything absolutely necessary to get him back home.

Chapter Text

1 year, 2 months, and 7 days ago.


“Alexander, darling? Have you seen my black silk shirt? The one with the swirls?” Alec poked his head out of the bathroom where he had been adjusting his tie to find his boyfriend, standing bare chested in the middle of their bedroom and looking confused. “I swear I had placed it over the back of the armchair in the living room. Did you move it?” Magnus asked, raising his eyebrows at his boyfriend, who was busy looking him up and down, a hungry glint in his eye.

Alec pulled the bathroom door shut behind him as he stepped out, turning his body to make sure Magnus didn’t see the pile of black cloth on the counter behind him. He walked over to him and pulled Magnus closer by his belt loops and making an innocently contemplative face. “No, I can’t say I have. Do you really need it though? Why not go with the other red one?” Alec nodded toward the see-through shirt hanging from the portable rack Magnus had pulled from his walk in when he had been getting ready earlier. Magnus rolled his eyes with a huff and a peck to Alec’s lips before spinning them around and practically waltzing toward the bathroom door.

“Because, darling, dinner with your parents is not the time for you to ogle my chest or give your mother a view of my extra jewelry. “ Magnus opened the bathroom door and swiped the shirt from the counter, slipping it over his broad shoulders and buttoning it with deft fingers. Alec eyed the metal adorning Magnus’s nipples before the man quickly finished with the buttons, securing the shirt shut and crossing his arms over his chest. He smirked at Alec, who just looked disappointed. “Also, you’re a terrible liar, Alexander. Especially when it comes to me. You think I don’t know what you’ve been hiding from me?” He tilted his chin down, giving Alec a serious and pointed look.

All the air whooshed out of Alec’s lungs suddenly and he opened his mouth to start playing dumb when he saw a grin crack the firm line of his boyfriend’s mouth.

“Oh my, Alexander, with a reaction like that, I might actually be onto something. Are you hiding something from me?” Magnus voice was a teasing purr and Alec wasn’t sure if he was more relieved or attracted at the moment but he forced a smooth smile across his face and rolled his eyes.

“You’d like me to have some dirty secrets, wouldn’t you? What, a business major with an office job too boring for you? You need someone more interesting?”

“Oh, Alexander, I would say that last night was quite interesting enough.” Magnus gave Alec a playful wink and patted his chest affectionately as he moved past him, looking around the bedroom. “I suppose you’ve hidden my shoes too, so that we might be stuck here or I am forced to change my whole outfit?” Magnus eyed him suspiciously as he strolled out the double doors and into the loft’s living room. Alec followed, grabbing his blazer off the bed.

Magnus was lacing up his dress shoes as Alec grabbed the bottle of champagne they were taking to his parent’s home. He placed it next to their wallets and keys by the door as his phone began to ring. Just as he reached for it, Magnus spoke.


Alec froze, confused. His voice didn’t sound right.


The voice was more urgent now and it still came from Magnus’s mouth, the phone ringing more incessantly in the background.



Present Day


Alec jerked to attention in his chair, his office phone ringing loudly as Simon waved a hand in front of his face. He opened and shut his mouth a few times, not remembering how to speak and confused at the sudden change in scenery. Did he nod off? He drug a hand over his face and shuddered before reaching for the phone with a shaky hand.

“L-Lightwood.” His voice betrayed the unsteady mood he had found himself in and he cursed internally.

“Hermano? Are you alright?” Isabelle’s voice did little to soothe Alec’s frayed nerves but it grounded him enough to stop the trembling in his voice. He cleared his throat.

“Yes, I’m fine. What is it?” He made sure to keep his voice as normal as possible now, knowing his sister responded to any hint of the poor state of his mental health like a shark did to a drop of blood. Simon eyed him with concern but Alec shot him a glare and the man ducked his head and returned his attention to the tablet in his hand.

“Alec, are you okay? I’m calling because Mom is coming to visit the office around 2. She wants to know if we can all want to go for lunch.” Alec mulled over the idea, ignoring his sister’s initial question. On one hand, seeing his mother would be nice but on the other, this opened up chances for his family to interrogate and pester him about his life.

“Who is we?”

“You, me, Jace, and Max. She brought him with this time.”

Alec sighed and looked over his schedule on the notepad in front of him. He didn’t have any legitimate excuse not to go other than that he really didn’t want to and it was too late to make something up on the spot without being too obvious.

“Yeah, alright. I’ll be there.” He hung up the phone, only feeling mildly guilty because it was Izzy. But she’d understand. He didn’t like talking more than was necessary these days. Hence why he usually avoided family lunches.

Simon perked up once he slammed the phone down on the receiver.

“You doing okay, boss?”

“I’m two years older than you, Simon. Stop calling me boss.” Alec reached into his side drawer and pulled out his emergency stache of migraine medication. He opened the bottle and shook two into his hand before throwing them into his mouth and swallowing dry. Simon winced and his face screwed up in disgust.

“Right, sorry. Uh, anyway. Just got word that Camille Belcourt has been off the map for a while now. I’ve been talking to some people, trying to get information on her. Uh, I spoke with... his friend Catarina and she said she might have an idea. She is supposed to call later if she finds anything out. I guess she used to know Camille pretty well too. Oh, and don’t worry. I didn’t tell her anything. I pretended to be from the police department.” Simon grinned, proud of himself.

Alec looked away from Simon, his chest tightening at the mention of one of Magnus’ best friends. He had cut off everyone after Magnus’s disappearance, including Catarina and Ragnor when they’d tried to offer their help and comfort.. He knew he shouldn’t have but all they reminded him of was what he lost and it really was best that they didn’t find out just what Alec did for a living. And he was sure if the police knew, he’d be the main suspect in Magnus’ disappearance. Best to avoid that whole headache.

“But other than that, your schedule is wide open today. Oh! Not that it matters, because its a front for the crime business and all but downstairs wanted to let you know we made almost five hundred thousand in that small jewel deal the other day with, what was the name, uh…Aldertree! And it was a tiny sale, like seriously, he way overpaid. I hear it was hilarious.”

Alec just kept nodding as Simon spoke. He couldn’t wait for today to be over.




“Alec! You made it.” Izzy smiled as he approached the table in the small restaurant they had chosen down the street. It was quiet, just fancy enough for his family, and yet discreet. They had booked a private table, it was Maryse Lightwood after all, and it seemed he was the last to arrive.

“I told you I was coming, didn’t I?” Alec took a seat next to Isabelle and Jace, who clapped him on the shoulder.

“Yeah but we all know you have a habit of calling and canceling at the last second.” Jace smirked and Alec only shot him an unimpressed glare.

“Jace, be nice!” Izzy smacked him across the back of the head and Jace glared at her. Alec sighed heavily. This is why he didn’t come to these things. Jace treated him too normally and Izzy treated him like he was made of glass. Even a year and a half later and his family still hadn’t figured out how to act around him without coming across awkward and overbearing half the time.

“Alec, how are things? I hear the company made a good deal the other day?” Maryse asked, eyes twinkling. His mother, one of the founders of the ‘company’  knew exactly what it really was and took every chance she could to hear about how well her eldest was running it. It was a welcome distraction and even though she had long abandoned the game herself, she still gave good advice when Alec needed it. Seeing the way he had changed the family’s goals and the company’s trajectory to a more helpful line of crime, but crime nonetheless, had made Maryse realize she really didn’t know Alec as well as she had previously thought. It had taken a few years, after the falling out that had resulted in him coming out and taking the business from his parents all at once, but she had managed to repair her relationship with her son.

“It’s great. Just...same old thing. You know.” Alec shrugged, his eyes focused on the empty plate in front of him. Maryse nodded, noting that his mind was clearly elsewhere and folded her napkin in her lap as the waiter brought some bread and a charcuterie board to the table. She wasn’t about to push him, knowing his siblings did that on a daily basis, but it still pained her to see her son so apathetic. Alec had always been a delightful child, up until he hit his teen years and had had his joy thoroughly berated out of him, her fault , she reminded herself regretfully. Magnus had come into Alec’s life just as Maryse was beginning to repair her relationship with her son and she still remembered the first time she had lunch with him after he had met the man. She didn’t think she had ever seen Alec so happy. He had been carefree, talking with his hands and animatedly relating her information about work before letting slip that he’d had a date, enthusiastic and clearly about to regale the information to her. There had been a moment where he seemed to remember who he was speaking to and almost instantly shut down, dropping his hands and changing the subject while refusing to meet her eyes. She had reached out for his hand and squeezed it, softly encouraging him to continue and tell her about this ‘wonderful guy’. Alec’s responding smile, small and thankful, had been one of the turning points in the repairing of their relationship. Maryse smiled softly at the memory and turned her attention back to her children.

“How’s school going, Max?” Alec asked, trying to get the attention off of himself. Max, now 15 with an attitude to rival even Alec’s, rolled his eyes and scoffed.

“Nice redirecting the spotlight, big brother. School is fine, actually. I’m taking some foreign languages and mom has been helping me with my schoolwork and Spanish practice.” He shrugged like it wasn’t that interesting.

“¿eres fluido todavía?” Are you fluent yet? Alec responded, smirking. Max frowned.

“Not fair. You’ve got like, 14 years on me, old man.”

“Ay! ¿A quién llamas viejo?” Who are you calling old? Alec shot back, the annoyance clear even in his accented Spanish. Max just laughed, while Isabelle grinned at her brother. She was always delighted when he spoke Spanish because it reminded her of when they were kids and would get in trouble for conversing in it around adults that couldn’t speak the language. Mostly because they were always making fun of said adults.

The rest of lunch went well and normal enough. Izzy started to shoot Alec increasingly concerned looks when he pushed his food around his plate and retreated from the conversation more and more. The lunch was dragging on about two hours now and Max caught sight of how often Alec had begun to check his phone.

“What’s the rush, big brother? Gotta get back to tracking down Magnus?” Max arched a brow, his tone casual as he sipped his glass of water. Alec’s eyes shot up from his phone, boring into Max’s. Silverware clattered on the plate next to him, where Isabelle had dropped her fork in shock. Jace inhaled sharply enough to cause him to cough and sputter and Maryse seemed to still and hold her breath. Isabelle broke the tense silence that followed first.

“Maxwell Joseph Lightwood. Apologize, now.” Her voice was steely as she stared him down. Max raised his chin defiantly.

“Why? We’re just going to pretend that isn’t what he’s doing? I’m not stupid. And I’m sick of everyone pretending and shit. It’s irritating.” Max crossed his arms and held Alec’s gaze even as he addressed his sister.

“Izzy, it’s fine.” Alec cut in, shoving his phone into his pocket, his mouth in a grim line.

“Alec, what is Max talking about? I thought Magnus...was gone.” Maryse tried to speak as soft as possible. She knew her son had put a lot of effort into looking for the missing man initially but she had hoped he had been trying to move forward as time went on.

“He is.” Alec grit his teeth. Jace stayed quiet, watching and waiting. Isabelle lay a hand on Alec’s arm.

“Then why have I been hearing from Dad that you’re looking for intel on him? He says you’re endangering the family and risking people finding out about everything.” Max watched the hurt flash in Alec’s eyes, but his irritation won out and he continued. “I don’t understand why you are lying to everyone. You have been for months. Dad says some important people are taking notice of all those side jobs you’ve been pulling. You know, he is the only one that doesn’t still treat me like a dumb kid. He says-”

“Enough!” Alec slammed a hand down on the table, cutting Max off and rattling the dinnerware. Some of the staff cast their table uneasy looks. Max gasped, taken aback by this version of Alec, a version he had never been on the receiving side of. This Alec was the one that fought with their parents, loud screaming matches that Max remembered struggling to fall asleep to. The ones that always resulted in Alec coming in afterward to apologize and rock Max back to sleep even though he was too young to really understand. This Alec was the one that threatened Max’s elementary school principal for not taking care of the bullies, storming the school hallways with Max in tow, his black eye pushing Alec’s temper through the roof. This was the Alec other people had to deal with. Max’s Alec was caring, always there to offer advice and make sure Max wasn’t ignored or treated poorly. His Alec bought him comics and delivered them personally whenever he could, making the long trip to their parents’ house no matter which one Max was currently at. He had memories of being on his big brother’s shoulders when he was much younger, memories of Alec bandaging his knees and teaching him to ride a bike when their parents didn’t have time. Suddenly, Max realized how much of a brat he had been.

“I don’t give a shit what Dad has said, Max. You of all people should realize how much of a manipulative and abusive coward he is. He broke Mom’s heart, pulled apart the family and in case you haven’t noticed, he only gives a damn about you because you’re obviously too young to see through his bullshit.” Alec shook his head, disappointment shining in his eyes as he struggled to reign in his flared temper. He snatched his suit jacket from the back of his chair and stood up. “But yes, I have been looking for him. I’m never going to stop. And I wasn’t about to let any of you try and convince me to, so I lied.” Alec took his wallet out and tossed some cash on the table to cover his portion of lunch before shoving it back in his pocket and turning back to Max. “And just so you know, if you disappeared off the face of the planet one night, I’d never stop searching for you either.” Alec’s hands were clenched in fists by his sides to hide the shaking as his family stared at him in shocked silence. Maryse looked sad, Isabelle looked angry, and Jace looked uncomfortable, casting Alec a pitying look that had the man shaking his head. Max had lowered his head, looking ashamed and sinking down into his chair. Alec took one last look at his family and turned, quickly storming out of the restaurant.

Isabelle broke from her thoughts, tossing her napkin on the table and grabbing her purse, rushing to catch Alec before he got to his car. Jace moved to followed but she shook her head at him. Turning to leave, she gave her mother an apologetic kiss on the cheek and Maryse squeezed her hand, murmuring to her daughter.

“I’ll take care of Max and your father. Go get your brother.”

Isabelle nodded firmly and as she walked away, she glared over her shoulder.

“I thought you were better than that, Max.”


Chapter Text

“Alec! Alec, wait!” He could hear Izzy’s voice calling out behind him but he didn’t slow his pace toward the parking lot. He hoped that if he got to his car, she would just leave it be. He really didn’t feel like having any sort of emotional talk with anyone right now, let alone his persistent little sister.

“Alec, come on! I want to help!” Her heels clicked loudly on the concrete as she kept up with him, only a few feet out of reach. Her brother stubbornly kept his back to her and walked faster. She groaned and struggled to keep up with his long strides as they got closer to his car. She’d be damned if she let him drive away from her.

Once he was close enough, Alec clicked his key fob in his pocket, the loud beep signalling the unlocking of his Escalade. As he reached out to grab the handle, he felt Isabelle grab him by the shoulder. With a heavy sigh and an eye roll as he mentally prepared himself, he spun around and fixed his sister with a blank stare. “Izzy, go home .”

She stuck her chin up slightly in defiance, meeting her brother’s gaze evenly. “ No , Alec. You can’t keep running away from your family. Especially when all they want to do is help you.”

A bitter laugh burst from Alec’s lips. “Oh, so Max was helping, is that it?”

She shook her head. “He is a child. He wasn’t even supposed to be raised like us. Mom got out of the business to take care of him properly. Dad is destroying all that hard work. I don’t understand how he even has visitation.”

Alec crossed his arms and leaned back against his SUV. “Because she couldn’t afford the best lawyer and refused to take our money? She works as a nurse and her pride is still her downfall. And nursing is nothing compared to...what we do.” Alec finished vaguely, casting a wary look around. Isabelle stepped closer to him.

“What I’m trying to say is Max doesn’t understand. He doesn’t know the situation and he only hears it from Dad’s mouth. And Dad is an asshole.” She paused. “But Jace and I understand. Even Mom. We could help. If you would actually let us in.”

“I am not dragging any of you into this mess. Simon and I are taking care of it. We have a lead now. You don’t need to be involved in this, Isabelle.” She glared at her brother, matching his stance by crossing her arms and arching a challenging eyebrow. He grit his teeth. “Izzy, I’ve done things that even Mom and Dad haven’t. And I’ve very narrowly avoided toppling this whole damn business a few times now. Turns out that some people don’t like when you torture their friends for information.” He kept his voice low and avoided Isabelle’s eyes. He wasn’t proud of some of the things he had done but it was for Magnus. He just kept reminding himself of that.

“Alec, please . Let me help.” She begged, reaching out to put a comforting hand on his arm. She could see her brother was hurting and honestly, she was disappointed in herself that she hadn’t noticed how bad he was getting again much sooner. He had gotten better at hiding things from her over the years and she had thought he was starting to heal. The dark circles under his eyes even disappeared for a while and he smiled more, joking with them over morning coffee in the office. He had been scarcer over the past few months and Isabelle hadn’t thought anything of it, thinking maybe he was finally taking time for himself outside of work. Of course she’d been wrong.

“Isabelle, I said no.” Alec responded bluntly, his eyes hard.

“Damnit, Alec, I loved him too! He was my friend!” Isabelle’s sudden outburst took Alec off guard, her voice cracking as she pulled away from him to hug herself. Alec winced and she continued, ignoring the sad look he gave her and staring down at the dirty concrete. “I know you hurt. And I know it’s worse for you, you lost the love of your life but he meant a lot to the rest of us too. You think we all forgot about him? Just because we stopped working ourselves to the bone to find him and tried to move on? Jesus, Alec, Clary grew up with him. He babysat her every weekend from when she was like 8 until she was 15! And he had Raphael. That guy was like a son to him! When was the last time you spoke to him? Checked on him to see how he was doing?” As she asked, Alec ducked his head and frowned at the reminder. Isabelle moved to stand next to her brother, resting her head on his shoulder. “He touched a lot of lives, Alec. Not just yours. If you’d have told us you were looking again-”

“I never stopped, Izzy. I mean, I tried. three months. But I couldn’t just live my life like nothing had happened and I couldn’t move on.” Alec hung his head, feeling his headache creeping back to full force. “Izzy...I have to find him. And I don’t think that more help is going to make it any easier. I...I haven’t talked to Catarina since we lost him. I haven’t even seen Raphael. Ragnor left the country. I’ve just been focused on him . And even in almost a year and a half…I’ve still got barely anything.” He ran a hand through his hair and pinched the bridge of his nose, willing his headache to subside. It wasn’t working.

“Let me help. I think Simon knows Raphael, I’ll talk with him and see if we can find anything. And you should talk to his old friends. They might not know anything but it would probably comfort them to know somebody is still trying to find him.” She reached out and gave Alec a hug, which he returned halfheartedly. He looked exhausted, the recently returned dark circles under his eyes making his face look even paler. He hadn’t shaved in a few days and was developing a decent amount of scruff. In any other situation, Izzy might have thought it adorable.

“You need to go home and sleep. I’m calling Simon and I’m going to make sure he won’t let you back into the office. You’re no good to Magnus if you’re barely alive, Alec.”

The name sent a pang through Alec’s chest and he grit his teeth, the lump in his throat threatening to choke him up. He hadn’t heard it said aloud in a while, and to hear it so much in one day was starting to wear on him. He reluctantly nodded to his sister and gave her another hug.

“Alright. I’ll go home and sleep. Talk with Simon. Try and find Raphael. But be careful, okay? Don’t go digging into anything else without talking to me.”

Isabelle smiled and nodded, squeezing him tightly.

“We’ll find him, Alec. You know us Lightwoods. We break noses and accept the consequences.”

Alec smiled and nodded. That they did.




The next morning, Alec awoke to his phone pinging that he had just missed a call. He groaned, rubbing his eyes and rolling out of bed as he struggled to force the nightmares from his mind. Swiping his phone up, he saw he had a voicemail already.

It was from Simon, something that made Alec cringe before he even his play. The man’s cheerful voice filled his ear.

“Hey boss! Uh, you missed my call, which hopefully means you slept in. It also might mean you’re dead but then again, if you were dead, I probably would have heard about it or something and-ow! Iz!” There was a scuffling noise and when Simon spoke again, he sounded winded. “Dude, your sister just kicked me in the shin really hard, those heels hurt! I think she is chasing me now. Shit. Anyway, uh, don’t come in today! Isabelle will kill me. She is already trying. Shit! She found me! Uh, yeah! What was I saying?” Alec could hear Simon’s frantic footsteps and some louder clicking footsteps following quickly after. He smirked. “Don’t come in today, everything is totally under contro-AH!” The thunking noise of the phone hitting the ground jarred Alec enough to pull the speaker away from his ear and he barely caught the next few words spoken on the other line.

“Simon, don’t you ever suggest Alec is dead again!” Alec heard Isabelle’s stern voice, muffled and Simon’s conceding begging. There was another soft noise as the phone was, presumably, picked up off the floor.

“Hola, hermano! Stay home today. I mean it. Or I’ll tell Mom. Love you!”

The voicemail clicked to an end and Alec was left to sit and stare at his phone, the plain set wallpaper staring back at him. It used to be a photo of him, Magnus, and their little niece, Madzie but he had changed it soon after it began to bring him more sorrow than joy.

He wondered how Madzie was doing. She’d be 9 years old now. Alec had sent a card on her birthday but was too cowardly to face Catarina and give Madzie a real gift.

Just as he moved to put his phone down, it rang again and he clicked answer, already aggravated.

“I get it, Simon, don’t come in today. Now, can you please-”

“Do you ever check the caller ID?” Max snarked. Alec pulled the phone back to see that it was, indeed, his youngest brother calling him. The knowledge did little to soothe his anger.

“What do you want, Max? Did Mom tell you to call and apologize? I don’t need-”

“No, actually. I called on my own.”

Alec fell quiet, waiting for his brother to continue. A heavy sigh and another pause came before Max spoke again.

“I’m sorry. I was a dick yesterday.”

“Language.” Alec scolded. Max snorted on the other end of the line.

“I’m 15, Alec.”

“Uh huh, and still a kid as far as I’m considered. Especially after what you pulled at lunch.” Alec wasn’t about to treat his brother with child’s gloves after the little speech he gave. Alec wasn’t dumb. He knew Max hated feeling left out but that didn’t excuse his words nor made him exempt from the consequences.

“Alec, come on. Don’t you understand? I’m the only one of you guys that got treated differently. I don’t know how to shoot guns, I was never made to take political science classes, I wasn’t-”

“You say all of that like it’s a bad thing, Max. You get to be a kid. A rich, well protected kid at that. You should be happy that Mom is trying to give you a normal life. The one that Izzy, Jace, and I always wanted and never got.” Alec stood up from his bed and headed to the kitchen to brew himself some coffee.

“Then why don’t you get out now, if its so bad?” Max asked, irritated and sounding more and more like Alec with every passing moment.

“For one, that isn’t how it works. For two, I never said I didn’t enjoy this career. The main issue with my upbringing, surprisingly, was not all the murder and crime,Max, it was that I thought our parents hated me because I never did good enough. Be thankful that Mom decided to better herself.” Alec cleared his throat and grabbed a mug from the cupboard, glancing around his quiet apartment with a bored look. “Now, you want to tell me what yesterday was actually about? Because it sounded like Dad might have said something that got to you.”

There was silence on the other end and Alec knew he had hit the nail on the head. His coffee machine beeped and he poured himself a mug as he waited for his brother to respond, the phone cradled between his shoulder and his ear.

“It wasn’t really anything specific. But everytime I see him, he says something about how you guys and Mom don’t think I’m smart enough for the business and that’s why I got left out. He constantly hints that I’m ‘soft’. I stopped bringing my comics to his house because he would throw them away. He thinks-”

“Max. Listen to me, okay?”

His brother mumbled an affirmative, sounding downtrodden. Alec sipped his coffee, screwing his face up in disgust when he realized he’d forgotten the sugar. He set the cup down and went over to the cupboard, snagging the sugar and sighing.

“Dad is... Robert is a fucking piece of shit.”

Language.” Max teased, trying to cover a sniffle. Alec smiled sadly to himself.

“Very funny. I’m being serious though, Max. Really. You can’t take anything he says seriously. I lived under him for years. He made me hate myself for anything and everything you can think of. He once told me I was too tall and I wasn’t allowed to stand next to him when he was around people he wanted to impress. How fucked up is that?” Alec snorted as he stirred his coffee, helping the sugar dissolve. “What I’m trying to say is, you won’t ever be enough for Robert. That’s just the truth. You could become the biggest political kingpin in this city, you could take the business from me and spin it back around to be the cold and pointless bloodbath Dad had tried so hard to make it into and he still wouldn’t be happy.”

“I know, I know but it’s still hurts.”

Alec took a drink of his coffee, mulling over his next words. “I know it does, Maxie. But take it from your older brother, the ‘too tall’, gay as hell, original family disappointment. Robert isn’t worth hating yourself for. I know he is hard to ignore, but just do your best. My apartment is always open to you. You know that Izzy and Jace’s is too.”

“Thanks, big brother. Again, I’m sorry about yesterday.”

Alec set his mug down, crossing his free arm over his chest. “Yeah, I know you are. My main concern is how Robert even knows about half those side jobs. He’s probably monitoring me, which doesn’t shock me. But I don’t understand why he cares exactly what I’m doing. Especially when it comes to... him. ” Alec finished lamely, holding himself a little tighter.

“Dad never liked your relationship. I’m sure it’s just a sick satisfaction thing for him.” Max took a deep breath before his next words. “And I shouldn’t have brought him up. I was just sick of being lied to by everyone and...well, I don’t actually know. I didn’t have a very good reason.”

“You were being a brat.” Alec affirmed. Max laughed weakly.

“Yeah, I was. I was., how are you actually doing?”

Alec chuckled, trying not to sound too bitter. “Not great, Max. But I’ve recently got more to go on than I’ve gotten in the past year and a half.”

Max hummed, not sure of what to say to that. The two of them fell into a momentary silence and Alec was about to end the call when Max piped up again.

“Why don’t you say his name?”

Alec froze. “What?”

Max’s voice was hesitant. “You...You never say Magnus’ name. I don’t think I’ve heard you say it since he disappeared.”

Alec blew a shaky breath out of his mouth, his throat tightening. “Um. I guess...I guess I just don’t like to? Saying his name...I don’t know. Makes it all more real. Most of the time I can create a sort of, separation in my mind. Even when I’m searching for him or trying to get information about him...I can distance myself.”

“You ever think that maybe, that’s not a good thing?”

“I don’t know what to tell you, Max.”

In the background, Alec heard his mother’s voice call out and his younger brother sighed. “I have to go. Thanks for always taking care of all of us. Do me a favor and try and treat yourself the same way? You looked like shit yesterday.”

Alec laughed. “Thanks, Max. Way to make a guy feel good.”

Maryse called in the background again and Alec picked up his coffee, taking another sip. “You should go, before Mom drags you out by your ear. Love you, Max.”

“Love you too, hermano.” His pronunciation was slightly off and he put too much emphasis on the r but the effort itself made Alec smile regardless.


Chapter Text

“Maia, you don’t get it. I have looked over these folders hundreds of times, I swear! That’s not even an exaggeration! I don’t even know what words are anymore. It looks like gibberish.” Simon whined, rubbing a hand vigorously over his face as he stared down the piles of paper, folders, and photos spread out on the coffee table. He flopped back on the couch, kicking his feet up. Maia sighed on the other end of the phone, rolling her eyes at her best friend’s theatrics. Raphael wasn’t entirely a great influence, obviously.

“I don’t know what to tell you, Si. I’m not privy to what's going on and you know Alec would kill you if he found out you were asking me for advice. Or anyone, for that matter. I’m not even supposed to know about half this stuff. I’m just the bartender, remember?”

Simon groaned, a loud and drawn out noise. He looked up at the clock on the apartment wall, making sure he was up to date on the time. He couldn’t risk Raphael coming home unexpectedly and seeing pictures of his missing friend slash adopted father all over the table. God only knows what that would do to him, let alone the mess it would be to try and explain why Simon had the photos at all. He turned his attention back to his phone call.

“I know, I know, but I’m at my wits end! Alec is in an awful mood and locked himself in his office, Catarina still hasn’t gotten back to me about Camille and I’m starting to wonder how long it will be until I begin to build a wall of crazy.”

Maia snorted. “A what?”

“You know, a wall of crazy? Strings and pushpins, multi-colored sticky notes, unwashed hair, take out boxes everywhere, the whole nine yards.”

“Uh...sure. I think people only do that in movies, Si. Usually, when trying to solve a mystery, clean and concise is the best method.” Simon heard glasses clinking in the background as Maia spoke and he furrowed his brow.

“Are you at work?”

“Well, yeah. It's 12  o’clock on a Friday.” She sounded unconcerned.

“Maia! What if I get you in trouble?” Simon asked, his voice panicked.

“Relax, Simon. I’m on dish duty and Jordan is the manager on tonight. He doesn’t care.”

“If you say so...” Simon glanced nervously back at the pile of papers, sitting up from the couch and leafing through them again. “Alright, listen, I’m going to let you go, I have to head back to the office and see if Alec is done with his gloomfest. I’ll talk-” He broke off, quite suddenly, his head whipping in the direction of the front door where he heard the noise of keys jingling in the lock. He scrambled to grab all the photos and papers up, haphazardly shoving them into their folders and piling those into his nearby briefcase.

“I have to go!” He hissed into the phone before tossing it onto the couch and hurriedly slamming shut the lid of his case, pushing it away from himself on the coffee table. He was just laying back down, trying to look casual and unpanicked, when Raphael entered from the foyer.

His boyfriend looked defeated. His tie was loose, his shirt was wrinkled and his suit jacket was slung over his arm, folded improperly in a way most unlike him. He dropped his own suitcase onto the table next to Simon’s and collapsed at the end of the couch by Simon’s feet. He leaned his head back, eyes shut and muttered under his breath in unintelligible Spanish. Simon remained silent for a moment before he spoke.

“Did you win?” He asked, half joking.

“It isn’t over yet. The judge adjourned us early because the prosecutor couldn’t stop speculating his ass off long enough to argue with any real evidence. I just don’t understand. The man murdered somebody who was attacking a child. This should be open and shut. He had a reason to use deadly force and he saved a child’s life.” Raphael shook his head and Simon sat up slowly, shifting so he was sitting next to the other man, their knees touching. “How did work go for you? I see you brought some of it home for once. Now I don’t feel so bad.” Raphael smiled at their practically matching briefcases on the table. Simon rolled his eyes.

“The boss is in a shit mood. More than usual. So I figured I’d finish up what I could at home.”

“Well that makes two of us. I’m thinking lunch first, however.” Raphael looked over at Simon with a questioning expression. Simon nodded.

“Sounds good to me. I’ll go start something up. Anything in particular?” He stood from the couch and stretched, cracking his back with a wince and sigh of relief.

“So long as it isn’t anything you thought was a good lunch when I met you.” Raphael said with a disgusted face. Simon scoffed, pressing a hand to his chest in mock offense.

“Rapha, box mac and cheese with a cold cut turkey sandwich is a good lunch.”

“Sure it is, mi amor. If you’re a 10 year old with no palate.”

Simon stuck his tongue out, a childish gesture that had Raphael rolling his eyes, and left toward the kitchen.

As Simon started lunch, Raphael gathered the energy to pull himself from the couch and go to the bedroom to change, taking his time shucking off his rumpled suit and pulling on a pair of sweatpants and one of Simon’s old band t-shirts instead. He made his way back to the living room, situating himself more comfortably on the couch and snagging his briefcase from the table, settling it next to himself. He didn’t particularly want to go over the case files again but he’d regret it on Thursday if he didn’t. He flipped the case open and started thinking about the best way to keep presenting his client’s defense. He didn’t want it to stray too close to pitiful because then it might seem fake. However, the man had done a good thing and was suffering because of the hard gray area of the law. Raphael ran a hand across his gelled hair and began to dig through his papers. He didn’t remember tossing them in there like this but he had been quite angry at the courthouse earlier. There is a good chance he wasn’t paying attention at all to how he loaded up all of his paperwork.

Raphael stopped cold as he moved aside a piece of paper, revealing a photograph. He swallowed, his throat tightening and his thoughts instantly coming to an abrupt halt.

Why did Simon have a photo of Magnus in his briefcase?

It made sense now. Raphael had grabbed the wrong briefcase off the coffee table, hence the mess of papers, but why, why did his boyfriend have this photo? He quickly dug through the other papers, feeling a shiver run down his spine and his blood go cold.

Criminal records, background checks, surveillance photos, detailed logs of financial activity, bank statements, you name it. Every ounce of information there had ever been on Magnus Bane in all 30 years of his life was right here, neatly typed up and highlighted. As Raphael continued sifting through the files, he realized there was information on more than his adopted father in this case. All of which Raphael knew. Catarina, Ragnor, Camille, and even...himself. A background check. His mugshot from the single time he committed petty theft at age 15. Magnus had been furious about that and yet bailed him out without a second thought. Raphael was sure it had been wiped from his record. How in the hell did it get into Simon’s briefcase?

And despite all this, what chilled Raphael most was the sheer amount of photos of Magnus in the case. Dates scribbled on every one in the bottom corner. Locations written on the back, along with notes about who he was with and why. The one he had initially grabbed was a candid shot, seemingly taken from afar with a zoomed in lens. Raphael felt sick to his stomach and a fleeting thought crossed his mind, though he stamped it down immediately. Did Simon have something to do with Magnus’ disappearance?

“Hey, Rapha, did you want veggie pasta or the regular…” Simon stepped into the room, holding two boxes in his hands and smiling crookedly. He trailed off, his smile fading as he caught sight of what Raphael was holding, Simon’s familiar loopy handwriting decorating the back of the photo. His eyes widened and he hastily tossed the pasta boxes aside on the couch, gesturing to the briefcase, his voice trembling. “Rapha, I swear, I can explain.”

“Qué diablos es esto, Simon?" What the hell is this? He hissed the words out, standing and shoving the briefcase aside, holding the photograph tightly in his hand and waving it back and forth. “Why do you have all this information? Explíquese! Explain yourself! Do you know how illegal it is that you even have half of this? Medical records, text message logs...this is a huge breach of privacy. Not to mention, half of that information is about someone who has been missing and presumed dead for over a year and a half! So start talking, Simon, or I swear-”

Simon held his hands up in surrender and moved forward, toward Raphael but the man moved back, staring at him with a look of pure anger that Simon had never seen before. “Raphael, I promise I can explain. I work for Alec. Alec Lightwood.”

Raphael narrowed his eyes. “Magnus’s Alec Lightwood?”

Simon nodded. “Yes, Magnus’ Alec. He runs a-a jewelry business.” Simon stammered, grasping for a good excuse. “But he has been trying to find Magnus since he disappeared. He hired some people and I’ve just been helping him. A fresh pair of eyes.” Simon hesitated for a small moment, uncertainty in his eyes but Raphael caught it. He wasn’t one of the best attorneys in New York for nothing.

“Why and how did you get a hold of all of this information? If Alec really did hire people, then they’re clearly criminals, Simon. And you are too. This information isn’t stuff just anyone can get their hands on.Do you know how bad this looks? How bad this is?”

Simon grimaced, fingers fidgeting with each other. “I know. I wasn’t supposed to even bring it home. Alec is going to kill me. I swear, Rapha, I didn’t have anything to do with Magnus’s disappearance. I only started working for Alec a year ago around the time when I met you and I didn’t even know who Magnus was. You have to believe me.”

“You’re dodging my questions, Simon. Just what agency did Lightwood hire? And how did he get the information from them so easily?”

Simon gulped and instantly shook his head. “Rapha, I can’t tell you. You already found out way too much and I can’t risk your life or your job. Please, you have to trust me.”

“Simon Lewis, if you do not tell me the truth right now, I am walking out that damn door and when I come back, I’ll have Detective Garroway with me.” Raphael’s voice betrayed no emotion and Simon fell silent. Raphael waited a few minutes, his chest aching as he stared down his boyfriend. He swallowed down his hurt and stood, grabbing the briefcase. “Fine. Have it your way, Lewis.” He turned and headed toward the front door, silently hoping Simon would stop him. He couldn’t bear the thought of turning Simon in. He could barely think about the possibilities of what the briefcase meant, couldn’t handle the thought of Simon in a courtroom-

“Rapha, wait! Wait! I...I work for the mob, okay? For lack of a better term. The Lightwoods aren’t jewelers. They’re a crime family. Alec told me Magnus never knew and I believe him. And the Lightwoods are good people. I don’t know the exact thing they do, I’m just Alec’s assistant but they aren’t cold blooded murderers.”

Raphael looked on in disbelief, listening intently to the words tumbling rapidly out of Simon’s mouth. Simon paced a little, a habit he turned to when he was really anxious, and ran his hands through his hair.

“At least, not...not usually. Alec...Alec has lost it, okay? Magnus’s disappearance has been his sole focus since the day I met him and he got better for a while but then something happened and we got more information and he...he is a man on a mission. Magnus means everything to him and we are just trying to find him, Rapha. That’s all. I swear. They didn’t do anything to him. We just want to find him and as much as the cops want to help, they are bound by laws that Alec doesn’t care about. But you were never supposed to know. You’re a lawyer, for God’s sake. I wasn’t going to risk wrapping you up in this and ruining your life, risking your job, Hell, risking your life and I-”

“Simon!” Raphael snapped, cutting him off as his rambling got to be too much. Raphael could barely think and hearing his boyfriend panic wasn’t helping. Simon’s jaw clamped shut with an audible click, his eyes wide. “Simon.” Raphael repeated his name, squeezing his eyes shut and taking a deep breath. “I believe you. Okay? I believe you.” He exhaled, shakily, and Simon reached out for him, his hands hesitant. Raphael took both of them gently and pressed a kiss to Simon’s knuckles. Relief seemed to flood Simon’s body as he let out a breathe he didn’t realize he had been holding.

“I believe you.” Raphael repeated the words again, almost like a mantra at this point. “But you need to call Lightwood. Now. He is the one with all the explaining to do.”

Simon nodded and pulled one hand from Raphael’s grip, fishing around in his pocket for his phone. He came up empty, brow furrowed, before he spotted it on the couch. He picked it up, hitting redial.

“What do you want, Lewis?” Alec’s voice, still as irritated as it had been when he’d not so kindly told Simon to leave earlier. Simon gulped, hands quivering slightly.

He was so fired.

Chapter Text

“Honestly, Simon. Sometimes I wonder why I hired you.” Alec was growling the words out before Simon even had the door all the way open, pushing past his frazzled assistant and stalking into the man’s apartment. His suit was a dark blue herringbone, one that Simon recognized as his backup that he kept at the office for when questionings got too messy. He hadn’t been wearing it when Simon had left.

“Alec, listen, I’m sorry, okay, I-” Simon followed his boss down the short entry hallway, rushing to keep up with him.

“Save it, Simon. This won’t be the first mess of yours I have to clear up.” Alec snapped.

Cold fear washed over Simon, his mind instinctively screaming warnings to him as soon as he heard Alec’s words. Loathe as he was to admit it, for a moment, he saw Alec as a threat, dangerous and deadly. Get to Raphael, protect Raphael . He struggled, fighting back the impulse to tell Raphael to run. All of these feelings came out of nowhere, blindsiding him in a way that had him even more rattled than before. He knew he could trust Alec, of course he could. He wouldn’t do anything to an innocent person, he had a shockingly strong set of morals for a mobster.

Then why are you so afraid?

They rounded the corner into the living room and Simon hit Alec’s back with a solid thump, the collision almost sending him careening backwards. He maintained his balance, just barely, and moved around to stand next to his boss, wondering why the man had stopped so suddenly in his tracks.

Raphael sat on the couch, chewing lightly on his bottom lip as he flipped through Simon’s files, his face pinched in a tense expression usually reserved for his worst cases. His previously gelled hair was a wreck, curls coming loose from the product’s hold and he was making notes in a small notepad, occasionally circling something in the files or underlining words. Alec watched in silence, not saying a word. He almost looked confused, which made Simon frown. Hadn’t Alec known Raphael before Magnus went missing?

The latino man on the couch didn’t look up for almost a full minute, taking his time to finish whatever he had been reading. When he did finally raise his head, he stared Alec down with unrestrained hostility. Alec swallowed almost audibly and suddenly looked more uncomfortable than Simon had ever seen him. Simon would say he looked nervous, except for the fact that Alec Lightwood was never nervous.

“Raphael. I wasn’t aware that you…I thought that Simon was dating a different Raphael.” Alec finished lamely, looking back and forth between the two of them. Simon was dating Raphael Santiago. Magnus’ Raphael. That hits too close to home.

Simon shrugged again as Alec’s eyes settled on him.

“I kind of assumed you knew? And just chose to ignore it…?” Simon shrugged again, unsure of what to say. Alec’s intense staring was starting to pick away at his already frayed nerves.

“It’s not like you would have heard it from me, huh, Lightwood?” Raphael snarked, turning back to the files in front of him, determined to make the man as uncomfortable as possible. As far as Raphael was concerned, he deserved it.

“Raphael.” Alec acknowledged him with a thin lipped cynical smile. “I see you still hate me. That’s fine. But I’m not letting you jeopardize all the work I have put in to find him just because you feel like a neglected child. So, why don’t we agree to pretend this never happened and go back to not bothering each other? You never liked me from the beginning, so it’s not like us not talking changed much for you!” Alec’s voice had turned bitter, his shoulders tense though he kept his arms relaxed by his sides, hands firmly in his pockets. Raphael stood from the couch, tossing the file he had been holding down and taking a determined step toward him. Alec took a half step backward, instantly on the defensive. His expression was dark and guarded, eyes focused solely on Raphael.

The other man paused, his breathing heavy and muscles just as tense as Alec’s. Simon could see his fists clenched by his side and silently hoped he wouldn’t need to step in. He knew his boyfriend’s temper was volatile and things could go sideways in seconds. After a moment, Raphael took a deep breath, closing his eyes as he did, and after a moment, he moved to sit down on the couch again. “I don’t have the time to argue with you. Though if you thought I hated you, you’re an idiot. Now sit down and look at this. I found something.”

Alec’s posture didn’t relax but he moved slightly closer to the table. “I’ll stand. And you shouldn’t be looking through those.”

Simon could practically hear Raphael rolling his eyes and went to sit on the couch next to him just as the latino man shot another glare at Alec. “Yes, well, you shouldn’t have them in the first place. If anyone is allowed to see information like this, it’s me. The lawyer, remember?” The biting remark only served to make Alec more irritated and Raphael couldn’t help the smug smirk that turned up at the corners of his lips.

He turned his head when Simon lightly squeezed his shoulder, catching sight of the uneasy expression on his boyfriend’s face. He reached out and returned the gesture, resting his hand on Simon’s knee and offering him a much kinder smile. Simon seemed to relax a little and gestured to the paper in Raphael’s other hand. “What did you find?”

“I looked over everything that’s in these files and found something interesting. In the notes you took, Simon, detailing everything of interest in the two weeks leading up to Magnus’ disappearance, you didn’t catch this.” Raphael pointed to a number on Magnus’s call logs from exactly a week before his disappearance. Simon leaned in, squinting at the numbers.

“I don’t get it. It’s a number that only contacted him once, it could have been a client. He did that whole entrepreneurial business coach thing from his house, right?” Simon looked to his boss for confirmation, his face twisted in confusion.

Alec nodded. “He gave his personal phone number to clients. I advised against it. But he insisted getting a second phone was an unnecessary expense. “

Raphael shook his head, clicking his tongue. “No, I know that. But look at the length of the call.”

Alec leaned over Raphael’s shoulder, focusing on where Raphael was pointing. He leaned away after a moment and crossed his arms. “26 minutes? What’s your point? It’s a bit long but it’s not out of the ordinary. He was charismatic. He liked to talk.”

There was a tense beat of silence following Alec’s words, as the man realized what he’d said. His throat seemed to close up on itself, his teeth grinding down together painfully. He inhaled sharply and when he spoke again, his voice was a quieter, weaker in a way Simon had come to know well. “Is. He is charismatic.” Alec cleared his throat and caught sight of Simon’s sympathetic eyes for a moment before ducking his head and focusing his gaze solely on the frayed edge of the area rug.

Raphael muttered under his breath and Simon caught a few spanish curse words. “Idiotas. I grew up with this man. I learned business etiquette from him. Magnus never talked business on the phone past the initial scheduling of a meeting. Time was money and long phone calls were just a way for people to swindle information out of you without paying for it.” Raphael shook his head again, pointing at some of the lengths of the other phone calls. “Five to seven minutes. Every client call. Name, contact info, what time works best, what the business was, and what kind of advice they were seeking. Every. Single. Time. Look.” He flipped the page over, pointing out more calls farther back, up to a month. “Magnus was consistent and it made it much easier for him to record all the meetings in his planner if he followed a format. Did you even check his planner for this number? Or better yet, for the last client he met with?” Raphael asked, voice more curious than accusing. A deep furrow appeared in Alec’s brow. When he spoke again, it was slowly, his words drawn out in confusion.

“Magnus didn’t have a planner. I...I searched the loft for anything I could find on his whereabouts. I never found anything that looked like a planner.”

Raphael looked equally as confused, setting the papers down on the coffee table. “What do you mean? That big, red leather bound book? He always used it when he took phone calls. He’s had that thing as long as I can remember. You never saw it?”

Alec frowned and thought for a moment before he shook his head. “No. Never. I always thought he recorded those meetings in his phone on an app or something. I lived with him for almost 6 months. I don’t see how I could have missed it.”

Simon racked his brain, trying to think of an explanation. “I mean, Magnus had a schedule, right? Maybe he only took calls when you were at the office. And on your days off together, he probably didn’t take them at all. Raphael told me he hated when work interrupted his personal time.”

Raphael chewed on his lip in thought, eyes scanning the paper again. He picked up a few other sheets, leafing through them, his dark eyes scanning back and forth. Simon watched him, a little awestruck by just how cute his boyfriend was, even when he was knee deep in files and wearing a ratty band t shirt, his brows knit together and his curls a half tamed, half wild mess. The affection must have been clear on his face as Alec shot him a weird look and he quickly schooled his expression into a much more serious one, focusing back on the task at hand.

“You never found it at the loft?” Raphael inquired again. Alec only raised his brows impatiently. “Can I come over and look? Magnus was eclectic. He could have hidden it somewhere, especially if he knew something was going to happen to him. He was all about his client’s privacy.” Raphael looked up at Alec, earnest and waiting. Alec drummed his fingers against his bicep and huffed out a sigh, looking reluctant.


Raphael stood. “Thank you. Let me just change into something….else.” He cast a glance at Simon, who rolled his eyes at his boyfriend’s inability to go anywhere without looking completely put together. As Raphael disappeared down the hallway, Simon stood up and grabbed his jacket off the back of the couch. When he turned to his boss, Alec looked lost.

He was shifting his weight side to side, clearly bothered by something. It didn’t take a genius to figure out what. “I don’t understand how I could have missed something like that. Do you think he hid it from me…?” Alec asked, his voice betraying his unease.

Simon pursed his lips. “I don’t know man, I don’t think so? Why would he? He didn’t know you were in the mob and it isn’t like his business was shady. I really think it was just a case of him wanting to spend his time with you rather than constantly be working on the phone or something. From what I’ve heard, nothing was more important to him than his family. And you.” Simon silently hoped his words were comforting to Alec, despite the fact that he had never met Magnus personally. They seemed to do the trick, as the next words out of Alec’s mouth were already onto the next subject.

“Don’t call it the mob. It isn’t the mob. We just break the laws that need to be broken and run a few particular businesses that make us some money.” He tucked his hands in the pocket of his black dress pants and smirked a little, looking proud of himself.

“Riiight. Do you guys also take consultations of sorts when people need an issue taken care of?” Simon asked, feigning interest.

Alec looked thoughtful for a moment. “Sometimes, if we agree that the issue is actually in need of being taken care of.”

Simon laughed and Alec’s face scrunched in confusion. Simon only patted his shoulder and shook his head, smiling. “Yeah, dude. Definitely the mob.”

Alec opened his mouth to argue just as Raphael reentered the room. His attire was cleaned up, a pressed dress shirt and clean slacks replacing his lounge clothes and his hair slicked back with product again. He grabbed his keys off the table, barely sparing them a glance.

“Let’s go.”

Chapter Text

The familiar walk through the lobby of Magnus’ apartment building had Alec’s already fragile composure completely cracking apart. There was a good reason he’d avoided this place after Magnus’ disappeared and the pitying eyes of the long time doorman was only one of them. The tasteful paintings on the walls, the marble countertop of the lobby desk, the soft lights of the chandelier... By the time the three of them stepped into the elevator, Alec’s nerves were all but shot. With every floor the elevator went up, so did his anxiety. He shrunk back into the corner of the small space, keeping as much distance as possible between himself and the other two men. As they quickly approached the penthouse, Raphael cast a sideways glance at him and arched an eyebrow.

“You haven’t come back here, have you?”

Alec’s eyes stayed glued to the floor and he said nothing. His arms were crossed tightly across his chest and his face betrayed no emotion, though his high strung posture told Raphael everything he needed to know. Realization dawned on Simon a few moments later, looking back and forth between his usually stoic boyfriend’s almost pitying expression and his boss’s unusual demeanor.

“Wait, you don’t live here? Does someone else live in it then? It’s been forever, they have to have rented it out-”

“I’ve been paying the rent. Don’t worry about it.” Alec was blunt and to the point, the reluctance to speak clear in his tone. He didn’t look up from the floor when the elevator dinged to a stop, following the other two men out without another word.

The three of them walked, in tense silence that not even Simon dared to break, down the hallway to a set of large black double doors. Next to them was a gold, rectangular plaque with the word “BANE” on it, etched in dark lettering. Alec pushed to the front of their small group, reaching into his pocket and pulling out his keys. He flipped to a small, decorative key, the top of it curved in the familiar shape of a heart. His hands shook ever so slightly as he pushed it into the lock.

It clicked open with an easy turn and the door swung inward, the hinges creaking quietly. Simon felt a hand slide into his and squeeze, fingers curling tightly around his own. He looked over at Raphael, finding the man staring ahead, his jaw set and the muscle in it twitching. Simon squeezed his hand reassuringly and gently tugged him forward into the apartment.

It was exactly as Alec had left it. Not a single thing was out of place, thought a thin sheen of dust had collected over most things. He’d thankfully remembered to cover all of the couches and tables with sheets before he’d left, figuring Magnus would appreciate not having to do more dusting than necessary if he got back.

Alec grit his teeth. When. When he got back.

Ignoring the other two men, Alec beelined to the bookshelves in the foyer and immediately began to search through them, his eyes slowly trailing over all of the alphabetically arranged titles. Thankfully, Magnus’ intrinsic chaotic nature didn’t overtake his meticulous sorting habits or Alec would be here all day.

Raphael was frozen where he stood, looking around the loft and swallowing repeatedly, his adam’s apple bobbing as his eyes flicked around in something akin to alarm. Simon squeezed his hand again, stepping a little closer and trying to grab his attention.

“ gonna be okay, Raph?”

Raphael’s head jerked to him, as if he was just now noticing Simon. He shook his head, frowning and struggling to compose himself. “Yes. Yes, of course. I just...was taken off guard by all this. It’s been a while.” He looked around the loft again and took a deep breath, giving Simon a curt nod and thin smile. “Don’t worry about me, mi amor.”

“I always worry about you. Worrying is my natural state.” Simon grinned, watching as Raphael’s smile turned a touch more genuine, affection lighting up his eyes.

“That it is.” He smiled at Simon for a moment before turning to look at Alec, who was silently searching through the spines for an untitled or unfamiliar looking book.

“He wouldn’t leave it on the shelf. Too easy to forget where he put it. You know how he was.” Regardless of his statement, Raphael moved to stand next to Alec, scanning the shelves along with the other man.

“He always kept these alphabetized. It’d be impossible to lose it.” Alec responded, thumbing a book out of the line and almost immediately returning it to it’s spot. Raphael snorted.

“Alphabetical or not, Magnus wouldn’t have remembered he had even placed it on these shelves.” Raphael moved to the side, looking over the middle area of the massive bookshelf and running his hand along the books, lingering on one here and there. Simon hung back, watching them in silence.

Raphael stopped on a particular book, his brow furrowing. “Eugh.” His face screwed up in disgust and he turned to Alec, who now stared at him in confusion. “Magnus hated this book. Any idea why he would keep it?” Alec paused in his own search and stepped closer to see what book had incurred such a strong reaction of dislike in Raphael. Upon seeing the title, his frown turned sour.

“No. He and I both despised it.” Alec reached out to pluck ‘Lolita’ off the shelf and deftly tossed it onto the small side table next to the door, turning back to the other books with a shake of his head. Raphael pulled another red book forward, glancing at the cover before pushing it back in with an unhappy grunt. Simon smiled to himself and gestured at the bookcase, thought neither of the other men were looking.

“You know, I half expected that to reveal some sort of secret doorway. You know, like in the movies? What if he has a secret hidden lair like the Batcave or some sort of big weapons wall like in Kingsman? Maybe he is involved in like, a great espionage or like, the Illuminati! I watched a documentary on that-”

“He was a business coach , Simon. Not some sort of...spy or whatever else it is you’re talking about. He didn’t have anything to hide, I lived with him for years. I’d have known.” Raphael cast him a look that said ‘Seriously ?’ and Simon only shrugged in response.

“Just saying. Trying to think outside the box and all.”

Neither man acknowledged him, flipping through book after book and glancing over each shelf for what seemed to be forever. Simon huffed out a sigh and scuffed his heel on the floor, glancing around boredly. He spotted the book Alec had tossed aside on the side table and picked it up, flipping it over in his hands to read the back cover.

“Hey, so what’s this book about anyway?”

“Don’t.” Alec and Raphael spoke in unison, the warning harshness of their voices enough to startle Simon into dropping the book. It hit the floor with a dull thud and opened to reveal that part of it had been hollowed out. Sitting in the carved out square was a small, taped down key.

“Huh. You sure he wasn’t a spy?” Simon asked, a little smug as he leaned down to pluck the book up from the floor. He gently pried the key out, holding it up as the other two men turned around to look at him quizzically. “Anything locked up in here that you couldn’t get into last time, boss?”

Alec’s brows knit together and he approached Simon, reaching out to take the key from him and turning it over in his hands. “, I don’t think…” Alec’s frown deepened and he relinquished the key easily when Raphael held his hand out. He examined it for a moment, looking for any sign of what it might go to.

“Looks like...I don’t know, maybe a key to a lockbox? A desk key?”

Alec’s eyes lit up with recognition. “Wait, yes! His office. The top drawer has a lock on it. I found it when I first searched the loft for anything regarding his disappearance. I just assumed it held bank info or passwords, some private information...I didn’t think anything of it. I wasn’t about to go rifling through his things just because he wasn’t there to stop me.” Alec gestured for them to follow him and turned, heading further into the loft. Simon and Raphael shared a look and followed him quickly.

They ended up in Magnus’s office, a messy room that had always doubled as his study where he went when he needed time alone. It was full of shelves and surfaces covered in a random assortment of things, like magnifying glasses, old photos, historical documents, and anything else he found interesting. Eclectic, a mess, and yet always so put together. Magnus in a nutshell. Alec thought with a shake of his head and a small smile. He made his way over to the desk and squatted down to unlock the drawer, holding his hand out expectantly. Raphael pressed the key into his palm and stood, watching over his shoulder along with Simon. The lock clicked open easily and Alec slid the drawer out. He pulled out two books, one of which looked like the one Raphael had been talking about. He set them both on the desk, a dark look cast across his face. Raphael reached for the larger one and began to flip through it.

“Why would he hide these?”

Raphael didn’t answer, leafing through the pages with an increasingly concerned look on his face.

“This is it. It’s all here, see? He takes down their names, the date and time of the meeting, the reason...but the cost. Dios, eso es mucho! God, that's a lot! Why would anyone pay that much? It doesn’t make any sense...” Raphael pointed to a random entry from a few years previous.

“Imasu Morales, 04/06/16, 11 AM, $2000. HR employee/employee conflict.” Simon read aloud, resting his chin on Raphael’s shoulder. Alec scowled down at the page and Simon cast a glance at him, confused. “Don’t business coaches make like, $400 an hour tops ?”

Raphael nodded absentmindedly, flipping forward to the final entry. Alec’s stomach dropped, eyes panicked as they read over the name in the final entry, penned neatly in Magnus’ flourished letters.

“Robert Lightwood?”

Simon’s eyes shot over to Alec as he read the name aloud and Raphael’s followed, narrowing. “Did you know about this?” Raphael accused, his earlier suspicions rising to the surface.

Alec shook his head vehemently, nervously rubbing his hands together. He moved away from the desk,eyes focused down as he began to pace. Simon recognized the familiar signs of Alec being overwhelmed and he carefully eyed his boyfriend, trying to communicate silently with him to not push Alec any further.

The other man was pacing in short lines, his long stride taking him back and forth at an increasingly uneasy speed. “No. No, he never met my father. Robert was too wrapped up in the business and I wasn’t about to let him near...No! He didn’t know him. He didn’t. He couldn’t.”

“They met four days before Magnus disappeared, Alec. And you’re telling me you didn’t know about it? That your father neglected to mention it?” Raphael pressed, his voice resonating with the condemning tone he typically reserved for the courtroom. Alec shook his head again, hands flexing by his sides, the tendons straining in his stressed knuckles. He made an irritated noise and ran a hand angrily through his hair, tugging on the strands before letting go and clenching his fists again.

“No. No, I knew nothing and Robert never said a damn word. We don’t exactly talk much.” He growled out, his jaw clenched so tightly that even Simon winced at the sight of the twitching muscle in his cheek. Raphael opened his mouth to respond, something biting judging by the look in his eyes and Simon’s hand shot up before he could even think about it, slapping over his boyfriend’s mouth. Raphael’s head turned very slowly toward Simon, his eyes wide at his partner’s audacity. Simon just jerked his head in Alec’s direction, mouthed ‘ mob boss, remember?’ and shook his head while looking at Raphael like he was insane. Raphael pushed Simon’s hand away, obviously aggravated, but remained thankfully silent.

The tension in the room, most of it radiating off of Alec, began to wear on Simon as the minutes ticked by. Raphael simply stared, arms crossed tightly and Alec continued to pace, alternating between rubbing his fingers together and ruffling his own hair in frustration. Simon shifted nervously from foot to foot, desperately searching for something to say. He spotted the other book from the drawer and gestured to it. “Uh, what about this one?”

Alec stopped suddenly, stalking over and picking it up off the desk. He opened it and began to scan the pages, ignoring Simon’s words as usual. When he finally spoke, he looked discouraged. “It’s...a ledger of sorts? It’s all last names and dollar amounts.”

“May I? I did take accounting in college, after all. You know, when I planned on having an honest job.” Simon reached out and took the book from Alec, not even waiting for his answer. Alec’s hands let go easily, falling to his sides with nothing to hold. Simon looked through it for a few minutes, his face betraying his puzzled feelings with every page he turned.

“Maybe I’m not as smart as I thought. This isn’t a ledger though, that’s for sure. It doesn’t track his financials at all, it just lists numbers. Nonsense numbers from what I can tell. Look at this.” Simon lay the book down on the desk and pointed to a page. “Rollins. Rouse. $15,000.” Simon gestured to the page and scoffed. “That means nothing . There isn’t any dates or account numbers. No losses or gains, nothing.”

Raphael’s hand came up to rest between Simon’s shoulder blades and he gently rubbed his thumb back and forth, whether for Simon’s benefit or his own, he wasn’t sure. Either way, Simon gave him a half hearted smile over his shoulder and he felt a tug of affection in his chest, despite their stressed surroundings.

“Wait. Rouse? Where have I heard that name?” Alec mumbled to himself, fumbling to pull his phone out of his pocket. He typed something out, eyes laser focused on the little screen. He scrolled for a moment before turning the phone in their direction. “Look. Iris Rouse. She ran an illegal human trafficking ring. I remember now, we were going to make a move to take care of her and turn her a while back. We had prepared a way to tip off the police and make sure she got caught without any implications to us but before we could, she turned up...dead. Found by the docks with multiple internal injuries and a single gunshot wound to the head. And then the police just...found where she was keeping all the girls and the children.” Alec pulled his phone back and scrolled through the article, staring at her photo with a cold look.  “We just figured that somebody got their vengeance on her. And that was that.”

Simon looked back and forth between Raphael and Alec, pursing his lips. “Sooo...why would her name come up in Magnus’ private books?”

Raphael reopened Magnus’ main record book and began to read off the pages under his breath. “HR employee/management conflict, unexpected financial loss….it’s all normal business coach stuff. And I’m not seeing a pattern in the names nor do I recognize any of them.” He flipped through a few more pages. “Though...This one says Dot Rollins ...$500. It doesn’t list a reason for the meeting. It has the date and time as usual but the cost is much lower than what I’ve been seeing in here.” Raphael held the book out to Alec when the other man gestured to look at it. Alec looked over the page and then back at his phone. Raphael and Simon watched as his face paled and he seemed to go rigid.

“The date of this meeting is three days before Rouse was found dead.”

They all shared a hesitant glance.

“You...You guys don’t think those two things are connected somehow, do you? I mean, it has to be. Rouse isn’t exactly a common name...” Simon crossed his arms over his chest, inclining his head toward the books on the desk. Alec responded with a firm shake of his head.

“No. No way. It has to be a coincidence. Magn- He wasn’t involved in anything dirty. I would have known. I ran a background check on him before we started dating.”

Raphael sneered at him. “Of course you did.”

Alec’s eyes cut over to him, shooting daggers at the attorney as the muscle in his jaw began twitching again.

“I can’t exactly trust people in my line of work, Raphael. I had to be sure he wasn't sent to kill me. It’s not every day that men like him slide up to me in a bar with honest intentions.”

Raphael flushed, chagrined, and he looked away, saying nothing more.

“Look, let’s just get back to the office and look into some of these names. Alright?” Simon tried to keep the peace, sensing the tension building up in the air again. Alec snatched the books up off the table and turned to leave.

“I need to speak with my father.”

Chapter Text

“Hey, have you talked to Alec since lunch the other day?” Jace asked as he abruptly entered Isabelle’s office, tossing himself down onto her office couch with a sigh. He kicked his feet up and folded his hands behind his head, settling in comfortably and gazing at her expectantly. Isabelle stopped typing, sending her brother a dark look as she folded her arms and raised her eyebrows. Jace looked around, confused. “What?”

“You can’t just waltz in here whenever you want, Jace. Some of us actually have jobs to do.” She rolled her eyes and turned back to her computer, her nails clicking loudly as she began typing again. Jace made an offended noise and sat up, pushing his bangs out of his eyes.

“Right, whatever. I’m worried about him, Iz. Seriously. He never...He never talks to me anymore.”

She kept her eyes on her computer screen, fingers not even pausing on her keyboard. “I am too. But I’ve been keeping an eye on him. And he has Simon.”

“Yeah, but with what Max said the other day? The last thing we need is Robert and Alec in the same room.” Isabelle looked up again as Jace spoke and nodded along in agreement. It was only now that she noticed the file Jace seemed to have brought with him, laying on the small coffee table in front of the couch.

“What’s that?” She nodded her head toward it, leaning back in her chair.

Jace frowned. “Just some stupid issue with the Hunter’s Moon. I guess ‘somehow,’” Jace paused to make exaggerated air quotes with his hands, rolling his eyes along with them. “Someone let slip to the wrong customer that our records might not be accurate. Or true at all. So now I have to find a way to get investigators off our back. Typically bribery bullshit.” Jace picked the folder up, flipping it open with an exasperated shake of his head. “ And I have to find the big mouthed idiot who decided to advertise that he’s a criminal. Probably Rufus. Honestly, how hard is it? Pretend to work for a bar, sell fake jewels on the side, make bank tricking idiots with a fetish for shiny shit.” Jace threw his hands up, letting them fall back down with a dull smack on his legs. “Easy peasy, dude!”

Isabelle raised her eyebrows, a teasing smirk on her lips.“You sure you aren’t the loudmouth?”

Jace shot her an unimpressed look. “ Thanks , Iz. But I didn’t come here to talk about the stupid bar, Alec is-”

“Knock knock!” A voice came through Isabelle’s office door and she stood from her desk, shooting Jace an apologetic look. The blonde man only shook his head.

“Come in!” Isabelle called, already knowing who it was.

Clary stepped through the door, a small smile on her face. Her hair was piled up in a fancy updo of wavy curls, her ears and neck adorned with expensive looking jewelry, and she wore a tight black bodycon dress, the shimmery fabric reflecting light as she moved. “Hey, I just came to let you know that Underhill and I are leaving for that Penhallow gala. Did we need to know anything else about the situation at hand?”

Isabelle shook her head. “No, you two should be clear. Just make friends and try and get your fingers in some pies for the oh-so honest company that is ‘Ethereal Jewels’.” Isabelle gave her a wink and Clary snorted at the sarcasm in her voice. Jace had stood from the couch, feeling ignored, and made his way over to his girlfriend.

“You’re going with Underhill?” Jace asked, voice wary as he reached for Clary’s hand and looked over her with appreciative eyes. Clary raised her eyebrows in disbelief, exhaling a soft laugh at her boyfriend’s expense.

“Really, Jace? Underhill is married! And gay!” She lightly slapped his shoulder and shook her head again. “I’ll see you at home around 9, okay?” She kissed his cheek and left as quick as she came, with Jace still standing there, frowning.

“You’re pathetic, Jace.” Isabelle laughed at her brother, leaning down to lock her computer and following Clary out of the room.

“Hey!” Jace shouted indignantly after his sister. As he followed her out of the office, he turned to shut the door politely behind him. When he turned back around, he almost ran straight into Isabelle’s back.

“Will you-,” The quip died in his throat as soon as he saw who Isabelle was so focused on.

“What are you doing here?” Isabelle’s voice was scathing, her arms crossed and stance firm. Robert Lightwood stood in the hallway outside her office, his hands tucked into the pockets of his suit pants. He wore a charcoal gray three piece, looking professional and standing there confidently, almost like he owned the place. It only served to make Isabelle angrier.

“I was coming to see you.”

“She meant in the building, asshole.” Jace spat the words as he moved to stand next to Isabelle, taking up a stance similar to her’s. Robert looked disappointed, but ignored his adopted son's comment anyway, instead keeping his eyes on Isabelle. He gave her a friendly smile, one she didn't bother returning.

“Your brother invited me. Said there is something we need to talk about.”

Isabelle’s glower gave way to mild confusion as she racked her brain, trying to understand what her father meant. “Alec? Why the hell would Alec want to talk to you?”

Robert shrugged, the smile dropping off his face and a scowl taking its place. “I don’t know. But hopefully it’s actually something important. Just because I don’t run this place anymore doesn’t mean I don’t have things to be doing.”

“Fucking your mistress doesn’t count.” Jace smirked, watching Robert's face morph into an ugly look of hatred with a smug sense of pride.

“You little-”

“Enough!” Alec’s voice boomed down the hallway and all three turned to look at him as he stalked forward, his indifferent expression contrasting greatly with his aggravated tone. Despite his exhaustion, he was as intimidating of a figure as usual, his dark blue suit outlining his broad shoulders and accentuating his arms and chest. Tailored perfectly, as all his clothes were these days. It also helped that the jacket was unbuttoned, revealing the gun on his hip and the two others strapped into his shoulder holster. He stopped in front of Robert, a mere foot away from him and stared him down, setting his feet in a firm stance and crossing his arms in front of him. It was a shocking difference to the way Alec used to approach their father, long ago when he had been drilled to the bones with shame, with his head down and his arms tucked behind his back.

Robert stared back, meeting his son’s eyes with his jaw set.

“I didn’t ask you here so you could start trouble, Robert. But since you can’t seem to help yourself, I'll skip the formalities.” Alec’s voice was tight, like he was holding himself back from saying something far less pleasant. “What the hell were you doing meeting with him that week?” Robert’s eyes narrowed for a moment before they lit up with understanding. He barely managed to hide it, a smirk playing at the edge of his lips.

“I’m not sure who or what you’re referring to. You’ll have to be more specific.”

Before Isabelle or Jace could move to stop him, before they’d even noticed he was moving, Alec had grabbed hold of the lapels of Robert’s jacket and slammed him back against the wall of the hallway, the force enough to cause his head to bounce off the surface with a sickening thud. He looked dazed for a moment, obviously caught off guard, and Jace watched fear flash across his face. Alec seemed to savor that before he leaned in closer, the next words out of his mouth seething with rage.

“I'm not here to play games, Robert.”

“Nor am I. I don't know-”

He was cut off by Alec, who dug his knuckles painfully into his father's chest, still gripping his jacket.

Magnus . Magnus Bane . That’s who I’m referring to. Why the fuck were you meeting with him four days before he disappeared?” A beat passed, Alec’s face getting redder with anger as Robert remained silent, his face stone cold as he stared at his son. “Robert, I swear to God, if you had anything, and I mean anything at all to do with his disappearance…” Alec trailed off, eyes blazing as he stared down the man he once called father. A vein pulsed in Alec’s forehead as Robert continued to ignore him, face now betraying no emotion. Alec’s grip on his lapels tightened and he pulled back before slamming Robert back against the wall again, his head hitting the drywall with enough force to leave a small crumbling dent in its place.“Answer me!” Isabelle and Jace shared an alarmed look at the anguish in Alec’s voice and Izzy she stepped forward, her hand raised to touch her older brother’s shoulder.

“Alec…” She began, trying to calm him, but was interrupted when he made an angry noise and shoved Robert away from him, disgust and hatred clear on his face. Without another word, he turned and began walking away, his pace quickening with every step. Robert stood straight, his hands shaking imperceptibly as he straightened his coat. He called out after his son as his other children watched on, unsure of what to do.

“You’re a mess, Alec! Your mother and I raised you better. To get this riled up about somebody is a disgrace to everything we have taught you and this family. Let alone when that somebody is a man,” Robert made a disgusted noise in his throat before continuing. “You aren’t fit to run this business, you never were. Rest assured you will be hearing from me again. I think it’s time I take back what’s rightfully mine. At least until you see how inappropriate your behavior is, Alexander .”

Isabelle gasped quietly, her head snapping in Alec’s direction just in time to see her brother stop dead in his tracks. Jace just squeezed his eyes shut, muttering ‘fuck’ under his breath. He opened them the moment he heard Alec rack the slide of his gun.

Alec stood tall behind Robert, who had turned to walk away after his condescending speech, his back fully turned to Alec. Alec’s custom black Glock .40 caliber handgun was pressed flush with the back of his father’s head, the dark metal shining in the harsh lighting of the office building. His hand was steady, his finger hovering on the trigger and face bare of emotion. Yet, as Jace watched on helplessly, tears slowly welled in Alec’s eyes.

“ not get to call me that. Not now. Not ever again,” Alec paused, swallowing harshly, his Adam’s apple bobbing. “Now. Tell me why you met with him. You do that and I’ll let you leave this building alive.” Alec waited, giving Robert a chance to speak. There was a tense moment of silence and Isabelle moved to do something, stop Alec from making a mistake but felt Jace grip her elbow tightly. She moved to yank her arm away but he leaned forward, whispering something in her ear. She blanched, face full of disbelief, but nodded and let Jace pull her back.

“Five seconds, Robert.” Alec spoke, detached, and pressed the gun a little harder against the man’s head. Robert held up both hands in surrender, not daring to move to turn around.

“Okay. Okay! I met with him to discuss business. I swear. I just needed somebody taken care of and he’d been recommended to me.”

Lines formed in Alec’s forehead, his brows contorting in slight confusion. He stayed silent, letting Robert continue explaining himself.

“He wasn’t just a business coach, Alec. He could...make arrangements. He had connections. If you needed someone gone, fired, out of town, dead, whatever. He could make it happen. I had Valentine’s son working for me. I hated that little fucker. So I wanted him gone. Whatever method, so long as he never gave me trouble again.”

Alec laughed, bitter. The gun dug harder into the backside of Robert’s head. “You’re trying to tell me my boyfriend was a fucking hitman? And that you put him on Valentine’s bad side?”

Robert shook his head, shivering when he felt the cold metal scraping back and forth across his skin. “No, no, Magnus wasn’t a hitman. Not to my knowledge, anyway. I don’t think he did any of the jobs himself. He was more like the, uh, the middle man. It made things harder to trace. Valentine would have never known he was involved.”

Alec shook his head, the gun still steady in his hand. His finger twitched over the trigger. “You’re lying.”

“Why would I have any reason to lie? You have a gun to my damn head!” Robert’s composure cracked, his voice edging on fear.

Alec remained silent, processing the information. He lowered the gun and with his free hand, he roughly scrubbed the tears from his eyes.

“Get out. And don’t you even think about trying to overrun me. I won’t hesitate to shoot you next time.”

Robert didn’t even turn around before he was walking away, moving quicker than Jace had ever seen him move.

Alec’s two siblings stood in shocked silence and warily gazed at their brother. Alec held his gun out to Isabelle, wordlessly and without taking his gaze off of Robert as the man got on the elevator. She looked around, unsure of what she was meant to do with her brother’s gun before hesitantly taking the offered weapon. Alec immediately turned and walked away, his long strides taking him quickly down the hallway and away from both of them. Neither sibling tried to follow. When he was out of sight, Isabelle opened the slide on the Glock and released the magazine into her hand. She checked it and choked on a sigh of relief.

“You were right. Jace, how the hell did you know for sure?”

Jace’s face was grim. “Alec never loads that gun. It’s the one he stores on his hip. The loaded ones are in his shoulder holster, usually.”

Isabelle stared at him, blatant confusion decorating her features. “Why wouldn’t he load it?”

Jace took the empty gun from his sister and flipped it over, running his finger over the engraving on the side and frowning. Aku cinta kamu.  His eyes met Isabelle’s, who now looked on with pained understanding. “He carries it for comfort. This gun was a gift from Magnus.”

Chapter Text


2 years and 3 months ago


Alec was sitting on the couch in Magnus’s loft, carefully cleaning his Sig Sauer P228. He had all the pieces lay out on a cloth on the coffee table, a carefully sorted arrangement that he could have done in his sleep he was so used to it. Cleaning his guns was cathartic for him, a meticulous process he reserved for times when he needed to clear his mind. He was busy cleaning and lubricating the barrel when he heard the front door swing open and Magnus walked in, humming a soft tune under his breath. He stopped as he passed from the foyer into the living room, catching sight of what Alec was doing.

For a moment, Alec panicked. He hadn’t brought up the fact that he owned weapons to Magnus. He had meant to, ever since he started spending a majority of his time at the loft. He wasn’t officially moved in yet but he had a drawer of clothes, space cleared for his suits in the closet, and even his own phone charger on the bedside table. Having been together for almost 6 months, he knew there wasn’t a point in lying about them. Having the guns on his person all the time made them no easier to hide, what with how handsy they often got with one another. He had prepared a story about family hobbies but he hadn’t quite gotten around to telling it. He supposed the present was better than never and took a deep breath, unsure of how his boyfriend would react to the sight in front of him.

“Darling, I don’t suppose you’d care to explain the array of weapons you have spread on my antique coffee table?” Magnus asked politely as he perched on the arm of the couch and gestured to the pieces. He arched a dark brow at Alec, who smiled, hoping he didn’t look too uncomfortable.

“Family hobby. We’d go to the shooting range every other week, practically. Growing up, Dad always made sure we knew how important personal safety was. I had been meaning to tell you. Uh, sorry for bringing weapons into the loft without asking first.” Alec shrugged sheepishly and glanced at Magnus, silently hoping he wasn’t angry.

Magnus was gazing at one of the guns, curiosity clear on his face. Alec arched an eyebrow and set down the one he was cleaning, grabbing the one Magnus was staring at and double checking that the safety was engaged before turning it over in his hands, smiling. “You like it? Gold inlaid. Izzy got it for my birthday a few years ago.”

“It’s very beautiful. And as long as you are safe with them, which it seems you are, I don’t mind them being in the loft.” Magnus leaned down to press a quick kiss to Alec’s lips. Alec chased him as he pulled back, frowning when Magnus chuckled and stood up. “Though, I will say, I’d love to see you in action some time. There is something to be said about a man who can handle his gun.” Magnus winked and turned to head toward the bedroom, shedding his jacket as he did so. Alec’s eyes followed him, trailing down his body from his broad shoulders to focus on the way his dark jeans clung to his ass. He licked his lips and it took him longer than he’d care to admit to realize Magnus had stopped moving. He was looking over his shoulder, a brow arched knowingly and a smirk on his face. “Not one for subtlety, are you, Alexander?”

Alec set down the gun he’d still been holding and stood up, walking toward Magnus, his stride slow and deliberate. He gently placed his hands on the man’s hips, spinning him around to face him and pulled him flush to his chest, a matching smirk tipping up the edges of his lips.

“Should I be? Being upfront about things usually gets me what I want just fine.” As he spoke, his eyes kept darting to Magnus’ lips, a familiar look in his hazel eyes and Magnus felt heat flare in his stomach. He leaned closer as he spoke, their lips barely an inch apart.

“I don’t know why I thought you’d be innocent when I met you, Alexander. It’s clear you’re quite comfortable in these situations...” Magnus trailed his fingers along the buttons of Alec’s shirt, plucking the top button open and giving him a heated look. Alec pressed closer in response, forcing them backwards until Magnus was pressed against one of the loft’s brick pillars.

“Only with you.” Alec murmured, his voice low and gruff. He leaned in, pressing a hard kiss to the other man’s lips. Magnus returned the kiss with fervor, his hands instinctively tightening their grip in the fabric of Alec’s shirt. Alec could feel the heat from his body, even through their clothing and ached to be closer, pressing himself further into the embrace. Magnus let out a breathy noise and Alec took the chance to nip his bottom lip between his teeth, licking across it before kissing his way down the man’s jawline. He could feel Magnus’s cock pressing into his thigh and he smiled against his skin. Reaching down, Alec wrapped his hands around Magnus’s thighs and lifted him up with ease. Magnus quickly wrapped his legs around Alec’s waist and moaned when Alec lifted him away from the pillar, grabbing him firmly by his ass.

Hooking his arm around the back of Alec’s neck, he used his other hand to rip open the top of the white button up and scraped his fingernails through Alec’s chest hair. The other man growled, the sharp sting sending pleasure straight to his cock and dragged his mouth back to kiss Magnus again. It was messy, their teeth clicking together and Magnus wanted nothing more than to get them both naked as fast as possible. Thankfully, Alec seemed to be thinking the same thing as he carried Magnus into the bedroom and practically tossed him onto the mattress. Stripping himself of his now ruined shirt, Alec climbed on top of Magnus, straddling his hips and staring down at him with an almost predatory smile.

“Alexander, don’t tell me you plan on slowing down now…” Magnus stared up at Alec with heavy lidded eyes, his gaze following the man’s every move. Alec’s devious grin only widened as he began to push Magnus’ shirt up, going deliberately slower than normal. With every inch of smooth, dark skin that Alec revealed, he could feel his mouth getting drier and his pants getting tighter. He moved down to press soft, open mouthed kisses to Magnus’ abs, slowly moving his mouth closer to the edge of his well fitting jeans. He gently traced his tongue along the dips and curves of his hips and stomach, only stopping when Magnus whined impatiently.

“You’re supposed to be the patient one in this relationship, Magnus.” Alec chuckled as he played with the zipper of Magnus’s jeans, looking up at him from his comfortable spot in between the man’s thighs.

“Alexander, I swear, if you don’t get us naked and get your dick in me within the next five minutes-”

“Woah! I totally was not meant to hear that.” Jace’s voice sliced through the sexual tension of the room, cutting short any and all hopes either man in bed had of having sex anytime soon. Alec moved up to sit on his knees, shutting his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose as he slowly breathed in and out, trying to salvage any patience he still had for his brother.

This was not the first time this had happened, so there wasn’t much left to be salvaged.

“Magnus, please...tell me I’m hearing things.” Alec didn’t move from his position on top him, even as Magnus propped himself up on his elbows with a disappointed look.

“I’m afraid not, darling. Though, that’s probably for the best. The last thing I want to hear is that you hallucinate your brother’s voice during foreplay.”

Alec took another deep breath and climbed off of Magnus, turning to face his brother. He crossed his arms over his bare chest and glared.

“This better be good, Jace.”

Jace held up his phone, looking just an unhappy about the current situation as Alec was. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad you both are happy but I really would rather not see my brother half naked and hear his boyfriend talk about his dic-”

Jace. ” Alec cut him off, his already worn patience thinning with every second longer his brother stood there.

Jace clamped his mouth shut and smiled apologetically. “Right. Sorry. Uh, we got a problem at work that needs attending to. Conflict management.” He gave Alec an odd look, something that made Magnus feel like he was missing something and Alec nodded.

“Alright. Magnus, I’ll be back soon, okay? I have to go take care of this.” He turned and leaned down to press a kiss to his boyfriend’s lips, taking a moment to admire the way he was still reclining back on his elbows, shirt pushed up. Magnus caught his wandering eyes and waved him away playfully, sitting up and straightening his shirt.

“The constant battle I face, dating a successful business owner. Go do your thing, Alexander. I’ll be here.” Magnus thumbed across his bottom lip with a soft smile and Alec smiled back, a genuine, lovestruck look on his face that Jace had never seen before. It caught him off guard, making him feel like he wasn’t supposed to be seeing this moment between them.

Alec closed the door behind him as he left the bedroom, grabbing a plain t shirt from the back of the couch as he walked by. He stepped over to the closet by the door and opened it, grabbing his leather jacket along with his shoulder holster. He slipped it on, grabbing the two of his guns that were intact off the coffee table and slipping them into place. He tugged on his jacket and with one last look toward the bedroom, led Jace out the door.

“I’m serious, Jace. This better be important. You just interrupted what was going to be very good-”

Jace slapped his hands over his ears. “I get it, I get it! Trust me, I wouldn’t have risked seeing... that if it wasn’t absolutely necessary.”

Alec rolled his eyes as he unlocked his car and they both climbed in. “You didn’t see anything, Jace. I had my shirt off and Magnus was fully clothed. I’ve walked in on you and chicks before in much less, doing much worse.”

Jace huffed a sigh. “Yeah but what Magnus said was way too much information.”

“Information you wouldn’t have heard if you’d knocked.” Alec said, shooting his brother a pointed look as they pulled out of the parking garage. Jace threw his hands up.

“How was I supposed to know that-”

“That your 27 year old, adult brother might be trying to have sex with his boyfriend in their apartment? Especially if you hear both their voices coming from in the bedroom ?”

Jace groaned, waving his hands around, frantically trying to signal Alec to stop talking. “God! Why can’t you go back to being all, like flustered and innocent?”

Alec fixed Jace with narrowed eyes as they rolled up to a red light. “You mean ashamed, repressed and in the closet?”

Jace opened his mouth, looking lost for words before he rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly.


Alec laughed, a warm and delighted noise that had Jace staring at him again. It took a moment for Alec to notice, his eyes focused on the road until he realized Jace had fallen quiet and was still staring at him. He looked over at him, raising his brows.

“What? Why are you looking at me like that?”

Jace shook his head, blinking owlishly. “It’s nothing. It’s’re happy.”

Alec stared at his brother like he’d grown a second head. “Okay…?” He drew the word out, unsure of where Jace was going with this.

“It’s’s nice. You were always so unhappy growing up and, well, me and Izzy always worried that you’d never get what you deserved, what you wanted.” Jace paused, fidgeting with his phone in his hand, turning it around and around. “You deserve this, Alec. You deserve to be happy and to have somebody like Magnus. So, it’s nice to see you like this. That’s all.”

Alec was struck speechless. They rode the rest of the way to the office in silence as he processed what Jace said, running the words over and over in his head. Jace got increasingly nervous as the silence dragged on, wondering if he’d said something wrong, read the situation wrong somehow. As they parked and climbed out of the Escalade, Jace rounded the car and opened his mouth to speak again.

“Listen, Alec, I’m sorry if I said someth-”

He was cut off as his brother slammed into him, wrapping him in a tight hug. Jace choked off his words in surprise, arms coming up to instinctively hug his brother back. “Alec, what-”

“Thank you.” Alec’s voice was so quiet that Jace barely caught the words but once he’d processed them, he squeezed a little tighter.

“No need to thank me, buddy. Like I said, it’s just nice to see you get what you deserve after all the shit you’ve been through. God knows dealing with me growing up was probably a nightmare.” Jace laughed and Alec pulled back, clapping him on the shoulder with a smile.

“It was definitely a nightmare. Still is, in fact. Now, come on. Let’s go see what was so important that you had to ruin my chances of getting laid, huh?”

Jace screwed his face up in disgust and followed Alec, who turned away with a laugh and began walking into their building. “Dude, come on! What part of too much information don’t you understand?”

Alec only laughed harder.

Chapter Text

Alec had fled the office as fast as he could after his encounter with Robert. He left with only his car keys, abandoning his cellphone in his office and deciding to take the stairs all the way down to his car. He could barely think straight, tension racking his body as Robert’s words circled around and around in his head. He got into his car, throwing it in reverse and tearing out of the parking garage. He drove without thinking, blindly operating the car on autopilot. Before he knew it, he found himself pulling into the parking lot of Magnus’ apartment building. He climbed out of the car, gripping his keys tightly enough to feel the metal biting painfully into the skin of his palm. It grounded him for a moment, the pain clearing his mind enough to for him to try and reason with himself. He shouldn’t be here. There wasn’t anything but more pain if he got into that elevator. There wasn’t any answers in that loft . He should go home.

Robert had to have been lying. Alec could prove it. He had torn that loft apart when Magnus went missing. He hadn’t found anything to suggest the man wasn’t who he said he was.

Those journals? Iris? The doubtful thoughts punctured his desperate attempt to convince himself and pushed him toward the elevator. He hit the button for the top floor and paced the small box like a caged animal, shoving his keys into his pocket. He could feel things becoming too much, the fluorescents too bright and his clothes too tight, the tie suffocating him where it was secured at the base of his throat. He almost didn’t get out of the elevator before the doors closed again as it dinged to a stop at the penthouse floor. He managed to throw a hand out just in time, shoving himself through before the doors were even completely open again and striding toward Magnus’ front door. He wanted to scream, his breath coming in shaky exhales and his knuckles aching to hit something. The golden ‘BANE’ plaque glared at him, mocking everything he thought he knew and trusted. Magnus wouldn’t have done that. He wouldn’t have lied to him.

Alec ran both hands through his hair, tugging on it in frustration as he stared at the black double doors in front of him. But he had lied to Magnus. The thought sent another wave of nausea through his stomach and he swallowed it down, digging his keys out and moving to unlock the door with shaky hands. He missed the lock a few times before he successfully sunk the key in and shoved the door open. As he struggled, his thoughts continued to berate him. If Magnus found out he lied, maybe that’s why he left. Maybe it was his fault .

Entering the loft, he slammed the door behind him and immediately sunk down, wrapping his arms around his knees and letting his head thunk back against the heavy oak as tears began to stream down his face.

He felt useless. He felt like an idiot. What if he couldn’t find Magnus because the man didn’t want to be found? The thought made Alec’s stomach twist again, the nausea rising in his throat. A sob fought through his clenched jaw and he broke, staring through blurry eyes at the abandoned apartment as his chest heaved with desperate attempts to draw air into his lungs. He could see it, clear as day in his mind. Magnus sitting in his armchair, drinking a glass of some fancy cocktail that Alec learned to love the taste of. He could see Chairman Meow slinking his way around the lamp before settling into a ball on the sofa pillows. He could see the life they’d had and his chest tightened painfully, another convulsive gasp making him squeeze his eyes shut, more tears leaking down his face. He slammed his head back in frustration, barely feeling the dull pain that spread through his skull as it struck the door. He tried, tried desperately to calm his breathing, using the techniques Izzy had taught him when they were children and things had been too much, too much and his parents hadn’t cared. He struggled to count the seconds that went by as he inhaled, five then seven and then five again. The hiccups from his harsh crying disrupted him and a frustrated wave of resentment had him biting his bottom lip to keep from screaming. He couldn’t even breathe right. Why did he bother? He failed at everything, he failed everyone. He forced open his eyes, lifting his head up and scrubbing at them to clear his vision. As soon as he had, he caught the sight of a framed photo on the side table next to the armchair. Magnus’ favorite armchair. He knew what it was, he didn’t even have to look closer. Their trip to Tokyo seemed like a lifetime ago, the memory of that night on the balcony taunting him.

Another sob choked him up and he curled tighter into himself, a hoarse and anguished yell of frustration and heartbreak ripping through his throat, as all of his progress made toward calming down disappeared in an instant. He stood up, first steps stumbling as his knees threatened to give out from under him, and turned toward one of the nearby brick pillars. His fist made contact with the exposed masonry, and he felt the crack of one of his knuckles fracturing, maybe breaking, and the sting as the skin ripped open on the rough texture but he didn’t care. He kept throwing and landing blow after blow, his eyes unfocused. The pain did nothing to clear his mind, barely distracting him from the repeating thoughts he kept spiraling into.

He wasn’t sure how much time had passed when he felt something touch his shoulder. Not thinking, he turned and swung, his fist connecting solidly with whoever was behind him.

“Ow! Fuck, Alec!” Raphael clapped a hand over his face, his nose instantly beginning to drip blood and mixing with the red that had smeared on his skin from Alec’s ruined knuckles. He tentatively checked to make sure it wasn’t broken and internally sighed in relief when he realized it wasn’t.

Raphael’s voice seemed to snap Alec out of his haze and the older man stumbled, reaching out and mumbling a soft, bewildered apology. “Raphael...I’m sorry, I thought…” He opened and closed his mouth over and over, unable to finish. His knuckles were raw and covered in a mix dark and crusted blood as well as plenty of fresh blood that continued oozing from his mangled hands. More tears welled up in his eyes and spilled over his already stained cheeks as he stared vacantly at the other man. Raphael, who had taken to wiping his nose on his suit jacket until the bleeding stopped, looked up at him.

“Dios, Alec, it's alright. Just...let’s get you cleaned up. Ven conmigo.” Come with me. Raphael reached out and grabbed him firmly by the upper arm, leading him down the hallway to Magnus’ guest bathroom. He carefully guided Alec toward the toilet seat, casting a side eye glance to make sure he wasn’t going to fall over once he sat down. Alec was quiet the whole time, his eyes staring off into space, glazed over in thought. Grabbing a towel from the cupboard and some disinfectant from under the sink, Raphael got to work. He wet the washcloth and knelt down in front of the other man, taking one of his hands and gingerly cleaning the dried and excess blood away. It didn’t take an expert to notice the broken bones here and there and Raphael winced. He tried his best to clean the wounds gingerly and was shocked that Alec barely reacted to any of his movements. The wounds were extensive, more than Raphael was capable of taking care of. He wondered how adverse the other man would be to him calling Catarina.

“Thankfully, you kept paying the utilities, huh?” Raphael tried to make small talk as he rinsed the towel but Alec didn’t even act as if he had heard him. The latino man sighed and wrung the towel out before returning to his position and cleaning off Alec’s other hand. More fresh blood seeped from his knuckles as Raphael worked to remove the dried on stuff but as far as he could tell, Alec’s right hand was much more intact, maybe a fracture or two but nothing obviously broken. Raphael continued to work in silence, occasionally glancing at Alec’s blank face as he continued to stare at the wall opposite him. When he was satisfied that the wounds were relatively clean, he searched under the sink for the bandages and medical wraps he had seen when grabbing the antiseptic earlier. He took the gauze and coated it in disinfectant, gently layering it over the wounds before wrapping them the best he could while still leaving some range of motion. As he was finishing up the first hand, Alec spoke.

“I lied to him, Raphael. What if he found out and that’s why he left? What if I drove him away?” His voice was barely more than a hoarse whisper, throat raw from crying. Raphael kept working on his hands, mulling the words over before responding.

“If that’s true, then why did he leave the rest of us?” Raphael tried to keep his voice level, not wanting to let the pain of the abandonment he felt make him waver. Right now was about stopping Alec from destroying himself.

“Maybe you’re right. But what if Robert was telling the truth? What if Magnus was really...a criminal?” Alec’s brow furrowed, his expression uncomfortable. Raphael looked up suddenly, slightly alarmed.

“I’m sorry, what?”

Alec frowned. “Right, you weren’t there for that. Robert...I spoke with him. He said Magnus arranged people’s disappearances. Either by death, injury, bribery, who knows. He just said he made them disappear.”

Raphael remained silent as he finished up wrapping Alec’s other hand. The dried blood in his nose was growing more uncomfortable, especially when he scrunched his face in confusion, mulling over Alec’s words. As soon as he had secured the last part of the bandage, he spoke.“No matter what, he shouldn’t have abandoned all of us. We’re owed an explanation, an apology, something. For God’s sake, I’m taking care of his cat.” Raphael scoffed at the thought of the little menace and Alec cracked the smallest smile. It almost instantly turned into a frown as he reached for the wet washcloth on the counter and ran it under the still running warm water. He wrung it out and reached out for Raphael’s face, hesitating just long enough to let the man refuse. When Raphael only sighed in resignation, Alec grabbed his chin between thumb and forefinger, taking the wet towel and firmly wiping it around Raphael’s nose. The man winced as the tender skin throbbed. Alec was thorough, making sure to get all of the blood off Raphael’s face, including his own that had smeared on his cheek when he’d hit him.

“Alec, it’s fine . No soy un niño.” I'm not a child. Raphael tried to pull away, grumbling more Spanish under his breath and Alec leveled him with a firm stare, eyebrows raised.

“Entonces deja de actuar cómo uno.” Then stop acting like one. Alec responded, causing Raphael’s eyebrows to shoot up in shock.

“You never told me you could speak Spanish!” Raphael hissed, batting Alec’s hand away indignantly. Alec swatted back, grabbing Raphael’s face again, more firmly, and continuing to wipe the crusted blood off.

“You never asked.”

Raphael scoffed but seceded, letting Alec clean the blood from his face without further argument. When he was satisfied, Alec set the cloth aside and examined Raphael’s bruised face, his long fingers poking and prodding delicately at Raphael’s nose before pulling away with a nod.

“Not broken. You got lucky. I’m a Lightwood, after all.” He smirked, though it came out more forced than he meant it to be. Raphael chose to humor him and stood, rolling his eyes.

“Yeah, yeah, you Lightwoods and your consequences or whatever.  Simon mentioned your family’s weird motto.” He caught sight of the blood on the sleeve of his suit jacket and sighed, brushing his fingers along the stained fabric. “That’s never going to come out.”

Alec stood up, hissing in pain when he flexed his hands, momentarily forgetting his wounds. He took a moment to steady himself on the edge of the counter before gesturing with his chin toward the rest of the loft. “I’m sure there is something here that will fit you. You know how he was with always being prepared for a ‘fashion disaster’,” Alec exaggerated the words with a narrowed eyed look of confusion. “I think he even had backup outfits for Izzy here.”

Raphael followed Alec out of the bathroom and down the hallway to the master bedroom. Alec hesitated at the door, instead moving off to the side and motioning to the doorhandle. “Uh, pretty sure its the wardrobe directly on your left. I’ll stay out here. I’m...not quite ready to be in that room again.” Alec’s voice had dropped to a soft murmur, his eyes fixed firmly on the floor. Raphael said nothing and went inside, closing the door behind him as he did.

When he returned, he had a new suit jacket on, his old one draped neatly over his arm. Alec hadn’t moved from his spot where he was leaned against the wall. The two of them stood in silence before Raphael spoke.

“I meant it before, when I said I never hated you. You made Magnus happier than I’d ever seen him. Especially after that bitch, Camille. I just didn’t trust you. And technically, I was right not to but for different reasons.” Raphael shot him a knowing look, one that had Alec ducking his head slightly, almost in shame. “But I can tell you love him. And we will find him, Alec. If only to get an explanation out of that dramatic son of a bitch for disappearing the way he did.”

“If it was voluntary.” Alec responded, looking uncertain.

Raphael rest a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “Either way, we will bring him home. After all, the return policy date on that ring box in the bottom of the wardrobe probably passed a long time ago, huh?” He gave Alec a knowing smile. An uncharacteristic flush spread on Alec’s cheeks.

“I didn’t have anywhere else to hide it and after he disappeared...I just couldn’t make myself go in there and get it.”

Raphael nodded in understanding. “Well, no place safer than an abandoned apartment being watched by the mob, right?”

Alec laughed weakly, tucking his hands in his pockets and glancing at the bedroom door again. “Yeah. Yeah, I guess you’re right.”


Chapter Text

Somewhere in Italy


“It’s only for a little while longer, my dear. Surely after a year and a half, a few more months is tolerable.” Ragnor poured tea as he spoke, leaning across the coffee table and holding out the cup to his companion.

Magnus sat in a plush armchair, his legs curled up underneath him. He looked smaller like this, his face gaunt and eyes dull of their normal animated light. He took the teacup without a word, bringing it to his lips with a slight tremor in his hand. Ragnor watched him closely, a sad smile on his face. “I promise, we will get you home to your darling Alec within the year. I’m sure things are beginning to look up.” He added, trying to lighten the mood.

A mistake on his part, of course. Magnus let out a bitter laugh, a forced, cynical smile spreading on his face. He didn’t even look at Ragnor when he spoke, his eyes fixed off in the distance. “ Get me home? What makes you think that loft is still there, let alone under my name? And Alexander?” Magnus’ smile disintegrated, his eyes flickering to Ragnor’s for just a moment. He looked away again as he fell silent. Slowly, he leaned forward to set down his drink on the coffee table, wincing when his muscles ached in refusal. The teacup clinked against the plate, disrupting the silence of the room as Magnus attempted to set it down with a steady hand. His tremors, worsening lately Ragnor noted, caused tea to spill over the rim and onto his hand and he softly cursed, shaking them off. Ragnor pressed his lips tightly together as he watched.

He barely recognized the man in front of him. His face was free of makeup, something he very rarely wore these days, and his hair fell loosely on his forehead. He looked exhausted, drawn and thinner than he used to be, the energy he always carried with him and exuded completely erased by days spent in hiding. He was currently wrapped in a simple grey sweater and black jeans, entirely unlike his normal fashion, his arms wrapped around himself as he struggled to keep warm in the airy Italian flat. He was always cold these days, it seemed.

Ragnor knew this past year and a half had been hell. Being on the run from somebody like Valentine wasn’t easy. They had to constantly be ready to flee, never getting too comfortable.

Then Magnus had gotten sick.

The doctors that Ragnor had forced him to see deemed the issue was just his immune system suffering from the constant travel. Normal run of the mill flu stuff. The main problem lie in the fact that Magnus never seemed to get better. Whether it was the stress or the heartbreak, Ragnor wasn’t sure. Regardless, he spent most days force feeding the other man, making sure he took care of himself no matter how hopeless he might have felt. They hadn’t come this far for Ragnor to let him just give up.

Magnus was an intelligent and skilled man, but Ragnor had known him for longer than he could remember and he wasn’t a cold blooded killer. Not unless he absolutely had to be. And Ragnor wasn’t about to let it come to that either.

“According to Elias, there hasn’t been any word of Jonathan or Valentine’s people for over five months. That’s the longest it has been the whole time you have been gone. For God’s sake, we have been in Italy for almost four months with no signs of trouble. We may be done with this mess sooner than you think. Have some faith.” Ragnor tried to reassure his friend, who returned his efforts with an eye roll.

“The fact is, I should have killed that man when I had the chance, Ragnor. I’ve risked everything and for what? To impress a man that hated me and keep my reputation? I knew Jonathan Morgenstern was a disaster waiting to happen and I let my personal history with him cloud my judgement. I should have shoved Robert Lightwood out the door the moment he said his name.” Magnus’s voice was spiteful, his face twisted in anger at himself.

“Robert Lightwood had no right to drag you into his mess. You know why he did it and I wish you had spoken to me before you agreed to such foolery.” Ragnor didn’t bother beating around the bush. Magnus had made a mistake, one that costed him his friends, his family, and his lover for an increasing and undetermined amount of time. “You could have gone about the situation far better and you didn’t. But I understand, my friend. Raphael means a lot to all of us and perhaps even I would have taken a chance to take down the monster that hurt him for so many years. Gods, if it had been Camille, our positions right now might be reversed.” Ragnor sighed, frowning. Magnus’ eyes shot to his, an unreadable expression on his face. When he spoke, he sounded uncertain.

“You’re not one for blatant displays of emotion or rash decisions, my friend.”

“No. But family is family, Magnus. And people should not go unpunished for their wrongdoings.” Ragnor took a slow sip of his tea, drumming his fingers on the side of the cup.

“What matters is that he agreed to leave everyone alone so long as I left. So that’s what I did. I didn’t truly expect them to turn it into some... sick cat and mouse game. I was supposed to have time to leave and I certainly wasn’t supposed to be hunted down. Foolish of me, I know.” Magnus scoffed, brushing a few stray hairs from his forehead. His hands dropped back into his lap, shaking. They looked odd, bare of their usual polish and adornments, save for the silver band on his right hand ring finger. “I had it all planned. I was going to leave Alexander. I didn’t want him mourning me. I knew dropping off the face of the Earth would only cause him to search endlessly for me, involve an unnecessary amount of cops... But Jonathan didn’t give me a choice. If I hadn’t left that night, who knows how many of them would still be alive.” Magnus coughed suddenly, all the talking wearing on his already rough throat, and his shoulders shook as it racked his body. When the fit had passed, he grit his teeth and rubbed uselessly at his neck. “Damn cold. Why aren’t you sick?” He snapped at Ragnor, who held his hands up in surrender.

“I assume it’s the fact that I’ve traveled Europe for over six years while you sat on your ass in Brooklyn.”

Magnus glared daggers at him and winced, rubbing his temples. “This headache is killing me. Are we out of Ibuprofen?” He questioned, tilting his head back and closing his eyes. Ragnor nodded in response.

“Yes, but I can go fetch some if you’d like.”

“Why can’t I leave? If we haven’t heard from them in months, why am I stuck in this flat like a damn vampire? You’re always wondering aloud why I’m sick all the time. It’s probably the fact that I haven’t seen sunlight in almost a decade and you never dust in here!” Magnus snapped, his anger returning full force with his pounding headache. Ragnor ignored the outburst, standing up and heading toward the door wordlessly. He stopped to take his peacoat down from the hook and busied himself with slipping it over his shoulders. Magnus stared on, his irritation building as he watched Ragnor wind a scarf neatly around his neck. The British man caught sight of his scowl and shook his head, exasperated.

“I’m dreadfully sorry, my dear, but we can’t risk anyone seeing you. Do you really want to spend another year on the run?” Ragnor asked. Magnus didn’t dignify him with a response and curled up tighter in the armchair, spinning the ring on his right hand for a modicum of comfort. Ragnor hesitated at the door. “I know you feel-” Magnus cut him off, his demeanor changing so quickly that Ragnor took a step back in shock. Magnus was up out of his seat in an instant, rage radiating from him, his eyes blazing as he pointed an accusatory finger at Ragnor.

You have no idea! About anything ! I gave up my whole life! Everything! My job, my home, my family, I even left Raphael behind with no explanation! And Alec?” Magnus voice trembled. “You don’t know how it feels, Ragnor. You don’t know anything. I...I can barely breathe when I think about him. Even now, I can feel my chest tightening, it makes me nauseous and I can’t bring myself to even look at his photos.” Magnus anger was sputtering out, giving way to the devastation he had struggled to hide for so long. Ragnor reached out for him, taking a step closer but Magnus turned away, collapsing down onto the sofa and curling back up into a ball, his arms secured around his knees. He sniffled. “I’m exhausted all the time. I can’t go anywhere or do anything or speak to anyone. I’m not even living. What is the point of it? I...I’m broken. I made a stupid mistake and when I tried to fix it, I made it worse. And now look at me. I barely eat. I’m a ghost of the man I once was. So don’t...don’t tell me you understand how that feels. Because I can’t imagine you can.” His voice had tapered off to a mere whisper, his chest heaving visibly even in his fetal position and his eyes wet with tears. Somehow, he looked even smaller than before. Ragnor moved closer to his friend, setting his keys aside and taking a spot next to him on the couch..

“I had to leave behind my friends. I have had to lie to them every single time they call. If we ever go back, I’m not sure they will forgive me, Magnus. But no, you’re right. I don’t understand how you feel. That doesn’t change the fact that I’m here for you. And it doesn’t change the fact that you need to keep fighting. From what Elias has told me, Alec is still looking for you. He never stopped. And you know he never will. But in order for all his effort and all of our effort to matter, you need to make it through.”

Magnus didn’t answer him. He continued to stare down at his hands, fiddling with the solid silver band he had pulled off his finger. He ran his thumb over the inside engraving, tears dripping onto his hands.

I’m not going anywhere.


Ragnor smiled softly. “Okay?”

Magnus nodded, sniffling and wiping at his nose with a frown. “Yes, okay. I won’t...give up or something or another you just said.”

Ragnor chuckled, reaching out to pat Magnus on the shoulder. “Good man. It would do you some good to listen to me more than once every few years.”

Magnus groaned, laying his head back on the couch. “Just go get me something for this godforsaken headache that you insist on making worse. You owe me that much.”

Standing with a scoff, his friend made his way back to the door, grumbling under his breath as he opened it to leave. “Ungrateful brat.”

“Old codger.” Magnus bit back, his old characteristic smirk gracing his lips.

Ragnor left with a smile on his face.


Chapter Text

“Alec, it’s been three weeks. We can’t find Camille Belcourt anywhere. Ragnor won’t answer his phone. And Magnus’s books were a dead end. Simon and I think maybe it’s time to take a break.” Simon had contemplated bringing this up to Alec for a while and didn’t have the confidence to do it alone. He figured that Isabelle was a good voice of reason and with her in the room, hopefully Alec wouldn’t kill Simon.


“No.” Alec’s response was firm and he barely spared them a glance up from his computer. Simon winced at the tone of his voice, having heard it one too many times before the man lost his temper, and shot an uncertain look at Izzy. She glared at her brother and tossed her hands in the air.

“Alec, come on! You look like you haven’t slept in days, I don’t remember the last time I saw you eat, and no matter how nice of a suit you wear, it’s clear you aren’t doing well. Magnus wouldn’t want you ruining your life over this. Or did you forget that we have a business to run?” She crossed her arms, refusing to back down. There were few people in the world who weren’t afraid of Alec but Isabelle Lightwood herself was a force to be reckoned with.

A sardonic smile spread on Alec’s face as he looked away from his computer and propped his head up on one hand. “I really appreciate your concern, Izzy. But the business is going fine. You know it. I know it. You and Jace have been doing great. Besides, aren’t you always telling me to take time for myself?”

“Not to run yourself ragged, Alec. To get some damn rest. Take a fucking vacation like a normal person.”

“I’m not resting until I get him home, Iz, and I’m sure as hell not going to lounge on a fucking beach while he could be dead and buried somewhere.” Alec’s voice was thin as ice and his smile was strained. “I don’t care if he killed people, I don’t care if he was more of a criminal than I am, I don’t care what I have to do, who I have to end. If he is alive, Iz, I will get him home. I love him. And I need to know he is safe. Even if he doesn’t want me anymore.” Alec left no room for argument, making a dismissive gesture with his hand. “Out. Both of you.”

Simon and Izzy exchanged exasperated looks. Isabelle hesitated while Simon stood and left without another word.

“This isn’t good for you, big brother.”

Alec’s expression was lethal. “ Out.

Isabelle shook her head and as she left, Alec pretended he didn’t see the look of disappointment on her face.

Alec folded his arms on his desk, thumping his head down onto them with a groan. He wasn’t sure how long he sat there, and only lifted his head when he felt himself start to drift off.  He scrubbed at his eyes, trying to chase the exhaustion away and massaged his temples as his headache intensified. He opened one of his desks drawers, squinting against the pain, and fumbled through it, pushing papers aside as he searched for whatever pain reliever he had left.

As he was looking, grumbling under his breath when he found an empty bottle of aspirin, he heard his office door open and close. Without looking up, he spoke.

“Izzy, look, I know you mean well but-”

“Actually, I really don’t.” The voice instantly had Alec on his feet, headache forgotten and gun already in hand. He pointed it at his new guest, racking the slide with a pointed motion.

Camille Belcourt stood there, in all of her terrible glory. Perfectly curled hair, dark red lips and a skin tight green dress that reminded Alec of a venomous snake. The smirk she wore did nothing to change that.

“Camille. I would say pleasant surprise but considering you’re a predictable bitch…” Alec grinned at her, relishing in the way her smile turned sour.

“Listen, Lightwood. I don’t need to be here. I’m doing you a favor.” She stalked closer, her heels clicking on the polished wood floors. She circled around to the side of Alec’s desk, trailing her fingers along it and watching him. Alec followed her with his eyes, taking careful steps backwards to keep a good amount of distance between them.  

“Oh? And what’s that, Camille?”

She stopped circling and placed a hand on her hip, boredly examining her nails on the opposite one. “I can tell you why Magnus left.”

Alec’s hand tightened on his gun but his aim didn’t waiver. “It doesn't matter why he left. I need to know he is safe. That’s all I care about. So if you are just here to toy with me-”

She cut him off. “Save it. I don’t care about you. Hell, I don’t even care what happens to Magnus at this point. I want Morgenstern off my ass and you can help me with that.” She paused, waiting to see if Alec would respond. He just inclined his head for her to continue and she scoffed. “Jonathan is alive. Your father didn’t make a mistake hiring Magnus. Magnus made a mistake taking the job. He was set to kill Morgenstern, the kid’s a freak, he preyed on his sister when she was too young to remember, he stalks people, even I think he is evil. But Magnus. Fucked. Up. Probably because you made him soft. He fucking missed and now Jonathan is out for blood.” She crossed her arms, hugging herself and Alec noted that for just a moment, she looked scared.

He quirked an eyebrow. “Why is he after you then?”

Camille swallowed hard. “I pissed him off. Used him up and spit him out. I only wanted intel. He didn’t like that very much. That’s why I dropped off the grid. That fucker will kill you for looking at him wrong.”

Alec narrowed his eyes and took a step closer. “I don’t know if I believe you, Camille. And I don’t help people that lie to me.” He took another step closer, gun still raised. “What does my father have to do with all of this?”

Camille sneered and sat herself on the edge of his desk, smoothing down the front of her dress. “You don’t care about anyone but yourself, Lightwood. I admire that.” She pulled out her phone and tapped away for a moment before slipping it back into her purse. “Your father is an idiot. He hired Magnus to scare Morgenstern into leaving town. That’s all. He was sick of the kid trying to one up him in his own business. Valentine wants as many empires as he can get, including the new one of your father’s, small as it may be. So he sent Jonathan in. And Robert got sick of him.”

Alec shook his head. “It doesn’t make sense. My father hated Magnus. Hated to be in the same room as him. The fact that I’m gay makes Robert want to vomit in his mouth. There are plenty of contract killers in this city. My father had connections. Why Magnus? ” Alec demanded, raising his voice and stepping closer yet again. When she remained quiet, he nodded pointedly at the gun in his hand. “After everything you’ve done, Camille, there isn’t a lot that’s keeping me from shooting you, so I suggest you answer the damn question!” Camille shrunk back ever so slightly, fear flashing in her eyes again. Pride flared in Alec’s chest at the sight.

“Your father was hoping he would die in the process of it all. He underestimated Magnus and Jonathan. And now Magnus is on the run and your father is only alive because Valentine doesn’t want to raise any red flags while you are sticking your nose in everything. But worry not. Our dearest Maggie is indeed still alive.” She stood up, suddenly in a hurry and walked toward the door, straightening her purse on her shoulder. With her hand on the doorknob, she turned and looked over her shoulder. “You need to find Magnus. You need to tell him the truth about you. And you need to stop Jonathan. Before we all end up dead. Talk to Ragnor. British boy’s been busy and not with writing novels.” With that, she winked at him and left.

Alec lowered his gun and was tucking it back into his shoulder holster under his suit jacket when Simon rushed in.

“What the hell? Was that Camille that just walked by me? How did she get in here? I didn’t even see her come in, I swear, I-”

“It doesn’t matter, Simon.”Alec walked over to his desk and grabbed his phone, scrolling through his contacts. “When was the last time anyone had contact with Ragnor?”

“Uh, Raphael spoke to him last week, I think, why? Is he some sort of criminal too? What did Camille say?” Simon stammered through the questions, looking around in confusion. Alec ignored him.

“What was the number?”

Simon fumbled his phone out of his pocket and scrolled through it. “Um….I don’t know. I don’t have it. I can call Raphael and ask? He is in court, he probably won’t answer.”

Alec shook his head. “It can wait. Just get me that number asap, okay?”

Simon nodded, frowning. “Yeah, okay, sure. You got it, boss.”




Raphael was just leaving the courtroom, his jaw set and teeth grinding, when he noticed Simon walking up to him. His irritation turned into confusion, momentarily forgetting the case he had just been dealing with at the sight of his fiance. “Simon, what are you doing here? Is everything okay?” Raphael reached for the man as he approached, a nervous expression on his face.

“Raph, I came to ask you for something and maybe grab lunch but I think...I think I’m being followed.” Simon’s voice quivered, his eyes darting back and forth nervously. Raphael immediately smiled.

“Well why didn’t you say so? Come on, let’s grab lunch in my office.” Raphael gently but firmly grabbed Simon’s elbow and started leading him down the hall, back toward the front doors of the courthouse. Simon struggled slightly and turned to whisper to Raphael under his breath.

“What are you doing?! I just said-”

“I know what you said, shut up and follow my lead. This isn’t my first time dealing with a stalker, remember?” Raphael hissed back through his teeth, keeping the smile on his face. Simon turned somber at the mention of Raphael’s past but did his best to school his face into a more neutral expression as they continued walking. He glanced off to the side as they got outside and saw someone in his peripheral vision, following them at a quick pace. Raphael grit his teeth and his grip on Simon’s arm tightened. “Is there anyway you can get a hold of Alec? Discreetly?” He kept his voice quiet, even though it was unlikely they would be heard through the crowd of people on the steps of the courthouse. Simon nodded, reaching into his pocket for his phone. He left it in his pocket and tapped the lock button three times. It would send an SOS to Alec with his location.

“Alright. Now, come over here and kiss me. Let’s see if your superhero movies are right.” Raphael pulled Simon over to one of the large pillars of the courthouse before he could ask questions and pushed him up against it, immediately pressing their lips together. Simon gasped in surprise and made an mmph noise of protest before he began to kiss back, easily melting into the embrace. Raphael dropped his briefcase by their feet, and Simon jumped when he felt Raphael’s hands slipping under his jacket to grip his hips, uncertain but firm. A whine slipped from Simon’s lips when he felt the other man press closer, his body warm and the smell of his cologne enveloping him, warm, spicy, crisp, altogether something entirely Raphael that had him reeling. This kind of affection from Raphael, this kind of kiss was something Simon had never experienced, had never even dreamed of. He felt guilty enjoying it, knowing that his fiance was only doing it to make the stalker uncomfortable, make him look away for a moment and hopefully lose track of them. Simon’s phone buzzed in his pocket and he pulled away from the kiss as much as possible with Raphael still pressing him firmly against the pillar. He slipped the phone out of his pocket and answered it, breathless as he stared into Raphael’s dark eyes. “Yes?”

“I see you. And I see that you don’t look to be in danger. Though, if that’s Raphael, you have some explaining to do. And if it isn’t, you have even more explaining to do. So…” Alec trailed off, sounding bored and a little angry already. “Care to explain?” Simon sighed in relief.

“Uh, no. No can do. But it’s important. Promise.” Simon tried to be as vague as possible and hoped Alec would still understand. “I’ve got friend.” Simon finished, silently praying he didn’t just tip off his stalker, if they were even close enough to hear him.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean? I like you, Simon, but Raphael is family and if you hurt him-”

Raphael reached out and plucked the phone from Simon’s hand. “Dios, Alec, el idiota, estamos siendo observados.” We are being watched.

There was a beat of silence on the other line. “Go down the steps. Hail a cab. Tell the cabbie to take you to the address I’m going to text you. And do not, under any circumstances, look behind you. Act natural. Do not move immediately after you hang up the phone. Got it?”

“Si.” Raphael hung up the phone and slid it back into Simon’s pants pocket. He knew that Simon had been close enough to hear the conversation so he stayed where he was, resting his forehead against Simon’s and smiling reassuringly. Simon avoided his eyes, fixing his gaze firmly downward. He felt Raphael gently prod him in the side.

“Simon, look at me. It’s okay. I’m not uncomfortable. This is to keep you safe. Nobody likes to watch a couple furiously make out. Especially in public. And I can’t see him anymore, so hopefully with our faces hidden, he glossed over us.” Raphael’s voice was deep, almost husky, the way it got when he was worried about Simon. Simon groaned internally. That voice did things to him that it shouldn’t. It always did and right now, it was the last thing he needed.

“I know, I know that, Rapha. It’s just...I’m a little uncomfortable.” Simon grimaced and his eyes flicked down. Raphael’s eyes widened in realization and he took a large step back, almost falling off the top step of the courthouse. Simon reached forward and grabbed his arm to help steady him.

“Right. Right. Sorry. Um. We can probably go now.” Raphael stammered, nervous in a way that made Simon’s stomach twist into knots.

“Rapha...I’m so-”

“Later, okay? For now, let’s just...go.” Raphael grabbed Simon’s hand and they followed Alec’s instructions. The cabbie took them to the address quickly, which Simon recognized as one of Alec’s few safe houses. Raphael paid the cabbie and climbed out, tugging Simon along with him.

They made their way to the elevator where Simon hit the button for the seventh floor before he leaned against the elevator wall, leaving a large berth of space between him and Raphael. He fiddled with his hands and opened his mouth to speak, the ding of the elevator cutting him off. Raphael waited for him to step out first before following. They got to the door of Alec’s apartment and Simon grabbed Raphael’s wrist, stopping him before he went inside.

“Raphael, listen, about earlier, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to react that way, it’s not something I can really control, I tried but-”

“Simon, it’s okay. It was my fault. And you’re right, your reaction was totally normal, I’m not mad-”

“No! No, I totally made you uncomfortable and I-”

“Simon, shut up and listen to me. You had a normal bodily reaction to being physically intimate with a man you are attracted to. I’m not blaming you for getting hard, dios. I’m blaming myself for forgetting that just because I don’t feel anything doesn’t mean you don’t.” Raphael placed a hand on Simon’s neck, caressing it and making sure the man wouldn’t tried and keep avoiding his eyes. Simon flushed a bright red and tried to to do exactly that, failing to succeed when Raphael tipped his chin up forcibly. “Simon, ¿puedes parar por favor?” Can you please stop? His eyes moved to Raphael’s, whose were soft and full of understanding. “I’m. Not. Angry. I took you by surprise. I should have gotten your consent first. All I could think about was that we needed to do something to hide in plain sight. And we had just watched that superhero film...I was being spontaneous.” Raphael said sheepishly as Simon cracked a small smile.

“You’re Black Widow and I’m Steve Rogers? Not how I saw it in my head, but alright.” He chuckled nervously. “I think I’m more of a Peter Parker. Which I guess makes you Mary Jane…actually, ignore that I said that. You’d make a terrible redhead.” Simon laughed again, looking a little brighter.

“Never doubt my faith in you, mi amor. Or yourself. I will always tell you when I’m uncomfortable. I hope you keep doing the same.”

The door to the apartment swung open suddenly, revealing Alec, who was shockingly wearing a t-shirt and sweatpants. His shoulder holster was still on, guns both in place. He looked bored and slightly irritated. The usual.

“Are you love drunk idiots going to keep having a moment outside my door or are you going to come in? You were being stalked just a half hour ago, in case you’d forgotten. And Simon, you have some explaining to do.” Alec glared at his assistant, who gaped. Raphael held up a hand to stop him from putting his foot in his mouth.

I initiated it, Alec. No need to go all protective step father on me, ¿bueno?” Okay?

Alec’s eyes widened. “Step fath- I’m only seven years older than you!”

Raphael pushed past him into the apartment. “And Magnus is only eight years older. Yet, his name is on my adoption papers and missing or not, you’re basically still dating him.” Simon trailed in after Raphael, trying to hide his snickering at Alec’s bewildered expression. Raphael shrugged, sitting down on the couch and loosening his tie. “Trust me, I don’t like it either. And I won’t be calling you dad.”

Alec faltered, words failing him. “Uh...okay. Right. That’s...anyway.” He cleared his throat and shut the door, locking the three separate locks on it.

Simon snorted, flopping down on the couch next to Raphael. “Starting to sound like me, boss.”

Alec’s answering glare was weak and he turned away from them to hide the faint smile that tugged at his lips.

Chapter Text

Somewhere in Italy


“Magnus? I brought food from the cafe you like.” Ragnor kicked the door shut behind him as he called out, stepping over to the coffee table and unceremoniously dumping the bags he was carrying on it. When he got no reply, he stopped sorting through his purchases and looked down the hallway. “Magnus?” He called louder, undoing his scarf from around his neck and tossing it aside. Again, no reply. With a heavy sigh, Ragnor removed his jacket and folded it over the side of the couch before he made his way down the hall toward Magnus’ room. As he was passing his private office, he stopped. Inside, he heard strange clanking noises and he narrowed his eyes in suspicion, carefully cracking the door and pushing it open ever so slightly.

The sight inside had his jaw dropping. His personal office had been turned into...a home gym. His desk had been shoved aside, his stacks of books and research for his novels carelessly stowed in the corner and replaced with a rack of weights, his lamps and bar cart moved aside to make way for a fancy looking treadmill and Magnus was in the middle of all of it, doing sit ups with a dumbbell in each hand.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” Ragnor shouted, slamming the office door behind him. “Magnus, you idiot, you’re sick. And where did you even get all of this? Did you leave the house? Also, my office!” His voice raised in pitch, almost hysterical by the time he’d finished speaking. His eyes couldn’t even pick a place to settle on, darting around the room to see what more damage had been done.

Magnus didn’t even pause in his repetitions. “I’m tired of wallowing, dear cabbage. I’m not about to allow myself to completely waste away. Your home in Spain had a wonderful home gym but we have been here for almost four months and I’m only getting weaker. I figured I’d make use of your credit card and decrepit old office to better myself.” He tossed a smile over his shoulder and stood, setting the weights aside and grabbing a towel to wipe his forehead with. Ragnor noted the pale tinge to his usually dark skin and shook his head.

“You aren’t well enough for this, friend.”

Magnus continued smiling, looking unperturbed. “Ragnor, I am fine. I need to keep in tip top shape, don’t you understand? An assassin trained only with guns is a poor assassin.” Ragnor barked out a laugh.

“Assassin? Please, Magnus. You much prefer others to do your dirty work. Don’t try those lines on me.” Ragnor rolled his eyes, watching his friend warily. “Just admit you’re vain and we can move onto the fact that you just blew a bunch of my money and you look like you’re about to collapse.”

Magnus made a dismissive motion with his hand. “I borrowed . I’ll pay you back as soon as I can access my bank accounts without tipping anyone off. And as I said before, I’m fine.

Ragnor was about to quip back with something about how Magnus was terrible at paying people back when his phone rang. Both men froze, glancing at one another. Ragnor slipped a hand into his pocket and pulled out his cellphone, seeing Raphael’s name on the screen. He quickly showed it to Magnus, who turned away, reaching down to grab his carefully folded clothing off the floor. He slipped a sweatshirt on over his tank top and perched himself on the edge of Ragnor’s desk. Ragnor answered the call, uncertain as to why Raphael was calling again so soon. It set him on edge, as normally Raphael only called once a month to keep in touch.

“Raphael, my dear friend, What a wonderful surprise! To what do I owe the pleasure?” Ragnor did his best to not sound nervous. Anytime he had a phone call with somebody from home, he always kept it outside of the loft, away from Magnus for good reason. There was no need to cause the man unnecessary pain.  

“Ragnor. Long time no talk. How’s things?” Ragnor paled, the phone almost slipping from his hand as Alec’s deep voice poured through the receiver. He hastily turned and left the office, shutting the door quickly behind him. He heard Magnus’s indignant “Hey!” after him and prayed Alec didn’t hear it through the phone. He shut himself in his bedroom, the farthest room from Magnus at the moment, and hoped the man wouldn’t follow.

“Hi. Hello. Alec. How are you?”

“Curious.” Alec’s voice hinted at something, something that had a sinking pit forming in Ragnor’s stomach.  “Can you tell me, Ragnor, why Camille Belcourt of all people is telling me to speak with you?” Alec’s voice was contemplative, slow, like he was choosing his words very carefully.

Ragnor’s grip tightened on the phone. He began to pace back and forth in his bedroom, debating how to respond when the door opened to reveal a furious looking Magnus. Ragnor glared at him, shaking his head furiously and wildly waving his other hand, trying to shoo his friend away. Magnus crossed his arms, cocking a hip and staring Ragnor down. The british man glared daggers back at him and returned to his phone call.

“I can’t imagine why. I haven’t spoken with the witch in ages.” Ragnor kept his voice light with just the right amount of confusion. Alec’s responding chuckle was humorless and the pit in his stomach suddenly felt big enough to swallow him whole.

“I’m going to be honest. You were never my favorite. And I was never yours, so let’s cut the shit and be honest with each other for once. You tell me the truth and then, I’ll give you some truth of my own. I heard his voice, Ragnor. Don’t treat me like an idiot.”

He sucked a deep breath in through gritted teeth. “I don’t know what to tell you, Al-” Ragnor caught himself, whipping in head in Magnus’ direction, but he’d already said enough. Magnus, who had been leaning against the door frame with an unhappy look on his face, turned white as a sheet, lips parting in shock. Ragnor watched his friend mouth the Alec’s name, disbelief and pain shattering the careful facade he’d been struggling to maintain since he left. A hand, trembling, came up to cover his mouth and he shook his head, looking as though he was battling himself between grabbing the phone or running from the room. Ragnor cleared his throat. “I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve not been lying to you.”

Alec made a frustrated noise. “Damnit, Ragnor. I’m no normal civilian, okay? I’m filthy rich and I can keep Magnus safe. I could hire more goddamn personal protection than the president himself.” Alec paused, reigning in his anger the best he could. He blew out a shaky breath before continuing. “I need to know he is safe. Please. That’s all I ask. If he doesn’t want to come back...that’s, that’s fine. But if he does...I can protect him. Tell him I forgive him, tell him I just want him home. Tell him that I love him.” Ragnor could hear the desperation in the other man’s voice, could see the same desperation on his friend’s face as he stood in the doorway, tears welled in his eyes and threatening to spill over.

Magnus couldn’t think, could barely breathe as he leaned heavily against the doorframe, his heart hammering in his chest. He knew exactly who was on the other end of that phone call and the thought terrified him and relieved him in ways he hadn’t felt in almost a year and a half. He wanted to walk up to Ragnor and rip the phone from his hand, take it and tell Alexander how much he loved him, how sorry he was. Only the white knuckle grip on his own crossed arms and the weakness in his knees kept him from moving.

“I have to go.” Ragnor hung up the phone, suddenly and before removing the SIM card and snapping it in half. “We need to go. Now! Pack your bags.” He tossed the phone carelessly onto the carpet and stormed over to his closet, throwing it open.

“Ragnor, what did he say? Why is he calling you? How did he know? Tell me.” Magnus demanded, not moving from his spot.

“Magnus, this is for your own good and the sake of our lives. Now, pack!”

“Goddamnit, tell me!” Magnus snapped, stalking over to the british man and grabbing him by the arm, demanding his attention. Ragnor spun and shook him off.


“Ragnor Fell, I am a 30 year old man with 12 years of contract killing under my belt. The goddamn common cold and some entitled little prick with daddy’s money and anger issues is not going to stop me from going where I want to and doing what I want. Not anymore.” With that, he turned and left, slamming the door behind him.




2 years ago


“Keep your eyes closed!” Magnus laughed as Alec stumbled forward, arms outstretched and searching, trying to make sure he didn’t run into anything. The blindfold over his eyes made it impossible to see where he was going and Magnus tried to lead him but was far too busy laughing as Alec almost walked straight into one of the loft’s brick pillars.

“I can’t see through this thing anyway! Why do I need to keep my eyes closed?” Alec argued, despite the delighted grin on his face. He took another uncertain step forward and promptly groaned in pain when he ran groin first into the arm of the couch. He doubled over, clutching at his crotch and cursing. Magnus tried to cover his mouth and muffle his giggles as he grabbed Alec by the shoulder and let him around to sit on the couch properly.

“Oh my god...what the hell is that couch made of? How can it be so soft yet so deadly?” Magnus rolled his eyes at his boyfriend’s dramatic lamenting and reached up to pull his blindfold off.

“Happy Valentine’s Day!” Magnus threw his arms up with a grin on his face. Alec blinked a few times, adjusting to the light with squinting eyes. In front of him, spread out on the coffee table, was all of Alec’s favorite dishes from the restaurants they had visited around New York. Soup dumplings from their go to Chinese place, red curry from the Thai place on 30th, and even what looked like lobster tail from Manhattan Island. There was also a few assorted desserts and a black gift box with a large golden bow on top. Alec smiled widely, the crinkle eyed, dopey grin that Magnus adored seeing. It had taken a long time to get the other man to relax and even longer to get him to accept gifts and the frequent spoiling that Magnus was prone to. Thankfully, by now he was used to Magnus’ extravagance and relished in it happily.

“Magnus...I don’t know what to say.” Alec shook his head, lost for words as he stared at the spread in front of him. “I didn’t get you anything quite this...much.” He mumbled, trailing off as he reached for a still warm croissant, the tempting plates of food getting the best of him. Magnus laughed again and stole it out of his hand before he could take a bite, tearing a piece off and popping it into his mouth. Alec’s jaw dropped and he stared at Magnus in mock offence.

“Who says this is all for you?” Magnus winked and leaned his head on Alec’s shoulder. “I’m only a little bit kidding. And besides, you didn’t have to get me anything. I wasn’t expecting a gift at all. The food just means I don’t have to cook dinner and well, the box... I just saw something and it screamed your name so I had to buy it.”

Alec wrapped an arm around his boyfriend, pulling him closer and pressing a kiss to the side of his head. “Thank you.”

Magnus rolled his eyes affectionately. “You haven’t even seen it, don’t thank me yet. Though, speaking of.” Magnus pulled away to reach over and grab the box. He shifted so that he was facing Alec a bit more, their knees knocking together. “Here.” He set it gingerly in his boyfriend’s lap.

Alec smiled softly, his eyes crinkling in delight. “Magnus, seriously? This thing is huge.” He lay his hands on the box but made no move to open it.

“Alexander, open the damn gift!” Magnus gestured at the box again, a cheshire cat grin spread across his face. Alec eyed him curiously and gently untied the bow, lifting the top of the box off. He unfolded the tissue paper and when he saw what was inside, the smile dropped off his face. He blinked rapidly, mouth open wide but no sound coming out. After a moment, he reached in and took out the silver inlaid gun. He turned it over in his hands, silently admiring the filigree and Magnus heard the slight intake of breath when he saw the specially engraved words on the side. He ran his fingers over it and looked up at Magnus, a lopsided smile forming.

“Magnus, this...this is beautiful. I can’t, you said you saw this and thought of me! This is a custom made weapon!” Alec looked back down at the gun in his hands as Magnus’s smile grew even wider.

“I saw how much you loved your other ones and...I don’t know. I know it isn’t a typical gift. Especially not for Valentine’s Day, certainly. But I saw the blank and just thought that it might be a nice reminder. If you ever have to kill somebody, at least now it will remind you of me!” Magnus laughed a little too hard at the joke, knowing Alec wouldn’t understand.

Alec narrowed his eyes, scrunching his brows in mock confusion. He decided it was better not to even respond, lest he give anything away. Setting the gun back into the box and placing it on the table, he scooted closer to Magnus and brought a hand up to caress his face. “I love you too, by the way.” He murmured, voice low and sweet as he leaned in and pressed a kiss to Magnus’s lips. His mouth tasted like fresh baked pastry and the slightest hint of scotch, and it made Alec pull him closer, heat flaring in his stomach. Magnus kissed him back for a moment before pulling away enough to whisper against his lips with a smile.

“Okay, okay, down, boy. This food isn’t half as good reheated.” Alec pulled back with a frown, his eyes still looking over Magnus, hungry and dark. He licked his lips and huffed out a sigh.

“Later?” He asked hopefully, arching a brow at Magnus, who smirked and nodded.


They both dug into the food, talking casually about the events of their days. Alec told Magnus about Jace’s latest failed attempt at wooing Clary, something involving a trip to the petting zoo and ducks that had him laughing so hard he could barely speak. He hadn’t even known fear of ducks was a real thing.

They fed each other bites of dessert and Magnus sipped a glass of scotch with a smirk as he talked about something that Alec wasn’t quite paying attention to, far too busy watching the way his boyfriend’s cheekbones caught the soft light of the loft, the way his eyes lit up as he spoke and gestured animatedly with his hands.

As the night went on, Magnus caught Alec staring at him a few times, hazel eyes sparkling with something that had his chest tightening with emotion. He had never met a man quite like his Alexander. And he was terrified of losing him.

“Alright. I can’t wait any longer.” Alec spoke suddenly, breaking the comfortable silence they had fallen into. He set down his martini and reached into the inside pocket of his suit jacket as Magnus finished the last bite of his pasta and took a sip of his scotch as he turned his full attention to Alec.

Just in time to watch him pull out a small velvet box.

Eyes widening, Magnus sucked in a too big gulp of his drink and choked. He coughed, setting the glass down and hammering his chest with a fist. Alec looked alarmed, reaching a hand out, the box momentarily forgotten.

“Magnus, are you okay?” Magnus struggled to nod, still coughing too much to speak. His wide eyed gaze was still fixed on the box in Alec’s free hand. Alec followed his line of sight and realization hit him.

“Oh my god, Magnus, wait no. I’m not proposing, I swear!”  He set the box down and held his hands up in a kind of surrender. Magnus coughed a few more times and tried to regain his composure.

“You aren’t?” He asked, voice raspy.

Alec shook his head. “No. Not….that I don’t want to. Just...not now. If that's okay?” Alec looked unsure, his voice small. Magnus nodded, not trusting his voice when he saw the hopeful look in his boyfriend’s eyes. He was correct, it was far too early to be thinking about things like that but something about Alec already had Magnus sure it wasn’t an unlikely future. He lay a hand on top of one of Alec’s and smiled.

“Of course that’s okay. But then, what is in the box?”

Alec’s grin returned and he grabbed it off the table, holding it out to Magnus. “Go ahead and find out.”

Magnus plucked it from his boyfriend’s hand and flipped it open. Inside lay a thick silver band, beveled at the edges. Magnus ran a finger over it, feeling the smooth, cold and polished surface  of the tungsten. He pulled it from the box and smiled, noticing the engraving on the inside. He looked up at Alec as he slipped it onto his right hand ring finger. “You’re not going anywhere?” He didn’t mean for the question to come out so vulnerable but his voice cracked nonetheless. Alec rubbed a thumb over Magnus’s cheek, reaching for his right hand and smoothing his fingers over the ring. “I’m not going anywhere. I know it’s silly, a promise ring is really outdated but...I wanted you to always have that reminder.”

Magnus couldn’t help but think back to all of his past relationships, short and long term, and how he had never felt this way with any of them. Constantly he’d felt expendable, a mere dalliance for most or an exotic new experience for others. They’d always left him in the end, for one reason or another.

Alec was different. Magnus had realized that by their second date, when he’d been called some fairly vulgar slurs as they’d made their way home from the restaurant. Alec, unlike any of Magnus’ previous significant others, had defended him immediately, going so far as to threaten very detailed bodily harm to the men on the street until Magnus had managed to calm him down and move them on their way.

I’m not going anywhere. The thought had Magnus hands trembling ever so slightly and the intense way Alec looked at him, his earnest gaze making Magnus feel like he was the only thing that mattered, had tears beginning to sting at the edges of his eyes. Alec’s thumb smoothed over his cheek again, bringing Magnus out of his thoughts. When he spoke, the words trembled.

“Thank you.”

Alec shook his head ever so slightly. “You never have to thank me for being here. There is nothing I want more than to be with you, Magnus.”

I’m going to marry this man one day.

Magnus leaned his head into Alec’s hand and smiled. “You never cease to amaze me, Alexander.”

Alec responded with a mischievous smirk that had Magnus remembering his earlier promise.

“And I’m not about to stop. Come here.” He growled playfully and suddenly, yet gracefully, yanked Magnus on top of him, allowing them both to tumble back onto the couch. Magnus yelped, a sound he’d later deny making at all, but was quickly silenced by Alec’s mouth slotting against his.

He could definitely get used to this.

Chapter Text

“He hung up on me. The moment I brought Magnus up, he hung up on me. Does that say innocent to you?” Alec tossed his phone off to the side, a bitter sneer on his face. It hit the couch with a dull thud, Alec quickly following, flopping down and tucking his hands behind his head. He stared up at the ceiling, silent for a moment. “I heard his voice, Raphael.” Alec turned his head, looking at Raphael, who gazed back, an unreadable expression on his face. Alec swallowed and looked back at the ceiling, examining the smooth white expanse with a slight frown. “I heard his voice. Why is Ragnor hiding with him? Why does he refuse to even tell me if Magnus is safe or not, if he was right there ?”

“I honestly couldn’t say. Every time I have spoken to Ragnor over the past year and a half, he’s seemed his normal impatient and irritable self. Then again, I didn’t notice that the man who was more or less my father was a contract killer for who knows how long. For a lawyer, my observation skills are pretty lacking.”

“You aren’t special. Luke has known me for almost four years and is dating my mother. He is a detective and yet?” Alec gestured to himself with a wry grin. “Not in prison.”

“Magnus didn’t notice you ran the mob, you didn’t notice he was a hitman, and yet you both were like, literally sleeping together. And figuratively. I’d say that out of everyone, that makes you two the most clueless.” Simon chimed in, looking proud of himself for contributing. Raphael’s face scrunched up, obviously uncomfortable with that imagery, and Alec glared, a slight flush staining his cheeks. Simon didn’t seem to notice and continued.

“I mean seriously, how did you explain all the bloody clothes or like, the scars and the injuries? Wasn’t there that one time two years ago that Izzy was telling me about where that you got shot in the ass-

“You remember who writes your checks, right, Lewis?” Alec asked tightly, trying to ignore the amused look on Raphael’s face as his blush worsened with embarrassment. Simon clamped his jaw shut and nodded fervently, looking alarmed. Raphael snorted quietly, entertained by how easily Alec could shut his fiance up. Not an easy task.

“Anyway...the point is that Ragnor knows something and isn’t telling us. And at this point, I don’t know who to trust. Camille was far too cooperative. Robert was too. And I haven’t heard anything about Jonathan. Something bigger has to be going on and it seems like the only one that has all the answers is Magnus.” Alec sat up, reaching for a pad and pen that was on the small glass coffee table. As he scribbled on it, Raphael took a moment to look around, taking in his surroundings.

The apartment was small, a one bedroom from what he could tell. The decoration was pretty much nonexistent, with everything either white or black and absolutely no personal effects to be seen, other than Alec’s combat boots and dress shoes by the door. There were no photos or paintings, the white walls shockingly bare and making the room look much larger than it actually was. Raphael noted that the blinds were closed and the couch held no cushions or blankets. In truth, it looked like nobody lived here at all. There wasn’t even a television.

“So this is one of your safe houses?” Raphael asked, trying to make conversation. Alec stopped writing and looked up like a deer caught in the headlights, his nose wrinkling.

“No…” He dragged the word out slowly, eyes shifting between Raphael and the floor. “This is my apartment, actually.”

Both Simon and Raphael shared a surprised look. Simon spoke first. “Really? This place looks like a-”

“I know.” Alec cut him off abruptly, sounding irritated. Simon’s eyebrows shot up but he fell quiet nonetheless. Alec inhaled deeply, taking a moment and closing his eyes. “Sorry. It’s just..I know. And I get enough shit from Izzy. Uh, Magnus...he was the decorative one. I...don’t do that.” Alec mumbled, trailing off lamely. Raphael and Simon both took this as a cue to not pursue the subject and the room fell into a tense quiet.

In the silence, Simon finally took a moment and noticed just how exhausted his boss looked. His hair, usually tamed to some extent, fell limply onto his forehead. It looked greasy and unwashed, like he hadn’t showered or at the very least, washed it in a few days. His shirt was rumpled and he had dark circles under his eyes, signaling to Simon he wasn’t getting as much sleep as he insisted he had been. His typical commanding presence fell a little flat, broad shoulders hunched in on themselves. He almost looked as bad as when Simon had first met him, in the first few weeks after losing Magnus.

“Camille said something earlier that made me think. When she brought up Morgenstern being Magnus’ last job, she said that Magnus ‘missed .’ Yet, Robert insisted that Magnus didn’t do the jobs himself, he just arranged them. So either Jonathan was special, or Magnus took on a lot more of his job then he told people he did. I suppose it could be both but if so, what made Jonathan so important that Magnus decided to do the murder himself?”

Raphael tensed. Morgenstern . The last name rattled him to the core and he felt his skin start to itch, pinpricks of phantom pain dancing over the unfriendly reminders of his past that were forever engraved onto his chest. He kept his eyes focused down on his lap, anxiously picking at a thread in his slacks as he felt Simon’s heavy gaze on him. Across from him on the other couch, Alec tapped the pen repeatedly, his face taught with concentration.

“Simon, any ideas?” Alec asked suddenly, startling the younger man into looking away from Raphael, head whipping toward his superior.

“Uh, what? No. No ideas here, boss.” He glanced toward Raphael out of the corner of his eye and internally cursed himself as he watched Alec’s eyes narrow and look between them. Alec zeroed in on Raphael’s suddenly uncomfortable posture, Simon’s uncharacteristic quietness and he drummed his fingers on the coffee table.

“What aren’t you two telling me?”

Raphael remained silent and Simon moved closer to him, placing a hand on his back, lightly as if he was scared he might startle the other man. Raphael looked over at him and something passed between them, a look that Alec couldn’t decipher. After a moment, Raphael nodded minutely and Simon looked back at his boss.

“Jonathan Morgenstern used to go by Sebastian Verlac, didn’t he?” He asked. Alec gave a half shrug.

“It was one of his aliases, yes. So what?”

Simon smoothed his hand down Raphael’s back soothingly, rubbing over his tensed shoulder blades. The latino man kept his eyes fixed firmly on the floor, hands clasped together in his lap.

“You said Jonathan Morgenstern , just now. I hadn’t heard you say his last name yet, I didn’t realize that...that’s who we were talking about. I hadn’t seen photos.” Raphael’s voice was quiet, eerily calm. The vagueness of the other two’s responses was starting to get on Alec’s nerves, however.

“Can I get a clear answer here? Why did Magnus go after Jonathan himself? And what does his alias matter?”

“I knew him years ago as Sebastian Verlac. I didn’t realize that’s who Magnus went after. I didn’t put the pieces together until I heard his last name. I knew it sounded familiar, Magnus had mentioned it back then, that Sebastian wasn’t his real name. I suppose I blocked it all out. Didn’t want to think about it.” Raphael paused and Simon leaned closer, murmuring a question in his ear that Raphael responded to with a shake of his head. “Estoy bien, mi amor.”

Simon didn’t look convinced and stayed close, watching his fiance’s face. Raphael took a deep breath and straightened up, tugging his tie loose and over his head as he did so.

“Jonathan and I have a history. And not a pretty one.” He smiled humorously, standing up to remove his suit jacket. Silently, he began unbuttoning the top few buttons of his dress shirt as Alec watched him, brows knit together in confusion. With another deep breath, Raphael tugged down his collar, exposing his neck and some of his chest as well. Running over his collarbone, beginning just low enough to be hidden under a shirt and and continuing down until they disappeared beneath the fabric, were multiple long pink scars. They were thin and shiny, the tissue long healed. From his viewpoint, Alec counted five before Raphael was yanking his collar back into place and buttoning up his shirt. He sat back down on the couch, avoiding Alec’s eyes.

“Sebastian is an ex. We met in law school, believe it or not. And he took it upon himself to teach me that the reason I was asexual was because I simply hadn’t met the right person yet.” Raphael’s voice was thick with emotion, the hatred clear on his face, as his lip twitched in disgust. He cleared his throat, unconsciously rubbing over the left side of his collarbone. “So there’s your motive. Magnus has always wanted that bastard dead and obviously, he took the chance when he got it. I imagine he wasn’t very clear minded. Hence why he probably missed his shot.”

“Rapha…” Simon reached out for his fiance’s hand and hesitantly squeezed. Raphael leaned into his side, bumping their shoulder together and giving him a half hearted smile. “I’m alright, mi amor.”

“So, you’re telling me that I need to find Magnus and not only kill Jonathan but torture him slowly until he begs for death?” Alec cut in, voice almost bored. Raphael could see the emotion and worry in his eyes no matter how the man pretended to not be affected and gave the man a small appreciative smile in response. Alec straightened up, tossing his pen down. “Simon. I need you to call Jace, Izzy, and Clary. Hell, get Underhill too. Andrew will love this. He has been itching for a field mission that’s more than politics.” Alec stood up from the couch and ran a hand through his hair to push it off his forehead, a disgusted expression appearing on his face. “I need a shower. And I need Catarina. If anyone can get through to Ragnor, it’s her. Unless she is in on it, which in that case, we might be screwed. That woman is harder to crack than a goddamn bank vault. I’d know. God, that fucking job took hours.” Alec shook his head, catching himself before he got too off track. Simon looked incredibly intrigued and about to ask questions, so Alec quickly cut him off. “I also want Raphael and you to stay here. I’ll have someone keep an eye on your apartment and if you need anything, I’ll get you an escort to go get it. But whoever was following you today ducked out before Jace could get a hold of them. I’m not taking any risks, especially now knowing Raphael’s history with Jonathan.”

Simon paled. “Jace was there? I didn’t see him.”

Alec smirked. “He wasn’t paying attention to you two, if that’s what has you worried. Your little Marvel move worked pretty well. Congrats on escaping his incessant teasing. You’re lucky. And besides, who the hell notices another cocky blond white guy at a courthouse?” Raphael laughed, a deep chuckle that reminded Alec far too much of Magnus, despite the non blood relation. He rolled his eyes and turned to head toward the bathroom. He turned around before he left the room and saw Simon just sitting there, not moving.

“Lewis?” Alec asked, eyebrows raised.

Simon’s head jerked upward.

“Get a move on. We have people to kill.” Alec commanded, waving his hand before he promptly left the room. Once Raphael had stopped snickering, he shook his head and looked at his fiance.

“Does he not remember I’m a lawyer?”

Simon, who had pulled out his phone and was typing rapidly, looked up again with a wide grin. “We’re long past that, Rapha. Welcome to the mob.”

Raphael groaned.




“So...why are we here again?” Clary asked, looking around at everyone else in the room. Isabelle, Jace, Underhill, Simon, and a man she didn’t recognize all sat in one of the large meeting rooms at the company headquarters. Isabelle was painting her nails a deep red color, looking calm and collected as usual. Jace was playing a game on his phone, frowning everytime he lost. Which seemed to be often. Underhill was quietly chatting on the phone with who Clary assumed was his husband, judging by the affectionate smile on the man’s face. And Simon was sitting at the far end of the table, going over some file with the man she didn’t know.

“Alec wanted to speak with us. I assume it’s about Magnus. Hopefully something good.” Izzy responded, not looking up from painting her pinky. Almost as soon as she had finished speaking, the meeting room door opened and Alec walked in, followed by an unexpected guest.

“Mom?” Jace asked, causing Isabelle to look up and accidentally knock over her nail polish bottle. Alec gave her a disappointed stare as the red paint seeped out of the bottle onto the finished wood of the meeting table. “Seriously, Iz? You see our budget. This was not cheap.” He tapped the tabletop and frowned.

She waved him off. “Mom, what are you doing here? You don’t do this stuff anymore.”

Maryse Lightwood took a seat next to Simon, across from Isabelle and smiled at her daughter. She wore a soft red sweater and her hair was loose on her shoulders, dark and flowing much like Isabelle’s own. Her makeup was minimal and her shoulders relaxed, a far cry from the uptight and stern figure she used to be. Isabelle couldn’t help but smile back, still not used to the happier version of the mother she had growing up.

“Alec asked for my help. I might not be a ‘mobster’ anymore,” Her voice was teasing and she tossed a look at Simon, who looked embarrassed. “But I still know a few things.”

“Alright, guys. Listen up. From what Simon and I have figured out, Jonathan Morgenstern is the reason for Magnus’s disappearance. Long story short, my boyfriend is a contract killer and unfortunately, he tried to kill Jonathan and failed. We can assume Jonathan and possibly Valentine found out and threatened him, hence his immediate disappearance.”

“I’m sorry, Magnus was a what?” Jace squawked, dropping his phone into his lap. “Dude refused to kill a fucking spider on more than one occasion. And you’re telling me he was a hired gun?”

Isabelle grinned and shook her head. “I always told you guys Magnus was a badass. I’m not surprised.”

“How did you not know, Alec? You literally were in the guy’s pants 24/7-” Jace rolled his eyes and Alec cut him off with a sharp slam of his hand on the table.

“Anyway. Camille Belcourt is the one giving this intel. Most of you know she isn’t trustworthy so we have to assume she has an ulterior motive for helping. She says she wants protection. I think she is working with Jonathan. The task is to gather as much information as possibly on the Morgenstern’s to better prepare a plan to take them down and get Magnus back. Under no circumstances do you approach them if you see them, I’m talking to you Jace,” Alec sent his brother a look, who scoffed and mocked him under his breath. Alec ignored him and continued. “And under no circumstances do you contact anyone outside of this room about this without my explicit permission. You find leads, you do not follow them. Mom is doing her best to keep the police off our case with this. I’ve been sloppy, I’ll admit. Thankfully, she’s got a bit of influence in the precinct.” Alec gave her a knowing smirk and she ducked her head a little. Jace raised his hand and Alec answered without looking up from the files he was doling out to the others. “What, Jace?”

“What about Magnus? Do we know he is even...okay?” Jace asked, tentatively. Alec simply nodded.

“I have good reason to believe so. And I will be working on finding him with Simon and Raphael.”

“Raphael? Magnus’s Raphael?” Izzy asked, assuming this was the Latino man sitting next to Simon that she didn’t recognize. She had never met the man, only heard about him from Alec and the files they had on Magnus’s friends and family.

“Everyone, this is Raphael Santiago. Simon’s boyfriend and a dear friend of Magnus’s.”

“Fiance.” Simon corrected, without even realizing who he was speaking to. When the word slipped out, he clapped a hand over his mouth.

Alec fell silent, his mood instantly changing. Simon silently cursed himself, remembering how Raphael had mentioned the ring box he had seen at Magnus’s loft. Alec remained quiet, swallowing repeatedly. He seemed to process the information, taking a deep breath and giving them an uneasy smile. “Fiance. Congratulations, you two.”

Raphael made a note to himself to speak with Alec later.

“Wait a fucking minute, Santiago? The Raphael Santiago? As in, Criminal Defense Attorney Raphael Santiago?” Jace cut in, sitting up and instantly on the offensive. “Alec, what the hell are you thinking? Have you forgotten what you do for a living?”

“I didn’t know Simon was dating an attorney when I hired him. I also didn’t think that said attorney was the very same one who Magnus raised from age 10. Call it an unfortunate coincidence. Either way, he isn’t going to turn us all in. He would be guilty by association.”

“Actually, at this point, it would be aiding and abetting. I have, after all, given you confidential court information and assisted you in tracking a missing man illegally.” Raphael corrected with a matter of fact tone. Everyone turned to stare at him and he shrugged. “In short, what I’m trying to say is that turning you all in would gain me nothing but extra years in prison.”

Jace sat back but continued to stare Raphael down with an irritated look of suspicion. Simon, much to the shock of those watching the exchange, shot him a murderous glare and pulled Raphael’s chair closer until their legs bumped together. Alec raised an eyebrow at the show of aggression and couldn’t help the bit of pride blooming in his chest. He also tossed Jace a look that said ‘back off’ , which earned him an inappropriate finger gesture, and began to outline their plan on the computerized screen behind him.

“Andrew, as usual, you will take over surveillance and security. If there is a single camera that has seen Valentine or Jonathan, I want to know about it. Clary, I know you’re close to this. Are you comfortable working this job?” He looked up from the tablet in his hand and waited for her response.

She nodded, a firm and defiant look on her face. “Both of them deserve everything we can inflict on them.”

Alec looked back down at his tablet. “Good. I want you to work with Jace, if you two can behave , and find out what Valentine has been up to lately. Oh, Andrew, assign an extra protection detail to my mother and Max. Stay subtle. We don’t want to alert Detective Garroway.” Underhill nodded and Maryse looked as if she was going to argue when Alec gave her a stern look she recognized immediately. After all, it was one she had used on him more than one during his childhood. Instead of arguing, she smiled and raised her hands in surrender, watching a grin spread on his face. The momentary carefree expression had her thinking back to the wild, often mud covered son she had tried so hard to tame into submission. What a fool she’d been.

“And me?” Isabelle arched a perfectly sculpted brow at her brother, crossing her arms. “Don’t you dare try and leave me out of this.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it, Iz. I need you to look into connections of Valentine’s and Jonathan’s that have died. If you find anything important, I want bodies exhumed and examined. Assume all coroner’s reports were foraged or manipulated. Simon, have you gotten a hold of Catarina?”

He nodded, looking up from his quiet conversation with Raphael. “She agreed to meet us at the cafe down the street around 1.” Alec glanced at his watch. 12:30pm.

“Alright, dismissed. Mom, stay in touch but be careful?” Alec asked. Maryse stood and walked over to him as everyone else filed out of the room. She pulled him into a hug.

“Of course. I’m so proud of you, Alec.”

He hugged her back, a crooked smile on his face.

“Thanks, mom.”

Maryse pulled away and smiled, straightening his tie. She turned to leave and as she passed Simon, she stopped and patted his cheek. “Be good. Take care of my Alec until Magnus finally gets his ass back here. And congratulations, you two. I expect an invitation.” She raised a questioning eyebrow at Simon, who stammered.

“O-of course, Ms. Lightwood.”

“Maryse, darling. You’ve seen me shoot people. We are past titles by now.” She grinned and left the room. Simon gaped after her. Raphael furrowed his brow.

“You’ve seen her shoot people?”

“I wouldn’t worry about that, Raphael. Simon has seen a lot worse. If he needs therapy, I’ll cover it.” Alec piped up from the other side of the room, where he was fiddling with the tablet and examining some information on the screen. Raphael’s concern only became more apparent on his face and Simon laughed nervously.

“O-kay. Let’s head out, yeah? Meet you at the cafe, Alec!” He grabbed Raphael’s hand and pulled him from the meeting room as quickly as he could.

“You have some explaining to do, Mr. ‘ I’m only an assistant .’” Raphael gave his fiance a pointed look and the man shrugged, offering a sheepish smile.

“I plead the fifth?”

The attorney squinted at Simon, shaking his head and muttering under his breath. “Idiota.” He began walking faster, causing Simon to half jog to keep up. “Let’s go.”

Chapter Text


2 years and 10 months ago


Alec stood outside the door to Magnus' loft, nervously shifting from foot to foot and debating knocking. He was early by almost a half hour, despite changing his outfit three separate times and running into a huge amount of traffic on his way to Brooklyn. He had known it wasn’t the best idea to leave almost an hour early when it typically took him only ten minutes to get there but he couldn’t possibly risk being late. This was only the 8th date they’d had, at least officially. Alec couldn’t remember the last day he had gone without talking to Magnus over the last 2 months and it made his stomach twist to even think about messing up at this point. He rubbed his hands together and reached up to finally knock when the door swung open.

Magnus stood there, a small smirk on his face. His normal range of jewelry was absent, only a few rings decorating his fingers and no necklaces dangling down his chest. His makeup was as flawless as usual, the dark kohl eyeliner and gold glitter framing his brown eyes in a way that had Alec’s stomach flipping. He was dressed in tight maroon dress pants and a black dress shirt with a sheer front panel, detailed with black roses. Alec gulped, mouth going dry, and forced his eyes back up to Magnus' face, who was now full on grinning.

“I could feel the tension emanating from behind the door. Figured I would spare you the pain of having to knock.” Magnus' eyes sparkled playfully as he gestured Alec inside. He walked over to his drink cart and began to mix something to help calm Alec’s nerves, a blended cocktail that he had taken a liking to after Magnus had made him one on their second date.

“I’m that bad, huh?” Alec asked, rubbing the back of his neck as he stood awkwardly in the middle of the room. He couldn’t stop raking his eyes over Magnus' form, lingering on his backside a few times more than he’d care to admit. Magnus' clothing was always a perfect fit. Too perfect for Alec’s sanity sometimes.

It wasn’t that Alec had never seen Magnus look this good before. In fact, the man always seemed to look this good, from his perfectly spiked hair to his expensive polished shoes. But over the past two months they’d been together, Alec had been increasingly aware of how long it’d been since he’d had a relationship, or any intimacy with someone for that matter. In his line of work, it wasn’t easy to go on a date, especially not for someone like Alec who was buried up to his ears in politics and blood more often than not and one night stands were completely out of the question. He couldn’t afford to let his guard down just to get laid, despite Jace’s insistence as to how easy it was.

So yeah, it’d been a while.

Two years was a while.

And damnit, if Magnus wasn’t tempting at every chance he got.

“I actually saw you coming from the balcony. You had been standing out there for almost fifteen minutes and I couldn’t bare it any longer.” Magnus spun around gracefully, holding two glasses. He held one out for Alec and noticed his tense shoulders. “Alexander, are you quite alright?”

Alec took a sip of his cocktail and nodded. “Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine. What time is the reservation, again?” He quickly steered the conversation away but he knew Magnus well enough already that he wasn’t going to drop it. He could tell by the way his eyes narrowed slightly, examining Alec with scrutiny.

“In forty five minutes. I’ll just finish getting ready and then we can head out, yes?”

“You aren’t ready? I mean, you look wonderful. Perfect.” Alec tripped over his words and snapped his mouth shut with a click of his teeth. Magnus chuckled and took another sip of his drink before setting it down.

“Thank you, darling. I really only need to finish my hair, it should be quick.”

Alec gulped again and tucked his free hand into the pocket of his slacks. “I think it looks nice already. Not that I don’t like it when it’s all...spiky.” Alec winced at his poor wording but Magnus' smile only widened. “But it looks really soft and...pretty right now. I think you should leave it.”

“Well, aren’t you just a charmer tonight?” Magnus' voice was warm like honey as he practically slinked closer to Alec, leaving less than a foot of space between them. He reached up to straighten Alec’s tie, smoothing it down after a moment. He opened his mouth to say something when Alec held up a single finger to silence him. With a raised brow, Magnus waited patiently for him to speak, resting his palms flat against Alec’s chest and fiddling with his lapels. Instead of saying anything, however, Alec threw back the rest of his drink and set the glass down on the coffee table, almost knocking in over in his haste. When he straightened back up, he leaned in and kissed Magnus, the hunger that had been simmering under his skin suddenly bubbling and burning it’s way to the surface. Magnus inhaled sharply, his hands instantly tightening onto the lapels of Alec’s suit jacket. He kissed back, tasting the cloying alcohol left on Alec’s tongue and a quiet moan slipped out when the other man brought a hand up to cradle his head, hand sliding into his hair.

“Not that I object...but what brought this on?” Magnus panted against Alec’s mouth, his eyes sliding closed as his boyfriend gently caught his lower lip between his teeth, nipping it hard enough to make Magnus gasp, the sting of pain instantly soothed by Alec’s tongue.

“Those damn pants...and this shirt? Magnus, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were trying to kill me.” Alec’s voice was rough, dropped lower in pitch with desire and it made a shiver run down Magnus' spine.

“Alexander, we have a reservation- oh…” Alec’s hand tugged lightly at his hair and the heat pooled in Magnus' stomach flared up, his resolve chipping away fairly quickly.

“If you don’t have any complaints...I’d really like to cancel that reservation and take you to bed.” Alec pulled back, lips slick with spit and parted slightly, his dark eyes looking over Magnus like he wanted to devour him. His hand was still tangled in Magnus' hair, the other one firmly pressed against his lower back.

“That sounds...quite agreeable.” Magnus tried to sound dignified, even as his hands tightened in Alec’s jacket again, gripping the fabric in his fists as excitement thrummed beneath his skin. Alec licked his lips and kissed him again, tongue sliding past his teeth in desperation, any and all ideas of holding back thrown out the window the moment he had Magnus’ consent. The long fingers tangled in Magnus’ hair tightened and he stumbled slightly as Alec pressed him backwards, chasing his lips until his back hit one of the loft pillars with a soft thud. He trailed his hands down the front of Alec’s shirt as they kissed, expertly undoing each button and loosening the tie enough to push the shirt open, his hands immediately sliding underneath it to press to Alec’s overheated skin. The other man huffed out a shaky breath against Magnus' mouth and pulled back for air, their foreheads resting together.

“Bedroom? As much as I’d love to take you against this pillar, I was thinking something a little more comfortable for our...first time.” Alec’s confidence wilted ever so slightly, wondering if he was overthinking the importance and sentiment of the situation. Magnus’ heart ached at the sound of Alec’s voice and he danced his fingers along the man’s sculpted abs, aiming to comfort him.

“Have I mentioned how adorable you are?” He smiled before grabbing Alec by the tie and dragging him back to his mouth. “I’d like nothing more than for you to take me to bed, Alexander.” His voice was low, the pure lust dripping from the words making Alec kiss back with renewed fervor, his apprehension disappearing as Magnus dragged his nails across his skin. He pulled him away from the pillar and walked them back toward the bedroom, stumbling over his own feet and causing Magnus to giggle against his lips. Alec grinned as they both tumbled onto the large bed, Magnus landing on his back with a soft oof . Hurriedly, they both kicked off their shoes, giggling as the movement caused them to bump noses, both unwilling to pull their mouths away from one another.

“I’ve wanted this since I first saw you, I’m going to be honest. Something about those eyes…” Alec trailed off, looking at Magnus with an intensity that made him squirm, although not unhappily. As Alec leaned in to kiss along the long line of his boyfriend’s neck, mouth hot and wet, Magnus couldn’t help the soft laugh that escaped his mouth between the moans.

“My eyes, huh? The ass had nothing to do with it?”

Alec bit at the junction of his neck and shoulder playfully, feeling Magnus body jerk underneath him. He grinned against his skin, soothing his tongue over the bite. “Don’t get snarky with me, Bane.”

Magnus opened his mouth, probably to say something snarky Alec noted, and he took his chance to suck roughly on the man’s collarbone, pulling a groan from his lips instead.

“You are wearing far too much clothing.” Alec pulled away to focus on unbuttoning the sheer button up that had started all of this and quickly determined the process was too slow, instead opting to rip the shirt open. As soon as he did and caught sight of his dark, bare chest, Alec dropped his head back to stare at the ceiling, chest heaving. “Magnus...please... please tell me you do not have your nipples pierced.”

Magnus looked down at his own chest and back up at Alec, who still continued to stare at the ceiling. “Is that a problem?”

“Fuck, god, no, Magnus, that is the opposite of a problem. But I am fully convinced you were put into my life to kill me.” Alec finally looked at him, eyes blazing and Magnus took a chance to play with him, already knowing how weak Alec’s resolve was. He worried his bottom lip between his teeth, glancing up from beneath his eyelashes.

“Is that so, Lightwood? Am I succeeding?”

Alec made a noise close to a growl and ground his hips downward, pressing his ass to the uncomfortably tight crotch of Magnus' jeans. The man beneath him made a desperate noise, pushing his hips upward and tilting his head back against the pillows. Alec quickly stripped himself of his tie, jacket, and shirt and moved downward to drag his mouth along Magnus' chest, stopping to hover his mouth over one of his nipples. He looked up as he took it gently between his teeth, tugging softly. The taste of metal spread across his tongue as he sucked the piercing into his mouth. Magnus quaked beneath him, fingers scrabbling in the sheets.

“Fuck, Alexander...those are...v-very sensitive.” Magnus' voice trembled as his boyfriend moved his mouth over to the other nipple, his tongue laving over it before blowing cool air across it and watching it harden. He rolled the other one between his fingers, lightly flicking the barbell with a smug grin.

“Oh, you’re never going to leave those alone, are you?” Magnus whined, choking on a gasp when Alec yet again bit at one of his nipples.

Alec smiled against Magnus’ skin in response as he kissed down the man’s body, stopping to trace his six pack with his tongue. He kept his hands busy, smoothing over the soft exposed body beneath him with curious fingers, lightly scraping his nails across his sides to watch the muscles jump and tense. Curious, Alec bit down on one of the sharp hip bones that made up the V-shape of Magnus’ pelvis, something he had wanted to put his mouth on since he had caught sight of it the day Magnus had answered the door in a tank top just a bit too short for his torso.

“Fuck!” Magnus' hips jerked upward, confirming Alec’s suspicion that the man beneath him liked a little pain with his pleasure. He fixed his mouth over a spot in the dip of his waist and sucked, feeling Magnus shiver beneath him, hips twisting and shuddering as Alec continued to try and hickey the golden skin there.

“Alexander…” Magnus breathed out his name, drawing Alec’s eyes upward.

“Yes?” He murmured, teasing his fingers along the edge of those sinfully tight pants and arching an eyebrow. Magnus didn’t answer, only wiggled his hips impatiently. Alec huffed a laughed and turned back to what he was doing, wringing more desperate moans from Magnus’ lips. Satisfied when each hip bone had at least three dark marks on them, Alec shifted his attention to the tight front of his boyfriend’s jeans. He pulled the zipper down slowly, his mouth watering at the thought of what was behind the fabric. He flicked the button open in one fluid motion and smirked up at Magnus, who gazed at him through heavy lidded eyes, pupils blown wide and naked chest heaving.

His own impatience getting the best of him, Alec tugged Magnus' pants off unceremoniously, stroking his hands along the strong calves and thighs that were revealed with a soft look of reverence. Magnus, now propped up on his elbows, watched Alec closely as the man walked his fingers along the twitching muscles.

“Have I mentioned just how beautiful you are?” Alec murmured, sliding his hand just barely under the waistband of Magnus' expensive boxer briefs. Magnus' breath hitched in his chest, though he was unsure if Alec’s words or movement had caused it. His brain was swimming with endorphins, his skin too tight and the room too warm. He wanted more and he wanted it now. He wanted Alec.

“Have I mentioned how impatient I can be?” Magnus quipped back. He sat up, quick enough to catch Alec off guard, and grabbed the other man by the back of his neck, rolling them quickly to place himself on top. They narrowly avoided falling off the bed, but Magnus wasn’t sure he would have cared either way.

“It’s definitely a notable trait of yours.” Alec smirked, looking wrecked despite the fact that Magnus hadn’t even gotten his pants off yet. His face was flushed down to his neck, his hair a wild mess and his chest shining with a light sheen of sweat. Magnus couldn’t help the dangerous smile that curved on his lips as he slipped his torn shirt from his shoulders and tossed it aside.

“Oh, you have any idea what you have gotten yourself into?” Magnus' voice was like velvet, soft and soothing but Alec could see the mischief shining in his dark eyes. It only made Alec harder, his cock aching in his slacks.

“I don’t me?” Alec asked, purposefully lowering his voice and watching Magnus react to the rough edge in it. A shiver ran through his boyfriend’s body, his thighs tightening around Alec’s hips before he was pushed down onto the bed, a firm hand placed in the middle of his chest. Dark blue painted nails dug into his skin, fingers tangling in his chest hair. He closed his eyes, leaning his head back with a louder than intended moan slipping from his lips as Magnus' mouth latched onto his neck, sucking and biting as he pleased. The slight stinging told him he would have hickies for at least a few days but he couldn’t bring himself to care. The idea of Magnus leaving his mark for anyone to see had Alec’s already hard cock twitching with excitement.

Bringing his hands up to grip Magnus' hips, Alec pushed his own upward, insistent and needy. The hand on his chest shot down to his hip, pressing his pelvis firmly back into the mattress and preventing him from getting any friction.

“Now, now, Alexander...I think it’s my turn to do as I please, hmm?" The words were punctuated with a firm press to the uncomfortable bulge in his pants and he canted his hips up with a broken moan. Magnus hummed and turned his attention to Alec’s pants, making a show of unbuttoning the slacks, slowly lowering the zipper and pulling them off to toss aside. He heard them knock something over in the room and decided that was a problem for tomorrow’s Magnus.

He pressed his palm against the bulge of Alec’s cock again, relishing in the desperate noise it pulled from the man’s mouth.


It came out as more of a demand than a plea, making Magnus' cock pulse, a warm feeling building in his chest to meet the tight heat in his stomach. Of course Alec would know exactly how weak he was to that commanding tone.

Pulling the waistband of Alec’s briefs down, Magnus' mouth watered as his boyfriend’s cock sprang free.

“Fuck, Alexander...what part of you isn’t perfect?” Magnus questioned, watching the red flush of Alec’s cheeks darken. Magnus smiled, smug, and turned his attention back to the task at hand. He wrapped his hand around Alec’s hard cock, feeling the warmth radiating from it. Alec gasped and pushed his hips into Magnus' grip. The other man tightened his hand slightly and stroked, slowly, feeling the drag of skin against skin.

Alec reached down to wrap his hand around Magnus', guiding him to tighten his grip a little bit more. Magnus hummed in understanding and when the other man pulled away, he rubbed a thumb over the leaking slit of his cock, drawing another low groan from Alec.

Magnus swallowed, suddenly aware of the amount of saliva in his mouth. Watching Alec’s face, his eyes closed and eyebrows furrowed as he threw his head back on the silk pillows, Magnus leaned down and wrapped his lips around the head of his boyfriend’s cock, moaning at the taste of it spreading on his tongue. He sucked experimentally.

Alec keened, his hand finding the back of Magnus' head and tangling into the soft strands of his hair. The velvety heat of Magnus' mouth made him tighten his grip, tugging on the man’s hair and pulling a sinful moan from his throat which made Alec shudder. He pressed his hips upward, chasing the pleasure that had helpless moans falling from his lips with every warm stroke of his boyfriend’s tongue. The cool contrast of Magnus’ rings stroking along the length of Alec’s cock that wasn’t in his mouth made Alec dizzy, his cock throbbing from the dual sensations. He forced his eyes open, pulling himself up on one elbow to watch as Magnus hollowed out his cheeks and took the last few inches of Alec’s thick cock into his mouth, the tip of it sliding easily into his throat. The tight warmth and the vibrations from Magnus’ satisfied moaning punched a depraved noise from Alec’s throat.

“Fuck, Magnus!” He pressed his hips up as he kept firm pressure on the back of Magnus’ head, holding his cock in the man’s throat before he pulled back slightly, rolling his hips in shallow thrusts.

Magnus could feel drool dripping down his chin, knew he probably looked a mess with his smudged makeup and swollen lips, but the heady taste of Alec’s cock on his tongue and the revering look in his boyfriend’s eyes had him caring less with every thrust. He laved his tongue around the head, the salty taste of precum making him pull Alec’s cock deeper, aching for more. One hand trailed down to cup his balls, scratching his nails over them ever so slightly and relishing in the way Alec’s length twitched in his throat. The hand in his hair tightened and he could feel the way Alec’s muscles were straining to avoid fucking into his mouth without hesitation.

“Holy fuck…” Alec groaned, his voice fucked out and raspy.

Magnus made a contented noise, enjoying the heavy weight on his tongue, the taste of Alec’s skin and the ache developing in his jaw. He’d forgotten just how much he’d enjoyed this as he dug the nails of his other hand into Alec’s thigh, grinding his own hips down against the mattress mindlessly, needing some friction to take the edge off his own hard cock. He did it again and suddenly, Alec pulled him away,  growling and using his hair to yank his mouth off of his cock and leaving Magnus gasping.

Alec’s other hand shot down to firmly grip the base of his cock, sucking in a deep breath as he stared at Magnus. The other man sat back and looked at him, lips swollen and slick, eyes wide and pupils blown with want. Alec wanted to devour him and press him into the mattress until he was an incoherent mess.

“Sorry...but your face was...fuck. I don’t want it over that quick.” Alec was panting softly, sweat now noticeably dripping down his chest. “I really want to watch you fall apart first.” Alec reached out and pulled Magnus to him, pressing their lips together in an achingly hard kiss, swallowing down the whimper that escaped his boyfriend’s mouth as he pressed his thigh firmly against the neglected bulge in Magnus’ briefs. Alec rolled them over, pressing their sweat slicked bodies together into the mattress. Magnus shamelessly ground against Alec’s thigh, soft sounds of pleasure filling the air.

“Condom?” Alec rasped as he sucked another hickey onto Magnus’ neck, feeling his cock throb painfully as a thick thigh pressed firmly against it, the drag of skin rough and delicious.

Magnus barely registered the word, lost in the feeling of the solid body against his own, hips chasing friction. “ drawer...shit...”

Alec pulled away, smirking when Magnus whined. He quickly grabbed a condom and the bottle of lube and sat back on his knees between Magnus’ legs. Magnus had wiggled his way free of the last bit of clothing restricting him and was laying there, flushed and needy. The head of his cock leaked against the hard plane of his stomach, leaving a glistening spot of precum that had Alec’s mouth running dry. He wrapped a hand around it and stroked, once, twice, watching Magnus back arch with every movement.

“Alexander, please…” The soft beg slipped from his lips as Alec let go of his cock and moved closer, reaching up to cup his face. He rubbed a thumb gently along Magnus’ cheekbone and smiled.

“What do you want, Magnus?”

“You...fuck, Alexander, I just want you. Please.” His voice was barely above a whisper, making heat lick up Alec’s body, dick pulsing with need between his legs.

Alec licked his lips and popped the cap open on the bottle of lubricant, as he pressed Magnus’ legs open with a broad hand on one thigh. They fell apart easily, spreading wide for Alec, who’s heated stare had Magnus pinned in place against the bed. Alec exhaled and poured some of the lube on his fingers before tossing the bottle aside, barely hearing it hit the floor with a thud. Gently, he stroked one finger over Magnus’ hole, coating it thoroughly before pressing his finger in slightly. Magnus squirmed, a depraved noise catching in his throat. Alec soothed him with a soft stroke along his thigh, murmuring as he teased around the rim before sinking his finger in a bit further, going slower than was probably necessary judging by Magnus’ irritated whine. Alec chuckled, pressing a kiss to Magnus’ knee.

“Alexander, I’m not-ah!” Alec had found the spot he was looking for and stroked the pad of his finger along it, making Magnus jolt and cry out, his hips shuddering as Alec did it again.

“Not what?” Alec mumbled, slowly moving his finger in and out, teasing Magnus by occasionally pressing against his prostate. His fists were twisting in the sheets beside him, head thrown back, his neck stretched and exposing his adam’s apple, which bobbed with every gulp of breath he swallowed.

“Not a virgin . You can go faster.” Magnus grumbled, though there was no heat behind it. Alec rolled his eyes and pressed a second finger in, suddenly enough to punch a loud moan from Magnus’ throat.


Alec stroked his thumb around the flared rim, curling his fingers just right to pull delicious keening noises from Magnus’ throat, watching with dark eyes as the man writhed beneath him.

“Maybe I’m just enjoying myself too much to rush this…”Alec responded, scraping his nails up Magnus’ thigh and wrapping long fingers around his cock, which pulsed hotly in his hand. He traced around the crown of it, watching as it jerked and blurted precum as he slid his fingers across Magnus’ prostate again. He licked his lips at the sight and leaned in, trailing kisses along his boyfriend’s inner thighs, slow and deliberate, murmuring encouraging endearments against Magnus’ sweat slick skin as he went.

“God, you’re so good for me, Magnus…”

The two fingers he had pressed inside his boyfriend slid in and out easily at this point, the attention he’d been paying to Magnus’ cock causing him to relax even more beneath Alec’s hands, too distracted by pleasure to be tense.

“Do you want three?” Alec asked, curling his fingers just slightly enough to stroke across Magnus’s prostate again, a feather light touch that had the man beneath him practically sobbing, rocking his hips forward on Alec’s fingers. Alec stroked again, a little firmer, and watched as another small stream of precum dripped down the length of Magnus’ hard cock. The obscene sight was enough to make Alec’s mouth run dry and he leaned down, dragging his tongue along the purpling head of his boyfriend’s cock and gathering the rest of the precum glistening from the tip into his mouth.

“Fuck! A-Alec...please...please, fuck, I need you. I’m ready, just please…” The sound of Magnus’ desperate, breathy pleas broke the last of Alec’s resolve and he pulled his fingers out, moving to quickly rip open the condom and roll it onto himself. He looked around for the lube, immediately cursing himself for tossing it aside and leaning over the bedside to snag it off the floor when he spotted it. Sitting back up, he smeared some over Magnus’ clenching hole and set it aside, leaving the bottle close this time. He positioned himself between his boyfriend’s legs, large hands splayed wide and firmly gripping his thighs, holding them in the air. Magnus’ breath hitched at the feeling of the blunt head of Alec’s cock pressing against his entrance as the man shifted his hips forward. His hands came up to clutch at Alec’s back, nails digging into his shoulder blades as Alec continued to press forward, firm and slow, breath stuttering at the feeling of the tight heat of Magnus’ hole engulfing his cock.

“Fuck, Magnus, you feel…” His hips stuttered forward of their own accord when he felt the head of his cock push past the ring of muscle and Magnus cried out, throwing his head back and whining, high and obscene.

“Ah! Fuck, Alec!”

“Shh, it’s okay...I’ve got you.” Alec murmured softly, lowering himself down until they were pressed chest to chest again. He pressed a wet kiss to Magnus’ mouth as he slowly pushed further inside him, groaning as the slick heat continued to envelop him. Magnus bit down hard on his bottom lip, eyes scrunched shut and soft whimpers escaping his mouth with every movement Alec made. Alec didn’t think he had ever seen a sight more magnificent than this, the flushed and debauched man that was Magnus Bane, writhing beneath him, eyeliner smudged and sweat making his skin shine. His usual careful facade was nowhere to be seen, replaced with soft gasps and delicious noises that had Alec nipping at his plump bottom lip, hoping to draw out more.

When Alec finally bottomed out, hips pressed flush to Magnus’ ass, he shuddered and held still, not trusting his own stamina. Magnus squirmed and Alec, who was hunched over on his elbows, face buried in Magnus’ neck, cursed.

“Shit, shit, wait…” He choked out, one hand tightening in Magnus’ hair, which only led to the man clenching down around him and whining again. Alec squeezed his eyes shut and took a few deep breaths before he slowly drew back out and pushed back in, a sharp sob tearing it’s way out of Magnus’ throat. He did it again, sucking a dark hickey into the junction of Magnus’ neck as the man’s hands scrabbled at his back, sharp nails dragging lines of stinging pain down his skin.

“Holy shit, you’re big...”

Alec would have laughed, or blushed, but instead he rolled his hips forward, speeding up and milking quiet ah ah ah noises from Magnus’ lips.

Alec could tell quite quickly that neither of them was going to last much longer. With every hard thrust, Magnus’ moans got louder, higher and more desperate in pitch and Alec sat back, his hands coming down to grip Magnus’ hips hard enough to likely leave bruises. He hitched Magnus up a little higher, the change in angle letting him slide just that much deeper.

“Ah, ah, ah, f-fuck!” Magnus cried out, face tight with pleasure as Alec slammed into his prostate directly, the feeling overwhelming him and tipping toward just this side of too much . He could feel his stomach tightening, muscles tensing as the tension in him threatened to snap. Alec seemed to sense he was close and reached down between them, wrapping a hand around Magnus’ neglected cock, stroking it in time with his thrusts.

“Oh, god, Alec...fuck...fuck, gonna…” Magnus trailed off as Alec sealed his lips over his in a hard kiss, tongue tangling against his own and teeth clashing with his lips.

“Go on, bebé. Come for me…”Alec encouraged against his lips, his voice completely shot. His thrusts sped up, the loud sounds of skin slapping together filling the room as he chased his own pleasure, feeling Magnus tensing around him.

“Yes, yes, please, oh fu-” Each thrust had Magnus begging incoherently for more, the pressure building in his stomach as Alec twisted his hand over the sensitive head of his cock. He snapped, gasping as his balls tightened suddenly when Alec thumbed over the slit of his cock, hot spurts of pearly white cum coating both of their chests as his hips jerked and he cried out wordlessly. Alec growled, the erratic clenching and unclenching of Magnus’ hole pushing him over the edge. He buried himself deep to the hilt in Magnus as his cock throbbed and pulsed, cumming with a low groan into his boyfriend’s neck.

Neither moved for a moment as the leftover waves of pleasure rolled through their bodies. Alec barely managed to hold himself up, not wanting to crush Magnus beneath his dead weight. He busied himself with pressing open mouthed kisses over the roughed up and dark splotches on Magnus’ neck, soothing the sensitive bruises with gentle lips. After a moment, he pulled out as he felt his cock began to soften, removing the condom and tossing it into the bedside trash can quickly. He turned back to Magnus, hovering over him and cupping his face with one hand as he watched the man’s glazed eyes slowly focus again, the tension bleeding from his body and leaving him limp and relaxed. He smiled, lazy and satiated. Alec pressed a soft kiss to his lover’s swollen lips before rolling off him and grabbing one of their discarded articles of clothing to clean the leftover cum and sweat from their bodies. Pulling back the red silk sheets, Alec climbed underneath them and pulled Magnus to his chest. The man came willingly, curling around him and resting his head on Alec’s shoulder. Magnus played with his chest hair, tracing slow and complex patterns along his skin. Alec huffed contentedly, rolling his head back against the pillow to stretch the leftover tension from his neck. Magnus tilted his head up to gaze at him, eyes sparkling as they met Alec’s. His makeup was ruined, black kohl smeared gracelessly around his eyes and creasing in the corners. His blonde streaked bangs fell onto his forehead, sticking to the sweat there despite Magnus’ attempts to push them up and out of the way. Purple-red marks decorated his dark skin, his neck and collarbone covered in various sizes from Alec’s overly eager mouth and somewhere in Alec’s endorphin filled brain, an unfamiliar feeling overwhelmed him.

Mine .

“I love you.” The words tumbled from his lips before he could stop them, disarmed by the softness of Magnus’ expression and the sudden realization he’d just come to that he couldn’t lose this man. Before he could begin to panic, Magnus leaned in and kissed him. There was no heat behind it, just a soft and chaste press of dry lips that made both men sigh.

“I love you too.” Magnus mumbled, shutting his eyes and laying his head back down on Alec’s chest. Warmth blooming in his chest, Alec settled into the bed, eyes slipping shut as he carded a hand through Magnus’ hair.

Just before he slipped off to sleep, a thought struck him. “We cancelled the reservation, right?”

Magnus’ soft snoring was his only answer.

Chapter Text

“Catarina Loss? I’m Simon, we spoke on the phone.” Simon grinned as he approached the dark skinned woman, who had been sitting tucked away in a booth at the back of the cafe they’d agreed to meet at. She still wore her blue nurse scrubs and she was sipping what looked to be straight black coffee. As he approached, she eyed him appraisingly.

Simon stopped in front of the booth and held his hand out in greeting, which she shook with a firm grip. Her eyes scrutinized him for a moment longer before turning to Raphael.

“So, this is the one that caught your eye, Raph?” Her lips twitched in amusement, looking over Simon in his Star Wars t-shirt and jeans. He cast a nervous glance at his fiance, suddenly aware of the fact that he hadn’t even combed his hair this morning, but Raphael didn’t look the slightest bit embarrassed of him.

“It’s nice to see you too, Cat. Hospital life treating you well?” Raphael asked coolly, tugging on Simon’s hand and pulling them both down into the other side of the booth. A waitress came up and Simon quietly ordered both their coffees.

“Same as usual. But let’s skip the chat. I haven’t seen or heard from you in months, Raphael. And now your boyfriend, who I have never met, calls me up out of the blue and says we need to talk. What’s going on?” Catarina’s smile was thin, her eyes searching both mens faces.

“Catarina.” Alec’s voice cut in before Simon or Raphael could respond, causing everyone at the table to look up. He strode up to the booth they were in, hands tucked into his pockets and face schooled in a blank expression. She looked taken aback for a moment, her mouth open and eyes wide with shock before her expression softened.

“Oh, god, you look awful.” She scooted over in the booth and patted the space next to her, holding her arms out to hug him. Alec gave a half hearted smile and dropped down next to her, accepting her embrace.

“Thanks, Cat. I always need someone to be brutally honest with me. Izzy is usually too nice about it.” Alec ran a hand through his already disarranged hair, looking sheepish. “Though that’s not to say that I enjoy being told that.”

Catarina lay a hand on his shoulder, squeezing it in comfort. “’s been almost a year and a half since I’ve even heard from you. How...How are things?”

He debated answering for a moment, but seeing the pity and sympathy in her eyes just had him shaking his head. He wordlessly folded his arms on the table and rested his head down, giving her a sad smile.

“You know, if you wanted brutal honesty, you could have asked. You’ve looked like shit for weeks.” Raphael offered, expression bored. Alec peeked over his arm to stare.

“You’re lucky I like you, sometimes, Raphael.”

The waitress came over with Simon and Raphael’s drinks. She looked at Alec, face mildly concerned.

“Can I get you anything, sir?”

“He’ll have a coffee. Well, more cream than coffee and two sugars.” Simon shot her a smile and she nodded and walked away. Alec sighed and sat back up, stretching his neck and rolling his shoulders back. Just that moment of laying his head down had gotten him far closer to sleep than he wanted to be. Hopefully, the coffee would do him some good.

“Thanks, Lewis.”

“You got it, boss.”

Catarina shot a look between them. “ Boss ?”

Simon nodded, hands wrapped around his coffee mug as he brought it up to his lips for a sip. Raphael had pulled a folder from the briefcase he had been carrying and set it on the table between them.

“Long story short, Simon works for Alec. And we,” He slid the folder closer to her. “are here to ask you to talk to Ragnor for us.” Raphael flipped the folder open and sat back, taking a slow drink of his espresso. Her brows furrowed and she looked to Alec for clarification.

“What is this?” She asked, grabbing the folder and flipping through it. Her eyes widened as she realized what this was all about. She looked up, glancing between the three of them and settling on Alec, who was looking more exhausted by the minute.

“You think he is with Ragnor? Why?”

Alec shook his head, taking his coffee from the waitress and thanking her before taking a large gulp. He grimaced, not enough cream , but kept drinking. “It’s not important why right now, Cat. Ragnor won’t talk to me. And I have reason to believe he is lying and knows how we can get Magnus back.” Alec leveled her with a serious look and Catarina swallowed hard in disbelief.  She took a large drink of her cooling coffee to gather her thoughts.

“Alec...what makes you think he’d be with him? Ragnor is just a- a novelist. And if Magnus is with him then...then maybe it’s for good reason that the rest of us weren’t told. But I spoke to Ragnor just a few months ago, on the anniversary of this whole mess in fact, and he is just as broken up about all this as any of us are.”

“I know it sounds crazy, Cat. But I need you to trust me. There is more going on here than meets the eye and I don’t have time to explain all of it.”

Catarina shook her head, closing the file and setting it down. She took another drink of her coffee in the silence and lay a hand on Alec’s arm, looking at him in worry.

“Alec, I know this was hardest on you but...what makes you think Magnus is even stil-”

“Goddamnit, he isn’t dead! ” Alec slammed a fist on the table, a cracking noise coming from underneath it as the supports gave way slightly. The whole cafe turned and looked at them, some in confusion and most in alarm. Alec grit his teeth, his whole body practically vibrating with barely restrained rage. Catarina took a deep breath, not afraid but not exactly comfortable. This Alec was not the man Magnus had introduced to her so long ago. This Alec was different, traumatized and full of pent up emotion. It made sense. He never seemed like someone to talk about his feelings to other people and a year and a half was a long time to dwell on something. She cleared her throat, drawing her hand back from his arm and picking up the folder again.

“Well then...what information do you need? Ragnor is fickle and definitely not an idiot. I can’t just outright ask him a bunch of questions. In fact, if I call him now, he’ll most definitely know you roped me into whatever this is. He and I speak to each other only every few months.”

Casting a wary glance at Alec, who was dead silent and focused on the table with an unreasonable amount of intensity, Simon answered.

“Everything we need to know is in there,” He nodded to the file in her hands. “But we really just need to know where he is. Like Alec said, we are pretty positive Magnus is with him. Any information regarding that and his location will help a lot.”

“Alright. Let me just…” She fished her phone out of her scrubs pocket and began to dial when a hand gently grabbed her wrist. She looked up to see Alec, eyes red with irritation and exhaustion. “I’d actually prefer if you could place the call elsewhere, of course. This is...too public. My office is nearby, if you’d like?”

Simon’s eyebrows shot up. “You sure about that, Boss? I’m sure that it’s a bit...crowded there today.” He hesitated, fingers fidgeting with the handle on his mug. Alec shrugged.

“I’m not worried about it, Lewis. I’ll clear the floor.”

Simon pursed his lips. “I’ll call Underhill. See if he can take care of it before we get there.”

“I don’t understand how either of you ever kept a secret.” Raphael looked up from his cellphone, which he had been scrolling through as they spoke, disappointed disbelief on his face.

Cat looked between all of their faces, sensing she was missing something going on and sighed. “I don’t want to know, do I?”

Raphael shook his head. “If we didn’t have to involve you, we wouldn’t. Trust me, I would have rather been kept out of the loop too but I wasn’t given a choice.” Raphael shot his fiance a look, the other man ducking his head with wide eyes and a soft squeak of ‘ sorry’ . Raphael looked back over at Catarina. “But Ragnor won’t talk to me either, so here we are. Long story short, Magnus got involved in something...unsavory. It doesn’t matter how, but Alec can get him out. We just need to know where he is first.”

Cat finished her coffee and checked her phone. “You have a phone number? His old one isn’t working anymore.”

Alec nodded. “We’ve got a few. Just have to hope one works.”

“Well, let’s get going then. Before my pager goes off.”

Alec sipped his coffee and stood up. “Thank you, Cat.”

She stood and pulled him into a tight hug. When she pulled away, her face was stern and fierce.

“You get him home, Alec Lightwood.”

He smiled, hopeful. “Yes, ma’am.”




Somewhere in Italy


Magnus made it all the way to the street outside of Ragnor’s apartment before he stopped, taking a moment to breathe. He realized that, in his anger, he had stormed out of the loft without any of his things. No clothes, no jewelry, makeup, nothing. He had even forgotten his wallet.

“Fuck!” He growled, leaning back against the wall outside the old building. He watched as the occasional car passed by, tourists milling about and sitting at nearby cafes, completely unaware of everything around them. Magnus sighed and ran a hand through his hair, knowing that at any moment, Ragnor would come running out after him. His anger had begun to dissipate, the cold medicine wearing off and leaving him feeling feverish and painfully aware of the aches and pains in his body. God, he just wanted to go home. He felt tears prick at the edges of his eyes and he frantically rubbed them away, sniffling again as his congestion came back with a vengeance. Just as he turned to re-enter the building, defeated and feeling even worse after his burst of energy, Ragnor walked out, almost slamming into him.

“You foolish man! Get back inside, now!”  Ragnor looked around, back and forth down the street as he yanked Magnus back into the building, practically dragging him up the stairs. Magnus said nothing and let himself be tugged along, the mental and emotional exhaustion melding with the physical aching in his bones and leaving him with little fight left.

They entered the loft, Ragnor locking the door behind him and disappearing down the hallway as Magnus collapsed on the couch. He curled up, wrapping his arms around himself as a shiver ran through him, sniffling and squirming to get comfortable on Ragnor’s ancient furniture. He finally gave up with a huff as Ragnor swept back into the room, carrying a glass of water, a bottle of Nyquil, and a palmful of pills. Magnus glared at him before promptly sneezing, which sent him into a coughing fit. Ragnor waited, stone faced, as Magnus hacked and wheezed until his eyes were watering.

“Your impromptu workout and temper tantrum seems to have done wonders for your health.” Ragnor deadpanned, holding out the medication. Magnus reach for it with a shaky hand and a hardened glare.

“Fuck off, old man.” He spat, throwing back the pills and swallowing down a swig of Nyquil.

Ragnor rolled his eyes. “I’m 40, friend. Hardly old and only ten years from you.”

Magnus didn’t answer, instead opting to roll over and face the back of the couch with a grunt.

“Be as angry as you’d like. You could have just jeopardized everything all because you think you’re tough shit and refuse to ask for help. And clearly, you’re not healthy enough to be running off back to America or facing Jonathan alone.” Ragnor set the glass of water down where Magnus could reach it and turned, leaving the room without another word.

It didn’t take long for the medication to work it’s magic, causing Magnus to drift to sleep. He woke up at one point to Ragnor tucking a blanket around him and opened his mouth to apologize for being what Ragnor might refer to as a ‘twat’ but it only came out as a mumble. The man pat his shoulder and Magnus slipped back to sleep.

When he came to again, the loft was dark, no light streaming in from the windows, the living room only lit by a few lamps Ragnor had left on.

“Cat, I can’t.” Magnus heard the quiet mumble of Ragnor’s voice through his sleep addled brain, trying to focus and stay awake so he could hear the conversation.

“I understand that you may think so but money won’t keep Magnus safe forever. I can’t send him back there with no guarantee that he’ll be okay. And Alec might be tough but these people after’s bad, Cat. ” Ragnor sounded unsure and apologetic. Hearing Alec’s name made Magnus’ chest tighten painfully, a lump forming in his throat. He slowly sat up, not wanting to alert to Ragnor that he was awake but needing to straighten up so he could breathe. Already his breaths were coming quicker, the damn beginning to break before he could stop it.

He missed him. God, did he miss his Alexander. The thought made a soft noise of pain bubble up in his throat and he jammed a fist into his mouth, biting down as a sob suddenly wracked through his body. He hated this, hated feeling weak, hated the constant hiding and the pain but nothing about this situation hurt more than losing Alec. He hadn’t even seen a photo of the man since he left. The very thought of his kind eyes, the soft crooked smile he gave him when they were alone, the way his eyebrows pulled together when Magnus said something confusing, it all made Magnus want to scream. He hunched over in on himself, wrapping his free arm tightly across his chest as another sob broke through. He squeezed his eyes tightly shut, feeling the hot tears spill down his cheeks. Magnus tried to focus on his breathing, keeping himself quiet so that Ragnor wouldn’t hear him. The knuckle he had bitten down on was numb with pain, his chest screaming as he tried to hold back the convulsive gasps that threatened to give him away. His ears were roaring in the silence of the living area and he almost didn’t hear Ragnor when he spoke again from the other room.

“A private plane? Where?” A silent pause. “All of the Lightwoods? I wasn’t aware they were that rich.” Another period of silence as Catarina spoke on the other side of the line. Magnus only noticed he had been holding his breath when a uncontrollable hiccup, courtesy of his sobbing session, broke the silence. He heard the sound of Ragnor moving in the next room and cursed.

“Cat, I have to go. Damnit, I don’t want to agree to this but Magnus...he isn’t well, Cat. I don’t know how much longer until he breaks completely.” Some more shuffling, closer this time. Magnus hastily wiped the tears from his face and tried to slow his breathing, counting quietly in his head to force the hysterical hiccups to dissipate. “So tell Alec I agree. But when we show up, there better be a damn cavalry. Jonathan Morgenstern is not someone to underestimate, as dumb as he is. He won’t hesitate to kill anyone in his way.” Magnus froze as he heard the sound of Ragnor’s door opening and his voice became louder, floating toward him down the hallway.

“I love you too, my dear. I’ll take care of him and you take care of yourself.”

Ragnor stepped into the living room just after Magnus was laying back down, pulling the blanket up to his shoulders. Ragnor watched him closely, eyes narrowed as Magnus blinked owlishly.

“I got up to get some more water. I heard Cat’s name, is everything okay?” Magnus spoke, hoping the evidence of his breakdown wasn’t too obvious in his voice and on his face. Ragnor snorted.

“No need to play dumb, Magnus. It appears that the jig is up. Lightwood traced my phone call just now. I should have known that Catarina didn’t really want to just catch up, especially after that call from Raphael earlier today that was actually Alec on the phone.” Ragnor shook his head and sat on the couch arm. “They seem to have gotten some agency involved, though Cat swears the police don’t know. The last thing we need is one of Valentine’s bribed pigs to give us up.”

Magnus sat up, uncertain what exactly he was hearing. “What are you saying, Ragnor?”

“Alec Lightwood is a stubborn bastard and I should have known better than to call home, that’s what that I’m saying. Speaking to Raphael once every few months and then moving immediately worked for a while. Then I cut them off. I gave the number of one of my phones to him last time we spoke because he sounded...unwell. I didn’t want him to feel alone. A stupid mistake but one I would make again. Alec must have finally gotten his shit together and spoke to him.”

Magnus furrowed his brow, the move making him realize he had a splitting migraine. He rubbed his temples. “What does that mean? What are you saying? Stop being so cryptic for once.”

“After you disappeared, Alec stopped talking to everyone. He tried calling all of us for a maybe a month but then it was like we never knew each other. Raphael told me last time we spoke, about two weeks ago, that Alec showed up on his doorstep about a month ago. Saying he needed help to find you, that he had hit a dead end. And just now, Catarina said that he showed up to meet her at a cafe. I don’t know, it all sounds...fishy. I don’t understand how he found us so easily. How he knew to call me, of all people. If he had been trying to find you since you disappeared…” Ragnor trailed off and shook his head, crossing his arms. “I’m not sure I trust this. It seems too easy. I wish I knew where he got his information. Or whatever agency he has been working with.”

Magnus nodded, not caring so much about how it happened but anxious that it had. The idea that he could see Alec soon. The idea that he might be done running. It made him feel like he could breathe again.

“But he told Catarina that there wasn’t a choice. We go to him, or he comes to us and probably beats me senseless for hiding you and then proceeds to carry you off on a horse into the sunset. Catarina suggested the first option. There will be a plane waiting for us at a private airport tomorrow.”

Magnus had tuned Ragnor out as soon as he heard that they could return to New York. He could feel another sob building in his chest and he swallowed it down, wiping at his eyes. He felt Ragnor put a hand on his shoulder and he looked up, a genuine smile on his face for the first time in a while.

“Might as well start packing. God knows with the amount of clothes you have, it might take all night.” Ragnor squeezed his shoulder in comfort and stood up to leave Magnus to his thoughts.

He was going home.

Chapter Text

There weren’t many things that made Alec Lightwood nervous. He could count the amount of things that made him afraid on one hand, in fact. Isabelle’s cooking, walking in on Jace in bed with women, losing anyone he cared about, and Magnus Bane.

Magnus Bane terrified Alec to the core.

The man dismantled him. Taken him apart piece by piece from the moment they had met. The only comfort Alec could find in that fact was that Magnus said Alec did the same thing to him. Tore down his walls and exposed him as a person, as a soul. They terrified one another and Alec liked to think that’s what made them work so well with one another. That, and the sex. The sex helped.

But now, as he was staring at the clock from his bed, knowing that tomorrow his family’s private plane would set down in Italy and come back with Magnus on board, he found himself more afraid than he had ever been. The idea of seeing Magnus after so long, the idea of hearing his voice again made Alec’s heart race. The way it lilted with amusement, the soft purr when Magnus was murmuring into his ear, the rough edge to it in the morning or after Alec had pressed him into the mattress beneath his own body, wringing moans from Magnus’s throat with every movement of his hips-

He stopped his thoughts immediately, taking a deep breath and willing his cock to ignore what he had just been thinking.

Okay. A year and a half was a long time without Magnus.

Alec sat up in bed, throwing the covers back and hissing when his feet hit the cold floor. He tried to be quiet as he crept out into the hallway, not wanting to disturb Simon and Raphael sleeping in the other room across from his. He had Underhill taking some spare time to check up on their apartment, trying to find out who had been following Simon the day at the courthouse. So far, they had come up empty handed. It was something that made Alec uneasy but he wasn’t about to back down. Not when Magnus was so close to coming home.

He made his way to the small kitchen of his one bedroom apartment and poured himself a glass of water. He leaned against the counter, sipping it and staring off into space. He needed a distraction. He knew it was highly unlikely he would have gotten any sleep tonight but he had tried anyway. It had backfired, leaving him to his thoughts in the darkness of his room. He had already worked his way through all the necessary reports and emails for the jewelry business, the side deals with the Hunter’s Moon and even paid off all of the people that the Lightwood’s had in their pocket. He felt drained but not enough to fall asleep.

Refilling his glass of water, he wandered into the living room and sat down on the couch, taking his laptop from the table and tapping the spacebar. The screen came to life, showing a list of surveillance cameras and locations. Alec idly tapped through them, checking each place. The office was quiet, a few night workers milling about between offices and cubicles. The security guards at the front desk were playing a game of poker, and one of them, Raj, was losing big time. Alec’s lips twitched, almost smiling, and he went on to check the other few small businesses they ran.

He checked the clock, noting that it was only 12 AM with an internal groan. The Hunter’s Moon wasn’t even closed yet, the neon signs shining brightly on the high quality footage. Maia tended the bar, with Jordan running the show that night. Alec swallowed another gulp of water, thankful for those two. They really kept that place in check.

He clicked away, about to shut the laptop when something caught his eye. Inside the Hunter’s Moon, from the camera behind the counter, Alec could see someone walking up to sit at the bar. He squinted as he watched Maia approach them to take their drink order, not being able to see their face under the bill of the hat they were wearing. He switched to another angle, which showed him Maia’s expression and the man’s back. Something about his stature and posture was familiar but Alec couldn’t place it. Maia didn’t seem to think anything was off, her mouth moving silently as she smiled at the new guest and poured them something on tap.

He knew he could call the bar, see if anything was off about the man but he didn’t want to risk blowing the cover or alerting him if he was unsavory. Jordan knew about the front but Maia and a few other employees did not. When he found out Simon knew her, he made him swear to not tell her and so far, it seemed he had kept his promise.

He watched the figure for a few more minutes, checking different camera angles as well as monitoring the exits and the back office, where Jordan sat at his desk, tapping away on his computer. Alec frowned and pulled his cell phone from his pocket. He watched on the screen as Jordan picked up his phone.

“What’s up, boss?”

“There is a guest at the bar. I can’t see his face but I don’t get a good vibe from him. Can you take a look? Be careful, don’t make it obvious. I don’t want him spooked.”

Jordan’s eyes shot up on the screen, looking directly into the camera.

“You know, I constantly forget that those are there.”

“Clearly.” Alec responded sardonically. He watched Jordan stand up and hang up his cellphone, sliding it back into his pocket. He followed him on the cameras as he made his way to the front of the shop, going up to speak to Maia. He must have given some excuse about it being her break because she looked confused for just a moment before she walked into the back, leaving Jordan tending the bar. He made himself busy cleaning glasses before approaching the stranger and speaking with him. He must have ordered another drink, as Jordan slid him a glass after a moment.

Alec watched for about 15 minutes until Maia returned and Jordan made his way back to the office. Alec didn’t miss the fact that as soon as Jordan was out of the stranger’s sight, he was walking quickly, pulling his phone from his pocket. Alec picked his own up on the first ring.

“Who?” he asked, voice hard. Jordan entered his office and shut the door, beginning to pace.

“Jonathan Morgenstern.”

“Hang up. I’ll call Jace and keep an eye on the cameras. Don’t act any different, don’t even go back out front. There are hundreds of bars in Brooklyn, even more. He picked Hunter’s Moon so it’s safe to assume he knows. I’ll be sending some people in. They’ll be plain clothes. I want you to find a way to send every employee home over the next hour. Since most of them work in the kitchen and closing time is in three hours, hopefully Jonathan won’t notice. Do not send Maia home. I’m sure Jonathan can tell she doesn’t know or he will be able to soon enough. That works in our favor.” Alec finished. Jordan nodded to him on the camera and Alec hung up, immediately dialing his brother.

“W-What? Alec? What time is it?”

“Unimportant. Hunter’s Moon. Jonathan Morgenstern is there. I need it covered. We have to assume he knows and I can’t have any civilian casualties. Jordan is aware of the situation. I need Morgenstern tracked..” Alec spoke fast, keeping a close eye on the cameras. Jonathan had not moved from the bar, sitting their and nursing his drink, occasionally saying something that made Maia laugh.

He could hear the sound of rustling, probably Jace sitting up in bed. In the background, Clary’s voice said something Alec didn’t catch. Jace replied, his voice softer as he pulled away from the phone.

“Morgenstern. It’s alright, you stay here. I got it.”

He heard her mumble something in reply and then Jace was back.

“What’s the plan? We don’t want to alert him. He knows what I look like, no doubt. I can’t go in.”

“Get some plain clothes over there. People that, as far as we know, are uncompromised. I don’t want contact, I want surveillance. We don’t know if he is alone. We take him out only if absolutely necessary. Be safe.” Alec hung up, sliding his phone back into the pocket of his pajama pants just as the living room light flipped on, revealing Raphael standing there, eyes squinting and arms crossed.

“I can sense your stress in my sleep. What’s going on?”

Alec gestured toward the computer. “Morgenstern has been spotted at one of my front establishments. Can’t be a coincidence.”

Raphael frowned, shoulders tensing. “Sebastian is in Brooklyn?”

Alec nodded curtly. He looked up at Raphael, face serious. “I wouldn’t worry about it. I’ve got people going in. I just need to know why he picked now to resurface. It’s a bold move, and too well timed for my liking.” Alec looked back at the screens. Raphael came and sat down next to him, grabbing a blanket off the back of the couch and wrapping it around himself. He stared at the screen, face pensive.

“You think this is about Magnus? Do you think he knows somehow?”

Alec shook his head. “I don’t know. But as long as I have eyes on him, I’m not going to focus on that. Whether he knows or not...Jonathan Morgenstern will end up dead either way. That, I can swear.” Alec’s voice was hard, full of restrained hatred. Raphael just pulled the blanket tighter around himself.

“Don’t let me down, Lightwood.” He muttered, leaning his head back against the back of the couch with a yawn.

“Wouldn’t dream of it, Santiago.”

Raphael mumbled something in response that Alec didn’t catch, turning sideways to curl his feet up beneath him on the couch.

“What?” Alec asked, turning his head away from the cameras.

Raphael yawned again, his eyes still closed. “I said you’d make a good dad.”

Alec froze, staring in shock at the sleepy latino man next to him. “I’d...what?” He asked again, still not sure he had heard Raphael right.

The other man grunted in irritation before cracking open one eye. “Serías un buen padre. Créeme que sabría.” You'd be a good father. Believe me, I would know. He gave Alec a small sleepy smile before resting his head back down, burrowing further under the blanket. Looking at his relaxed face, Alec was suddenly struck with the thought of just how young Raphael was. Alec might have only been seven years older but their ages were worlds away from one another. Only three years prior had Raphael been a mere teenager, graduating high school , and seeing him now, snuggled up on the couch in a fluffy blanket with a bedhead mess of boyish curls surrounding his face was a harsh reminder of that. Alec’s throat tightened and he forced his eyes back to the computer screen, checking the cameras again. Seeing Raphael next to him, permanently scarred and without his adopted father because of that bastard sitting at the bar without a care in the had Alec’s blood boiling. He tore his eyes away again, fearing his rage getting the best of him, and stood up, slowly so as not to wake Raphael. He turned back to the couch and rearranged the blanket over him, grabbing a throw pillow and doing his best to coax the sleeping man into a more comfortable horizontal position. He grumbled and threw an angry hand out at Alec, who batted it away with a roll of his eyes. Even in sleep he was unwilling to accept help.

Magnus’ son for sure.



Somewhere in Italy


“You know that Alec isn’t going to be on the plane, right, Magnus?” Ragnor rolled his eyes as he entered the shared bathroom of his small Italian loft to see Magnus doing his full face of makeup, hiding the dark circles under his eyes and taming his hair into a tall mohawk that Catarina had long ago deemed the ‘Banehawk’. Magnus cut his eyes to Ragnor’s in the mirror with a mocking looking on his face.

“Just because nobody will be excited to see you, Ragnor, doesn’t mean no one will be excited to see me. I refuse to show up looking like a hermit. Unlike some people.”

Ragnor scoffed. “You are such an ungrateful twat some times, Magnus Bane.” The other man stuck his tongue out and went back to applying gold glitter under his eyes. He straightened his clothes in the mirror, examining his outfit. He chose something comfortable but still sleek. A simple pair of black pants, a pair of Italian leather boots, and a comfortable black henley. He had put on a few signature silver necklaces and all of his earrings. The only ring on his finger was the one Alec had gotten him, shining brightly on his right hand.

“You look like you’re dressed for a funeral.” Ragnor smirked. Magnus spun around, pushing past him and into the hallway.

“Yours, dear cabbage. Now, stop being bitter and help me make sure I got everything.” Magnus called out over his shoulder. Ragnor followed him out and both of them went over the loft, making sure nothing necessary was left behind. Ragnor checked his phone, noting they had an hour before they had to be at the airport.

“We should get going, dear. Who knows what kind of tourist traffic we’ll hit.” Ragnor peeked out the window with a sigh. He hated Italy in the summer, sometimes. “How are you feeling?” He turned to Magnus, arching a brow. The other man shrugged.

“Just fine. No cough, thankfully. I think I’m getting over it.” Magnus fiddled with his fingernails, examining them too closely. Ragnor went and sat beside him.

“That’s wonderful but not what I meant and you know it.”

Magnus looked up, eyes vacant and brows pinched together. “Trying not to think too hard about it, really.” He cleared his throat and plastered a smile on. “Shall we be off?”

Ragnor sighed. “You’re insufferable.” He stood from the couch, grabbing a few of their bags. “Let’s get these in the car and we can leave.” Ragnor left the apartment and Magnus didn’t move from the couch.

The thought of seeing Alec again, actually seeing him , still hadn’t hit him. He couldn’t stop thinking about the man long enough to realize it was reality. All this time he had locked the memories away, too painful to think about when he assumed he would never see him again. But now...He smiled, a shockingly large grin and a laugh bubbled in his throat.

“You know, you could sit here and keep giggling and smiling like a schoolgirl or you can get your ass downstairs, into the car, onto the plane and back to New York to see him. Your choice.” Ragnor grabbed the last of their bags, and waited. Magnus schooled his expression best he could, a smile still threatening at the edge of his mouth and eyes shining brightly. Ragnor led him from the apartment, trying not to smile.

“It’s good to see you happy, my friend.”

Chapter Text

“Fuck, fuck, fuck, FUCK!” Alec ran his hands through his hair roughly before slamming his hands down on his desk, hearing a crack in the wood somewhere. Even Izzy and Jace, who were used to Alec’s anger, jumped slightly. They both sat quietly on the couch in Alec’s office, watching him closely.

“You’re not joking? You aren’t fucking with me? I go to sleep and Jonathan gets away, 12 hours before Magnus is set to land here in New York? Jace, how the fuck did that happen? You said you had this! You said the bar was covered!” Alec stood from his desk, his face red and furious as he jabbed a finger into the air at Jace, who looked defeated.

“Alec, we don’t know how it happened. We had eyes on him and then we didn’t, but I promise we will find him, okay? We can find Morgenst-” Alec cut Jace off, walking up to him and grabbing him by the collar of his shirt, dragging him up off the couch. Alec’s breathing was heavy, his eyes wide and framed by the deep purple bags beneath them. His hair was a mess, he was wearing the same suit from yesterday and for the first time in his life, Jace saw something in his brother’s face that he didn’t recognize. Something desperate and unrestrained. Something sinister.

Jace had grown up with Alec. He had seen his brother cry, seen him turn into an empty shell of a person, repressing what he wanted and who he was for the sake of their parents and society. He had watched Alec learn to use a gun and just a few years later, been taught by him. Jace remembered the first time he saw Alec kill a man, he could recall the first time he saw him break someone’s forearm over his own knee, twisting the bone that stuck out of the injury in order to gain information. But never, in all of those moments, had Jace been afraid of him.

He was now.

“Alec, that’s enough!” Izzy shouted, shoving her brother from Jace. Alec stumbled backward, catching his balance at the last second and turning to brace his hands against his desk. Izzy shot a fearful look at Jace, who was frozen in place.

“Get out. Now.”


“I said OUT!” Alec slammed his fist onto his desk again, another resounding crack echoing through the room. Without waiting to see what had broken, both siblings fled the office.

Alec dragged his feet over to his office chair and sat down, trying to catch his breath. His throat ached from yelling, his muscles tense and his head throbbing with pain, like someone had taken to repeatedly beating on his skull.

He don’t know for sure how long he sat at his desk. He had an alarm set for when Magnus was supposed to land in New York, sometimes around 4, and he knew it wasn’t anywhere near time yet. It only served to make him angry again, feeling his heart starting to beat faster just as he had begun to calm down. He was shaking, pent up and feeling like strangling someone. Specifically Jonathan Morgenstern. He wanted to watch the bastard choke on his own blood, wanted to break every bone in his body and burn him alive. Among many, many other things.

“Oh, Alec.” Maryse’s worried voice broke through the red haze in Alec’s mind and he looked up from his hands, which he now noticed were bloody from...something. He wasn’t actually sure where the blood was coming from or how long it had been there. He looked around for a moment and saw the shattered the picture frame on the desk, shards of glass glittering on the dark stained wood.

The picture frame of he and Magnus. His favorite pictures of them. The two of them had found a photobooth large enough to fit the both of them comfortably and had monopolized it for over an hour until they got kicked out. Magnus had looked beautiful in his waistcoat and the form fitting shirt and Alec remembered how his boyfriend kept having to tell him to look at the camera but he had been far too busy looking at Magnus instead. Of course, when the other man had realized this, the last half hour in the photobooth hadn’t been for taking photos. At least, not appropriate ones.

But now, as he stared at the bloodied desktop and the droplets staining the photos, and a large shard of glass clenched in one hand that Alec couldn’t remember grabbing, he felt nothing but numbness and loss. Fear and anger, and so much pain that he could barely breathe. He knew something was wrong, could feel that he was inhaling more than exhaling, his chest tightening with every passing second and his head floating, thoughts becoming harder to form.

A part of his brain noticed when Maryse threw her purse and jacket to the ground, circling the desk and standing in front of him, steady and warm hands pushing his shoulders back so he wasn’t hunched over anymore. Vaguely, he could see her lips moving, speaking to him, and even watched as she turned her head, shouting something toward the door that Alec couldn’t comprehend in his current state. His limbs felt heavy, his vision fuzzy and yet he could feel the strain in his chest, the tightening of his throat and his brain floundered, trying to make sense of what was happening as he continued to struggle to breathe.

“Alec….Alec…” He could faintly hear someone saying his name, could feel a strong grip wrestle open his clenched fist and remove the glass from his grip, felt another hand rubbing up and down his back but everything was muted. All his senses seemed to be dulled, he couldn’t even feel the pain that he knew should be coming from the wounds on his hands. He was lightheaded, the room shifting unnaturally when he tried to focus his vision on anything.

Before he knew it, everything had gone black.




Maryse Lightwood was not a weak woman. In fact, many who knew her would argue she was a snake, cold and calculating, ruthless and selfish to the point of being inhuman.

Her children and Luke Garroway would beg to differ.

Maryse was stubborn, hardheaded and impossible to sway when she made her mind up. That’s why, when she decided that Robert was wrong about Alec, that she had been wrong about Alec, nothing could stop her from doing everything in her power to make it up to her son. Nothing could stop her from defending him and making sure he knew how much she loved him, how deeply she regretted her mistakes when it came to raising all of her children.

And nothing, absolutely nothing, would stop her from destroying everything and everyone that had Alec looking the way he did right now. Injured and struggling to breathe through his panic, looking like the empty shell of the man she had raised, hunched over in his office chair, blood streaming from his palms, dripping onto the floor.

Maryse Lightwood would sooner die than see her boy that way ever again.

As soon as she saw her son, slipping away into somewhere in his mind, she had thrown her things down and raced to him, checking his vacant eyes and trying to calm his breathing by speaking to him. It was clear after a moment that Alec wasn’t hearing her, no amount of touching or talking getting a response out of him. She panicked for a moment, her nursing training kicking in. Shouting for Jace and Isabelle, or anyone for that matter, Maryse did a quick assessment of the man in front of her. Non-life threatening injury to the palms, clear signs of hyperventilation and a severe panic attack. She had no idea how long he had been hyperventilating before she had entered the office and the thought of her son, suffering alone with his emotions like he was raised, made her heart break. She was suddenly aware of how little she had thought about the long term effects of her children’s upbringing and only shook herself from the terrible train of thought when Jace and Isabelle burst into the room, followed by Clary.

“Someone, get the glass from him. We need to lean him back, open his airways. Being hunched over is only making it harder for him to breathe.” Maryse watched as Clary rubbed her hand up and down Alec’s back, trying to get a reaction from him. Jace knelt down and gently pulled the glass from his grip, instantly replacing it with a wad of tissues from one of the desk drawers and clamping his hand around Alec’s hand, aiming to slow the bleeding.

“I’m going to go get him some oxygen from the lab.” Isabelle stood, running from the room. Maryse slumped back against the wall, the panic in her chest dissipating. Alec would be okay. She remembered the last time he had had a panic attack this bad, when he had come out to her and Robert, and she swallowed down the swell of self hate in her chest. She checked her watch, silently praying that plane to fly faster as Izzy came back in the room and helped Jace to lay Alec flat on the floor, slipping a mask on his face and setting up the oxygen tank.

“Can’t someone at least get Magnus on the damn phone? Something?!” Jace spat, anger clouding his features.

“Jace, you know we can’t risk anything other than physical contact. We can’t have anything traceable. It was hard enough to schedule a flight without being able to explicitly state when and where over the phone.” Clary’s voice was soft, unsure, as she carefully brushed Alec’s hair from his forehead.

“I can’t wait to tell Alec you comforted him and brushed his hair out of his eyes.” Izzy laughed, her eyes still full of fear and shining with tears as she kept a close eye on her brother’s chest, which was rising and falling steadily. Jace was in the process of fishing through Alec’s desk for a first aid kit. He knew he had one, because Alec was the king of over preparing. Clary rolled her eyes, socking Izzy in the shoulder playfully and smiling at the woman’s attempt to lighten the mood.

“He should wake up pretty soon. Another thirty seconds at most.”

“He was always the most dramatic of us, let’s be honest.” Jace piped up, shrugging. Maryse, Izzy, and Clary shot him identical looks of disbelief.

Alec is dramatic. Seriously? What about the time you got a cold and refused to come in for three weeks. You spent most of it on the couch! You didn’t even have a fever!”  Clary argued. Jace opened his mouth to respond when Izzy cut in.

“Or the time that you got shot in the arm and were so whiny about it that the doctor threatened to actually amputate?” She arched a brow. Maryse laughed quietly.

“When you were a child, a girl you had a crush on in 3rd grade told you that your hair was too blonde and you spent the next four days crying yourself to sleep and begging me to let you dye your hair.”

Jace crossed his arms, slumping back against Alec’s desk and looking indignant. “Listen, all of those were valid and normal reactions!” Jace frowned and they all fell quiet for a moment. A low groan had all their attention turning to the man on the floor. Maryse’s focus shot to her oldest son when he shifted, eyes fluttering open. They were bloodshot and unfocused but thank God, they were open.

“They’re right, know.” Alec croaked, pulling the oxygen mask off his moment much to Isabelle’s irritation. “You’re the...dramatic one.” He coughed, immediately trying to sit up and hissing when he braced himself on his cut hand. Jace caught his shoulder, easing him back to the floor and putting the mask back on his face. Alec glared tiredly back at him.

“Sure, buddy. Whatever you say. But no getting up just yet, okay? Or mom and Iz might make you go to the hospital and hook you up to all sorts of stuff. With needles and shit.” Jace rambled, wincing at the thought. Alec raised his brows, bringing a hand up to rest over his own chest and taking deep breaths as the tightness eased away. Jace frowned.

“Okay. Maybe I am the dramatic one.”

Everyone nodded and murmured in agreement as Alec closed his eyes and rested back, letting Jace begin to tend to the cut on his palm.

Maryse just exhaled in relief, thankful she did one thing right as she watched her children from off to the side.

They were strong.




“Magnus, if you don’t stop, I’m going to pin you down and force Valium down your throat.” Ragnor’s voice cut through Magnus’ loud thoughts and he stopped his pacing back and forth down the aisle of the private jet to cast a glance at the British man, who was too busy reading and sipping a cocktail to even look up. Magnus chose not to respond, instead opting to start pacing again. He had completely ruined his makeup with intermittent crying throughout the long flight, his hair was flattening with every passing hour, and he had already removed all of his extra jewelry for comfort. He had tried napping, tried drinking, at least until Ragnor had saw him pouring his second drink and snatched it from his hands, tried eating, and everything else there was to do on a plane. Which was not a lot.

So he had opted to pace. It kept him moving and did absolutely nothing to calm his frayed nerves but he had long accepted that nothing could at this point.

They would be landing in 30 minutes. The airport was about a 20 minute drive from where they were meant to meet Alec and Magnus couldn’t stay calm.

He had a fleeting thought, one that made him stop in his tracks, eyes wide.

What if they didn’t work anymore? What if Alec had changed? What if Magnus had changed? What if Alec was only bringing him home on principle? Honestly, Ragnor hadn’t seemed very convinced that Alec could keep Magnus safe and Magnus had to admit, he had every reason to feel the same. Sure, Alec could shoot pretty damn well and his physique was that of a Greek god but Jonathan Morgenstern was a murderer. An insane cold-blooded murderer. If Jonathan ended up in the same room as Alec, it was over. The very thought made Magnus’ stomach turn.

Then there was the fact that Alec may know about Magnus’ lie. And if he didn’t, Magnus would have to tell him. If he did know, maybe he only wanted Magnus back to turn him in.

His mind was an endless array of questions and fears and he was jolted out of them when the pilot spoke over the speaker.

“Please fasten your seatbelts, we will land in just a moment.”

30 minutes had gone by and Magnus hadn’t even noticed. He felt like he was losing his mind.

He just wanted to see Alec. And if it was for the last time, then so be it. But he needed it. Needed him like he needed air.

Magnus felt Ragnor yank on his arm, dragging him to his seat with a glare.

“Fasten your seatbelt, you twat. We’re almost there.”

Magnus nodded, shaking as he reached for his belt. He clicked it into place and gulped.

“I’m going to see Alec in less than an hour.” He mumbled, almost as if he didn’t believe it. Ragnor nodded. “That you are, my friend.”

Magnus nodded in response, continuing to nod as his mind sped up again. Alexander. He was going to see Alexander.

He was going home.

He would get to see his cat.


His loft.

His bed.




His stomach rolled, once. Twice. The plane hit the tarmac with a slight bounce.

Magnus threw up.


Chapter Text

Alec Lightwood was many things. He was a man of honor, a man of substance, strong and steadfast in his decisions, and on the rare occasion, he was patient.

Alec Lightwood was not, however, ready for this.

‘This’ being the fact that, at any moment, his loft door was going to open. And behind it would be Magnus. His Magnus.

The loft was quiet for now. Raphael had gone out with Simon for lunch, agreeing to come back when Alec gave him the all clear. They hadn’t wanted to overwhelm Magnus and as much as Raphael wanted to see him, he had vehemently argued that Alec should be the first and only person Magnus sees for at least a few hours. When Alec had tried to suggest that they both be there, Raphael had made a face and stated firmly that he did not need to see the blatant displays of affection that were bound to accompany the long awaited reunion.

Alec had, reluctantly, let him go.

And so now, he was sitting in his loft, soft music playing on the stereo to break the silence of the empty space surrounding him. He had changed his clothes six times, settling on a simple t-shirt and black jeans that Magnus had always loved on him. He had removed his guns, setting them aside but keeping them near enough in case he needed them. They hadn’t heard anything on Jonathan and it had Alec on edge.

But he couldn’t think about that now.

Every sound had his pulse jumping. Every creak of floorboards from neighbors above him, every honk of New York cabs coming through his window. He felt stretched thin, taught like a guitar string and ready to snap. The ring box hidden in the back of his dresser drawer was taunting him and he swallowed, remembering Raphael’s face when he had asked the man to get it for him. A mixture of hope, pride, and a little bit of disapproval as he had handed it to Alec that morning with a single comment of  “Maybe don’t wait so long this time.”

But he couldn’t do it right now. All he could think about was getting Magnus into his arms and he didn’t think he would be letting go of him long enough to drop to one knee anytime in the next few days.

But after that.

After that, he would.

Alec stood, running a hand through his hair, about to begin pacing when a knock struck the door.

Two loud raps. A voice.

“Alec? May I come in?”

Ragnor. Of course. Alec was a fool to think he’d send Magnus in before talking with Alec himself.

“Of course!” Alec called, cursing himself under his breath when his voice broke.

The door swung open slightly, just enough for Ragnor to let himself in and close it behind him.

“I’m only here to say thank you. And to threaten you that if something happens to Magnus from this point on, it’s your fault. He’d kill me if he heard me say that, so I made him wait outside. Um. Other than that...good luck. Use protection.” Ragnor tossed him a smirk that Alec couldn’t bring himself to return but he nodded nonetheless. He wrung his wrists, staring at the door over Ragnor’s shoulder. The other man sighed.

“Right, nice to see you too. I’ll send him in.”

Turning and leaving as quickly as he came, the loft fell silent again, the music in the background being drowned out by Alec’s racing thoughts. He bowed his head, squeezing his eyes shut and scuffing the floor with a barefoot. The tension in the room was almost suffocating and Alec could feel his chest tightening and breaths getting shallow again even as he struggled to calm himself, focusing on his inhales and exhales.

Inhale. 1...2...3...4...

Hold. 1...2...3...4...5-

The door opened.

Alec’s breathing stuttered.

The door closed.

Quiet footsteps made their way closer, slow and uncertain.

The sound of bags hitting the floor.

Alec opened his eyes, still focused resolutely on the floor in front of him.

Perfectly shined, pointed toe, black Italian leather boots.

He choked softly, throat painfully dry.

He raised his head slowly.

Black pants. Tight fitting and familiar even in their simplicity. Long, lean legs that reminded Alec of slow dancing and nights tangled on the couch, movies forgotten in the background.

A black and silver belt, the buckle shining in the soft light of the loft. Hips that Alec could remember feeling under his hands, sharp and strong, twisting and pushing forward like a cresting wave beneath him. The perfect fit for his palms during a kiss.

His eyes continued up.

A tight, red henley covering a broad chest. Shoulders where Alec had rested his head nightly, tracing designs on warm skin with his fingers, the light chest hair tickling his face as he drifted off to sleep.

That throat that Alec had spent hours worshipping, pulling desperate noises of pleasure from it with just his mouth. The laughter that bubbled up from it over a burnt dinner or a bad joke, a sound of pure happiness.


Alec’s breath hitched as he stepped closer, reaching his trembling hands up slowly to cup that familiarly strong jaw, running his thumbs across high cheekbones and dragging his eyes over the sight of the lips he was so intimately acquainted with to meet those eyes.

Dark drown, framed by long, dark lashes. The hints of smudged makeup and the softest glint of glitter that had Alec’s eyes blurring with tears. He leaned in, forehead pressing to the other man’s as the tears spilled down his cheeks. He felt hands come up to grip his waist, their chests  pressing together and Alec’s hands, still framing Magnus’ face, shook harder. It wasn’t until he felt the softest brush of lips against his, the smell of sandalwood engulfing his senses and the softest beat of the other man’s heart against his chest, that it really hit him.

“Magnus.” It came out the barest whisper and he felt his boyfriend exhale against his lips.

“My Alexander.” His voice cracked and Alec felt something swell in his chest, painful and relieved all at the same time, a huge weight disappearing and for the first time in over a year and a half, he could breathe . Without another word, he pressed his lips to Magnus’, gentle and yet achingly desperate. The slightest hint of scotch, vanilla sugar chapstick, mint, and something entirely Magnus that Alec hadn’t realized he had forgotten the taste of. It was languid, the slight scratch of his own chapped lips against flawlessly smooth ones and neither pulled away until they were gasping quietly for breathe. Alec felt something warm and wet against his cheek and he opened his eyes to see tears dripping down Magnus’ face, his eyes more vulnerable and raw than Alec had seen in a long time.

God, it had been a long time.

“Hi.” The word fell from his mouth lamely, a murmur that had his cheeks flushing. There was a beat of silence before he felt Magnus’ shoulders shake, a watery laugh bursting from his lips.

“Hi yourself.” Magnus murmured through his giggling. Alec smiled, wide, goofy, and exhaled shakily.

“I missed you. I don’t know if I made that obvious enough. I...missed you a lot. ” Alec rubbed his thumb across Magnus’ cheekbone, swallowing around the lump in his throat. “The entire time you were gone, you were all I could think about. There were days I wasn’t sure I was going to make it, Magnus but the thought of you, the hope that you were out there somewhere...I never gave up. Not on you.”

Magnus’ smile turned sad, his eyes glancing down and his voice low. “I’m-”

No . No apologies. None of it matters now. You’re here. You’re here, you’re with me, you’re in my arms. I don’t care about anything else.” Alec pulled him closer and Magnus buried his face in Alec’s neck, the comforting scent of his earthy cologne making Magnus want to cry again. He held tight to his boyfriend, the two of them standing in the foyer for what felt like hours before Alec pulled back, still keeping his hands securely on Magnus’ waist.

“I can’t believe you looked for me this whole time, Alexander. The amount of money you must have spent to pay for all that security and investigating…” Magnus trailed off. Alec shook his head.

“It doesn’t matter. I would have spent everything I had if it meant getting you back.” Alec neglected to mention the truth, not wanting to open that particular can of worms right now. Magnus rolled his eyes a little, a soft smirk playing at his lips.

“That was quite cliche, Alexander.”

“Yeah, yeah. I know.” Alec smiled back, cheeks flushed.

Magnus looked around the loft, eyes sad. “I see you moved. Any chance you may have gotten a storage unit for my things? I know that’s a lot to hope for but I couldn’t exactly pay-”

“I never stopped paying the rent. Everything is still there. I threw some sheets over your furniture but um...I tried, I did. I couldn’t handle being alone there. It was all But, it’s still there. Raphael took Chairman for me. With my work schedule, I figured he needed someone a little more attentive.” Alec shrugged a little bit, avoiding Magnus’ eyes. Magnus was staring at him, mouth forming a small O in surprise.

“Alexander, paid for my loft? For over a year? Where did you get the money to do that? Why, why would you do that?” Magnus sputtered a little, struggling to find words. Alec just smiled at him.

“Magnus, I didn’t do it for entirely unselfish reasons. I love that loft. It reminds me of you. Of us.”

The other man just shook his head in disbelief. “You continue to amaze me, Alexander. Even when I’m not around to see it.”

Alec led him over to the couch without another word, pulling him down on top of him, refusing to not be in contact with the man for even a second. Magnus situated himself on top of Alec’s chest, slotting their bodies together in a way they had done thousands of times before, with Magnus’ head tucked into his neck, Alec’s arms wrapped comfortably around him and their legs tangled together.

Magnus finally felt like he could breathe. A weight had been lifted from his shoulders, the odd gaping hole he had gotten used to being in his chest over the years dissipating. He settled close to Alec, his hand playing with the hem of his shirt, gently tracing lines on the exposed strip of skin at his waist.

Alec shivered, exhaling deeply. “I’d forgotten how your hands felt. And the sandalwood…” Alec trailed off with a soft laugh. “I stole the shampoo you left behind. Like, all of it. I ran out about 8 months back.” He went silent for a moment. “I don’t think I left the house for days afterward.” Magnus’ heart panged at the weariness in Alec’s voice and he pressed a kiss to the man’s neck, aiming to comfort him.

“I’ll get to making some more for you as soon as I can.”

Alec made an affirmative hum in the back of his throat. Magnus continued to drag his fingers through the dark happy trail beneath Alec’s navel, pushing his shirt up slightly to run his fingers over the sharp curves and dips of Alec’s pelvis.

Resting back against the cushions, the warmth of Magnus on top of him, Alec realized how exhausted he was. The ache in his muscles, the pain in his joints and the sheer heaviness of his eyelids hit him all at once and he struggled to stay awake. The gentle stroking of Magnus’ warm fingers on his bare skin wasn’t helping. He reached a hand up to rub at his eyes and cleared his throat.

“You’re making me fall asleep.” He muttered. Magnus’ hand continued it’s light caressing.

“Good. You look exhausted, Alexander. I know damn well that dark circles like that don’t come from just one poor night’s sleep.” Magnus looked up at Alec, arching a knowing brow. Alec grunted, frowning.

“You don’t look so rested yourself, you know.”

“Should I be offended?” Magnus asked, lips twitching in amusement. Alec cast a glance down at him, bringing a hand up to cup his cheek.

“No. I love that face.”

Magnus grinned, eyes wrinkling at the corners with delight. Alec pulled his face closer, leaning in to kiss him again. Magnus readjusted himself so he was laying atop Alec, legs framing his hips. Alec slipped a hand gently into Magnus’ hair, the other hand pushing his shirt up enough to lay on the bare skin of Magnus’ waist. The kiss was unhurried, relaxed, and made Magnus hum against his mouth, the slightest press of his tongue making Alec part his lips. The soft music in the background of the dimly lit apartment changed to the next song, a gentle strum of guitar filling the air. Magnus gasped against Alec’s mouth when he felt the light scratch of nails along his side and the slow drag of a tongue tracing his bottom lip, the combination of the two sending a shiver down his spine. He could feel the heat building in his stomach, the air balmy around the two of them as they kissed. Alec’s hand dragged his shirt up a little more, stroking along his lower back. Magnus pressed his mouth forward, a little more insistent. His forearms were framing Alec’s head, his hands wrapped up in the soft and messy dark hair that he missed running his fingers through every night.

Beneath him, he could feel the solid comfort of Alec’s body and for a moment, he forgot about all of it. Jonathan, the long year and a half he had been gone, the obligations outside the moment they were in. He never wanted to move again, didn’t want to pull his mouth and hands away from the man underneath him.

The tension between them built, the kiss turning into something needier, with Magnus’ hands tightening in Alec’s hair and all too soon, he pulled away. Alec was panting softly, pupils blown wide and lips shiny and red. 

“Magnus, I-” Alec began, interrupted by the other man pressing a chaste kiss to his mouth.

“No need to explain yourself. It’s been a long time.….needs some adjusting. And a lot of discussion. We’ll figure it out.” Magnus smiled reassuringly and lowered himself to press his face back into Alec’s neck and cuddle up into his arms. The other man was quiet for a moment, only nodding in response to Magnus’ words. Alec wrapped his arms around Magnus, pressing a soft kiss to the top of his head and murmuring to him.

“I’m happy you’re home.”

“I am too.” Magnus pressed a kiss to Alec’s neck and let his eyes slip close, melting into the embrace. “Let’s sleep, hmm?”

“I don’t want to close my eyes. Afraid you’ll disappear again.” Alec’s voice was a mere whisper and had guilt panging through the contented feeling in Magnus’ chest. He grabbed the man’s hand and entwined their fingers over Alec’s chest.

“Never again, Alexander. Now, rest. I promise I’ll be here when you awake.”

Alec’s grip on him didn’t loosen, even as he drifted off to the first restful sleep he’d had in a long time.




Alec awoke sometime later, a noise startling him from his rest. Looking around quickly, his brain immediately snapping to attention, he noticed Magnus was gone. He grabbed the gun from under the edge of the couch and made his way to the kitchen, holding it by his side and keeping his steps light and silent. When he rounded the corner, wide eyed and ready to fight, Magnus was leaning against the counter reheating food in the microwave. Alec hid the gun behind his back, tucking it quickly into the waistband of his jeans and straightening up with a soft smile. Magnus eyed him with a smirk.

“Well, now that’s a look. Your hair is quite the sight, Alexander.” His voice was light and amused, but Alec sensed the stress behind it. He approached Magnus, pulling him close by his belt loops. He leaned close, resting his forehead against the other man’s and willing himself to calm down. Waking up to Magnus gone was far more alarming than he thought it would be, but with Jonathan in New York, Alec couldn’t take any risks. And the last time he’d woken up without Magnus...he shook the memory away.

“I’d imagine. And although I’m sure your flight made you very hungry, next time wake me up before you go wandering off?” He asked, although he meant it to come out more of a command than a request. Magnus hummed in response, his hands sliding up Alec’s chest to cup his face gently. He pressed a kiss to the man’s lips and opened his mouth to respond when the microwave beeped. He twisted away toward it, though Alec kept a hand firmly on his waist.

“Yesterday’s take out? Magnus, I could have made you something better than that.” Alec scrunched up his nose as Magnus pulled the box of noodles from the microwave with a grin.

“Alexander, I adore you, but you cannot make Thai food this good. Even despite the fact that it’s reheated.” Magnus grabbed the fork from the counter and dug in. He shoved a large bite of noodles in his mouthed and moaned enthusiastically. Alec rolled his eyes and pulled Magnus to his side, still unwilling to let go of him. They both leaned back against the counter and as Magnus ate, Alec pulled his phone from his pants pocket and sighed heavily. 35 texts. All from Simon.


We good?


You’re alive, right?

He is an assassin, should we be worried? He get turned to the dark side?

That’s a Star Wars reference, by the way.

Raphael is telling me to shut up.

Alec scrolled through a few more of the rambling ones, all of them about Star Wars, and got to the newest ones, which had been received only a half hour ago at 6PM.

Okay, seriously, Raphael is getting anxious.

He is drinking!

Okay, it’s one Bloody Mary, but still.

He never drinks.

Also, a Bloody Mary at 6PM?

Who does that? Shouldn’t it be like, wine or something?

An evening drink? Scotch? Whiskey?

I can’t believe I’m saying this

But he is being insufferable. He insulted the waitress three times already, complained about the food, and now he is nitpicking the decor.

Save me.

Alec couldn’t help the snort that escaped him and Magnus looked up from his takeout, a noodle hanging from his lips. “Wha’ id it?” He asked, mumbling around the food in his mouth. Alec looked at him incredulously, fighting back more laughter. Magnus flushed slightly and swallowed the bite in his mouth. “What is it?” He repeated.

“Raphael is apparently getting antsy. Shall I invite him over?”

Magnus nodded, glancing down at his food and setting it aside. He suddenly didn’t feel all that hungry anymore. “Yes, please do. I have...a lot of explaining to do.”

Alec rubbed his shoulder, offering a relaxed smile.

“Don’t worry about it. I’m sure he will just be glad you’re here and safe.”

Magnus frowned slightly, his forehead wrinkling. “If you say so.”



“¡Hijo de puto! Son of a bitch! ¡Eres un mentiroso! You're a liar! You left all of us! What if that murderous psychopath had come after me or Cat? Did you even think that maybe we needed to know we might be targeted?!” Raphael could not have been farther from happy to see the man. Well, he was. He was happy to see his adopted father was safe but now that he was, Raphael wanted nothing more than to spend the next few hours yelling at him. If these were the first words out of his mouth when he saw the man, who could really blame him?

Alec had barely gotten the apartment door open when Raphael had pushed past him, heading straight for Magnus and looking very much like he was going to hit the man. However, he stopped about two feet from him, eyes blazing and fists clenched. Simon offered Alec a meek wave and a shrug when Alec glared back. He shut the door and quickly made his way over to be  a buffer between the two men. Simon followed, keeping his distance.

“Dios, its like you didn’t even care! Don’t I mean anything to you? Eres tan egoísta.” You're so selfish! He spat, throwing his arms up in frustration. Magnus was patiently waiting for him to finish, arms hanging limply by his sides. Despite how hard he was trying to hide it, Alec could see the hurt the words were causing him in his posture and the way he was chewing on his lip, eyes cast down.

“Raphael, enough . We talked about this. You know why he did what he did.” Alec’s voice did little to calm the Latino man, who was still staring down Magnus. Magnus opened his mouth to speak but Simon interrupted.

“Rapha, hey. Let’s give him a chance to explain more later, okay? It’s okay to be hurt, you know.” Simon stepped up next to Raphael, reaching for one of his clenched fists and placing the other hand on his back, between his tense shoulder blades. Simon rubbed his back in small, firm circles and began talking quietly, too quietly for the other’s to hear, though Raphael was still staring at Magnus. Raphael’s lip trembled slightly, though he didn’t show any other signs of crying as he stood there, still staring at Magnus. He closed his eyes for a moment before he swallowed harshly, his adam’s apple bobbing. Simon murmured something more to him, squeezing his hand and Raphael exhaled, nodding along.

Magnus watched, curious and slightly concerned. He had never met this man before, though it was clear both Alec and Raphael trusted him. It threw Magnus off to see someone so close to Raphael, comforting him in a fairly intimate manner.

Obviously, he’d missed more than he thought he had in the year and a half he’d been gone.

Alec was standing off to the side, arms crossed and watching warily. Finally, the tension bled from Raphael’s shoulders and he opened his eyes, anger replaced with a tired resignation and relief. He turned toward Simon, who gave him a reassuring crooked grin and mumbled a quiet thank you before turning back to Magnus and stepping closer to him.

“I’m glad that you’re back.” Raphael’s voice was low, quiet like he didn’t really want anyone to hear it and he glared, though it lacked any heat behind it. Magnus smiled, a proud twitch at the edge of his lips. Perhaps he hadn’t changed too much.

“I missed you as well, my boy. I’m happy to see you’re doing okay.”

Raphael nodded and suddenly, he had his arms wrapped around Magnus, wrapping him in a tight hug. Alec’s eyebrows shot up and even Simon looked a little confused. He’d never seen Raphael hug anyone , besides himself of course. Magnus, however, didn’t even look surprised. He just wrapped his arms around his adopted son, speaking softly in his ear and petting his hair with one ring laden hand.

“Me dejaste sola...¿por qué me dejaste?”  You left me alone. Why did you leave me? Raphael mumbled into Magnus’ neck, causing the man to squeeze him tighter in response.

“Te prometo que nunca lo volveré a hacer.” I promise I'll never do it again. Magnus responded. Raphael inhaled deeply and after another moment, he pulled away. Alec could have sworn he saw the man wipe his eyes.

“Now...Are you going to introduce me?” Magnus asked, gesturing to Simon with a raised eyebrow. The Latino man flushed slightly, looking much like a sheepish child in the face of his adopted father, and pulled Simon forward by his hand. Simon stumbled slightly, bumping into Raphael and grabbing his arm for support. His cheeks flamed red and he stammered an apology, smiling nervously. Raphael rolled his eyes.

“Magnus, this is Simon. My fiance. Simon, mi amor, this is Magnus, my father.”

Simon shook off his nervousness and grinned, a wide showing of his teeth as he held his hand out to shake Magnus’. Magnus returned it, looking amused.

“Magnus, hi. I know, like, everything about you. Alec and I-”

“Simon.” Alec cut him off, voice hard as glass. He shot a quick look at the man, who had frozen, eyes wide. Raphael jumped into the conversation smoothly, in hopes that Magnus wouldn’t notice the odd exchange.

“Simon has heard a lot about you from me.”

Magnus’ smirk widened and he turned to Simon again. “Well, I must say, Shawn, any boy that can capture Raphael’s ice cold heart must be special.”

“It’s uh, it’s Simon. But y-yeah. I love Raphael. A lot, actually. And uh, he really loves you. Told me how kind you were to take him in and stuff and I gotta say, you sounded like such a badass. I couldn’t wait to meet you and even now, I mean, you are exactly the way he described! You are a total badass, like the hair, and the clothes and the makeup, seriously, and your shoulders, like, I thought Alec was huge but wow, you are broad , you look like you could crush people with your bare hands-”

“Simon!” Alec cut him off, again, looking increasingly uncomfortable with the way the conversation was going. Magnus was barely holding back laughter, pressing his lips together firmly as his eyes twinkled while Raphael just sighed. Simon turned even redder, the high flush on his cheeks a dead give away to his embarrassment.

“No! Not like that! I mean, yes, kinda like that. You are really attractive but I’m with Raphael and Alec would literally kill me if I even thought about-” This time, Simon clamped his jaw shut of his own accord, eyes wide like he couldn’t believe what he was saying. Alec cocked his head, raising a brow and sending a look toward Simon that only confirmed the man’s fear.

Alec would definitely kill him.

Simon cleared his throat and continued. “Anyway, I just mean you look like, crazy strong and the fact that you were like a hitman, is so totally cool, like way cooler than Al-” Raphael reached up, quick as lightning and slapped his hand over Simon’s mouth. Simon squeaked in shock.

“That’s quite enough, mi amor.”

Over Raphael’s shoulder, Simon could see Alec, his hazel eyes darkening with a very dangerous promise of what Simon assumed was torture or at the very least, a lack of a job, had he finished that sentence. Raphael turned to Magnus, who was looking between all of them, eyes narrowed but his face mostly confused.

“Simon rambles when he is nervous. Ignore him. It’s what I do.” Raphael offered an apologetic look to his adopted father. Simon made a wounded noise, his big puppy dog eyes full of hurt. Raphael simply pulled his hand away, taking one of Simon’s and entwining their fingers.

“What? You know that sometimes the only way to handle you is to tune you out.”

Simon pouted, though Raphael could tell he wasn’t really hurt by the comment.

“You and Stephan are cute. When is the wedding?” Magnus asked. Raphael shot a look at Alec, who pointedly avoided his eyes, looking at the ground and examining his shoe instead.

“We...we haven’t planned much yet.” Raphael shrugged. Magnus made a noncommittal  noise.

“I see.” He cast a glance over at Alec, an indecipherable look in his eyes. Alec looked away as Magnus spoke again. “Well, congratulations. If you need any help planning, you know I love a good party.” He smiled, though it didn’t reach his eyes. Alec wanted to reach out for him but decided against it, keeping his hands firmly in his pockets. Simon looked between everyone’s faces, sensing the awkward tension that, for once, wasn’t completely his fault.

“I’ll order dinner!” He said suddenly, pulling his phone from his pocket.

“Make sure you order it to the lobby and not the apartment number.” Alec ordered automatically. Magnus quirked a brow and he quickly tried to backtrack. “The uh, the agency suggested it’s better we don’t go handing out any specific addresses.” He cleared his throat. “I’m going to grab a drink, anyone want anything?” He looked around, waiting.

“I’ll go with you, grab a water.” Raphael said, when Simon and Magnus shook their heads. Raphael followed Alec to the kitchen, quickly cornering him next to the fridge.

“When the hell are you going to tell him?” He hissed, gesturing toward the living room. Alec pinched the bridge of his nose, his jaw twitching.

“I can’t just bring it up in casual conversation, Raphael. Especially not now.”

Raphael rolled his eyes, exasperated at everyone’s inability to tell the truth lately and shot his eyes up toward the ceiling, muttering under his breath.

“Dios me dé paciencia.” God give me patience.

Alec frowned, moving to turn away and grab a glass from the cupboard. Raphael caught his arm, however, and yanked him back to face him.

“Don’t take this as a compliment, si? But you two are fantastic criminals. You hid it from each other for over 2 years. Magnus hid it from me for who knows how long. Probably the entire time he knew me. What the hell makes you think that the two of you, trying to fight Jonathan while you pretend that some agency is doing it,” He made exaggerated air quotes around the word, mocking Alec, who glared. “And Magnus pretends he is totally okay with you knowing he killed people, isn’t better than the two of you admitting you are both murderers and moving on to be the new Bonnie and Clyde or whatever?” Raphael was staring at Alec with an incredulous look on his face, not understanding why two of the smartest people he knew were acting like idiots.

“First of all, Bonnie and Clyde?” Alec made a disgruntled face. “Second of all, if I waltz out there and tell Magnus that I’m literally part of a crime family, what makes you think he isn’t going to try and kill me? I’m the exact kind of people he hates! I swindle people out of their money, I manufacture fake jewels and sell them to people at full price, I run four business fronts and I’m involved with various other crime families. I’ve committed fraud, forgery, money laundering, any and every type of organized crime you can think of. Hell, I torture people, Raphael!” Alec was practically whisper-yelling at this point, his rant making his breathing heavy.

Raphael leveled an unimpressed look at him. “Have you ever raped anyone? Killed children? Women? Preyed on poor people? Are you a racist? Tell me, Alec, do you think that money laundering is on the same level as what Iris Rouse was doing to those women and children?” Raphael had slipped into his lawyer voice, calm and sure of how right he was. He watched Alec roll his eyes and exhale in irritation.

“Well, no but-”

“But what?”

“Magnus was a hired gun. He is a hired gun. He killed people for the same shit that I do everyday as a job . You looked through those books. That Meliorn guy? He committed credit card fraud! And now, he is gone off the face of the planet! Raphael, not a single one of my credit cards are in my real name!”

Raphael scoffed. “That ‘Meliorn guy’ as you say, stole the identity of a poor women with 4 children. He ran her up to almost 20 grand in debt and the police and the credit card company said they couldn’t help her, even after they caught him. The woman’s brother got a hold of Magnus. Two days later, a 20,000 check shows up in that woman’s mailbox. Meliorn lives in California under an alias now. He works retail. I know this because I had Simon try and contact all of the people not confirmed dead in Magnus’ notebook. So tell me, Lightwood. Do your rob poor people?”

Alec sighed, heavily. He crossed his arms, gritting his teeth in frustration.

“You made your point, Santiago.”

Raphael arched a brow when Alec tried to move past him and he shifted, blocking the taller man’s way. “And?”

Alec glared, his eyes dark. “And I’ll tell Magnus.”

“Tell Magnus what?”

The voice came from the doorway, where the man himself had strolled in, grabbing a glass from the cupboard and pouring himself a glass of water. When neither man responded, he turned to them, eyebrows raised. “Well, tell me what?”

Alec squeezed his eyes shut, clenching his jaw hard enough that he heard his teeth grind audibly. He opened his mouth to speak and was, for once, saved by Simon’s loud mouth.

“Dinner’s here!”

Alec sped out of the room as quick as possible.

The look in Magnus’ eyes as he left told him that this conversation was far from over.

It had only just begun.

Chapter Text

Alec had never been so thankful for Simon Lewis and his ability to fill any silence with endless chatter. Normally, it would have Alec wanting to slam his head against the nearest wall but right now, as Magnus kept shooting him side eyed glances, he wanted nothing more than for Simon to keep talking.

“Anyway, I just gotta say, Alec is seriously like, the best boyfriend you could have, Magnus. This guy spent night after night doing everything he could think of to get you home, like how awesome is that? You guys seriously have like, one of the greatest love stories. I mean, Raphael and I have a pretty great one but I thought he hated me for the first month until he finally talked to me about stuff and-”

“Simon, mi amor, it’s getting late. Perhaps, we should turn in for the night.” Raphael’s tone was nonchalant but Alec could see the high strung tension in his posture. Alec supposed that even Raphael had had enough of the man’s long winded rambling.

“Oh. Oh, yeah. I guess you’re right. You do have court tomorrow. I’ll go get the bed ready.” Simon stood, shooting his fiance an unreadable glance, and was gone down the hallway a moment later. Magnus’ arched a brow, sipping a glass of wine. He had found the bottle in Alec’s cupboard and hadn’t hesitated to crack it open.

“You two are sleeping here?” He asked, looking over his drink at Raphael, who shot a glance at Alec. Alec’s eyes widened and he shook his head very slightly. The last thing Alec needed right now was Magnus finding out that someone was after Raphael.

“Uh...yes. Our apartment is undergoing renovations and Alec was kind enough to offer us his spare bedroom.” Raphael smiled tightly. Magnus hummed and nodded, taking another large gulp of his wine and finishing the glass. He stared at it for a moment before standing, unfolding his legs from the couch and making his way to the kitchen in silence. Raphael immediately glared at Alec.

“What are you doing?! He finally gets back, you two are fine for a few hours and now you’re sitting five feet away from each other on the couch and he is drinking a whole bottle of wine by himself!”

“Well it isn’t my fault he is so damn observant! He knows something’s going on and nobody is telling him! Of course it’s awkward!” Alec whispered back, gesturing toward the kitchen angrily.

Raphael groaned, leaning against the back of the couch in exasperation. “You are supposed to be the one telling him!”

“Alexander?” Magnus’ voice called from the kitchen. Alec immediately stood up, throwing Raphael a concerned glance which was returned with an irritated glare, and made his way to the kitchen.

When he entered, Magnus was leaning against the counter, drinking another glass of wine. Alec narrowed his eyes at the half empty bottle and approached his boyfriend, reaching out to place a hand on his arm. “Hey, what’s up?”

“I was thinking that maybe...we could go back to the loft? Not that your apartment isn’t wonderful but I’d really like to spend the night somewhere familiar for once.” Magnus’ eyes were a bit glazed and Alec gently took the glass of alcohol from him, pulling the man closer and rubbing a hand up and down his back.

“Of course. Let me just make sure that Raphael and Simon have everything they need and we will go, okay?”

Magnus nodded silently, resting his head down on Alec’s shoulder. Alec inhaled deeply, cradling the man’s head and playing with his hair.

“Whatever it is, you don’t have to tell me now. But when you’re ready, I want you to know I love you and nothing will change that. Not a year and a half apart, not ten years, not anything.” Magnus’ voice was slightly muffled in Alec’s neck, his words slurred ever so slightly with exhaustion and alcohol and Alec couldn’t help the worry that tugged painfully in his chest. He pulled back and kissed Magnus’ forehead.

“I love you too. Give me just a moment to grab my things and we’ll head home, yeah?”

Alec made his way back to the living room, grabbing one of his go bags from where he left it next to the couch. He discreetly packed away his guns, leaving the one he had tucked into his waistband where it was. He grabbed his laptop and double checked that he had all of his paperwork, tucking it into the bottom of the bag to make sure Magnus wouldn’t see it.

“Call me if you need anything. Or Jace. Someone will be watching the flat all night so you can rest easy.” Alec spoke as he zipped up his bag. Raphael remained silent until Alec looked up to see him, arms crossed and his usual grumpy expression in place. Alec sighed, running a hand through his hair. He opened his mouth to defend himself against the accusing look on Raphael’s face but was stopped when the other man held his hand up.

“Just...figure it out. Before you dig the hole you’re in any deeper.”

Alec pressed his lips together in a tight line and threw his bag over his shoulder.

“I mean it, Lightwood.”

“Yeah, yeah, I got it, Santiago.”




“Morgenstern.” Jonathan answered the phone, twirling a pen between his fingers. He was sitting in his parked car, staring intently out the windshield. He watched two people exit the apartment building he was parked across the street from and make their way into the parking garage. He started his car.

“So, when do we nab him? I sure can’t wait to see that pretty face again…” The purr of Camille Belcourt’s voice came through the phone, instantly ruining any semblance of good mood he’d had and Jonathan sneered.

“What did I tell you about calling this number, Camille? I don’t have time to listen to you talk about how much you want a piece of Magnus Bane.” Jonathan drawled boredly, turning on his car when the black Escalade pulled out of the parking garage. He waited for a beat or two before he began following it, putting two car lengths between them.

“Like you don’t want a piece of him too? We can both agree that we at least have that in common.” She laughed, a sound that made Jonathan’s head hurt.

“You and I are completely different people, Camille. And wanting to kill him is different than wanting to fuck him. You played your part in getting him back to New York, now you need to wait.” He rolled his eyes at the woman’s impatience as he turned a corner, following the Escalade without paying much attention to where it was going. They’d stop sooner or later and he presumed it would be at the loft. Lightwood was nothing if not predictable.

“And how can I be so sure you won’t kill him before I at least get to talk to him?”

“I’ll let you speak to him, Camille. Don’t get snotty with me. Besides, why are you insistent anyway? He isn’t going to fuck you. Not unless you drug him.”

“What makes you think that isn’t the plan?” Camille asked, her voice unnaturally sweet. Jonathan cast a glance at the clock as the Escalade in front of him turned another corner.

“Because you like when people willingly submit to you. After all, how many years did you spend manipulating him?”

“Well, when you put it that way, then maybe I’d like a little more time with him before you take him out. See if I can get him to like me again.” Camille’s tone made it seem like she was going to say more but Jonathan promptly hung up the phone, tossing it into the passenger seat. He really needed to take care of her soon. She was starting to get on his last nerve.

The Escalade he was following turned another corner and Jonathan cursed. The longer he had to follow them, the more likely he was to get noticed. He knew his windows were tinted enough that it wouldn’t give him away but Lightwood wasn’t stupid and shockingly, neither was Bane. One of them was bound to notice the car that had been tailing them since they left. With a sigh, Jonathan took an opposite turn and let them get away. He knew where they were going. He was simply sick of waiting. He figured that taking out two birds with one gun might be fun but he didn’t have all night to spare and honestly, he was too tired to enjoy it anyway.

No matter. Bane would be there in the morning.




“I don’t want to alarm you, darling, but we are being followed. The gray sedan with the tinted windows.” Magnus’ voice was bordering on bored as he glanced in the side mirror, shifting it slightly to see better. Alec had already noticed but he hadn’t brought it up. Magnus would only question his suspicion and Alec still wasn’t ready for that conversation.

“I’ll around then.” Alec mumbled, taking a random turn and watching as the car followed. They had spent most of the drive in silence, with Magnus fiddling with his rings and picking at his nail polish and Alec, lost in his own thoughts and trying to figure out how to tell his boyfriend that he was part of a crime family.

He hadn’t come up with a good way yet.

On one hand, if Magnus got mad, he’d be a hypocrite. On the other, Alec had dragged Raphael into the whole mess and endangered his life. The same went for Catarina. And Magnus probably wouldn’t take too kindly to Alec endangering the only family Magnus had ever had just for his sake. And if Alec admitted being part of a crime family, Jace would have to and Isabelle would have to and Clary would too and Magnus had known Clary for years-

“Alexander, I’d advise that you don’t drive straight to the loft while we’re being tailed.” Magnus’ voice cut through his thoughts, making him snap to attention. He realized that he had gone on autopilot, driving toward the loft again instead of trying to throw off the car following them. He quickly rerouted, taking the next turn incorrectly. Magnus shot him a questioning look that Alec could see in his peripheral vision.

“Something on your mind, darling?” Magnus asked. His tone was gentle but Alec could detect the prying note in it anywhere. He knew Magnus was trying to dig up whatever Alec had been hiding from him since he had gotten back that morning. Despite the long time apart, Magnus could spot Alec’s discomfort from a mile away. After their initial reunion and after Raphael and Simon had come over, Alec had started acting different. Not a lot, but enough for Magnus to notice. His smiles didn’t reach his eyes, his laughter was just shy of nervous, and if Alec thought Magnus didn’t notice the gun in his waistband, he was sorely mistaken. Magnus knew Alec carried a gun, mind you, he always had. But he had never tried so hard to hide it and he had never carried it 24/7. At least, not that Magnus could remember. Perhaps he had gotten more paranoid after finding out about the situation with Jonathan? Or did Alec not trust Magnus now that he knew about the blood on the man’s hands? Magnus spared another glance at his boyfriend, who was staring ahead at the road with an unnecessary intensity. Did Alec even know the whole story about Magnus?


“Not now. Once we get into the loft. I’m having some people do a bug sweep and then we can talk more.”

Magnus shut his mouth with an audible click and didn’t miss the worried look he got from Alec. They had pulled into the parking garage and made their way to the elevator, leaving the majority of Magnus luggage in the car for the night, before he spoke again.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap. But we can’t risk anything. I realized I haven’t had my car checked in the last 24 hours.” Alec gave Magnus an apologetic smile. Magnus reached out and took Alec’s hand with a simple nod and a understanding smile.

“Of course.”

Magnus steeled himself as they approached the familiar double black doors. He felt Alec squeeze his hand before letting go to pull his keys out and unlock the door. Double checking the all clear text he had received from Jace, he pushed the doors open.

He had tried to prepare himself. Really, he had. But no amount of mental preparation could have prepared Magnus to see his home, exactly as he had left it. It was clean of dust, sheets over the furniture, and everything was still in its rightful place. From the paintings to his ever familiar bar cart and ornate throw pillows, everything was there.

The sight had his throat tightening, his next breath hitching in his chest. Alec pulled him closer, wrapping an arm around his waist and resting one large hand on his hip.

“I tried to keep everything clean as often as I could. All of the utilities are still on so you can shower if you’d like.”

The sound of Alec’s voice and the comforting sight of his well decorated apartment had Magnus wiping at his eyes.

“I’m really home.” The words were a mere whisper that made Alec press a kiss to the side of his head.

“You are. I’m going to start pulling the sheets off.” Alec hesitated for a moment before speaking again. “I haven’t been into the bedroom since you left. All the bedding in the cupboard should be clean, I had a cleaning crew run laundry so nothing would be musty, but...I couldn’t sleep in there without you.”

Magnus caught his eyes, guilt welling up in him again. Alec just looked tired, drained of so much energy he couldn’t even be sad. Despite the few hours of sleep that he had gotten earlier with Magnus, he was dead on his feet. Magnus couldn’t say he didn’t feel the same. The cold medicine was wearing off again and he’d found himself fighting back coughing fits more often as the hours passed. Judging by the knowing look Alec gave him whenever he cleared his throat or sniffled, Ragnor had told him about Magnus’ poor health over the past few months.

“Well, darling. How about a shower, a drink, and then you can sleep in there with me?” Magnus twirled away, melancholic mood forgotten and graceful as usual, a mischievous glint in his eyes as he smirked at Alec. Alec rolled his eyes and set their small go bags aside.

“The last thing you look like you need is any sort of physical exertion.” He deadpanned. Despite his remark, he followed Magnus down the short hallway, sheet covered furniture forgotten with the swing of the man’s hips. He could practically hear Magnus rolling his eyes as he responded.

“Not you too. Ragnor has done nothing but tell me how ill and awful I look. I tried to keep up my exercise routine but honestly, it’s hard to do when you are stuck in a tiny loft in the middle of Europe with little to no exercise equipment to be found for the remaining few months of your self inflicted exile.” Magnus flung open the doors to his bedroom, immediately gliding over to the small linen closet to pull out clean sheets and some towels. “Honestly, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’re using exhaustion as an excuse. If you don’t want me anymore, darling-” He joked, hoping his actual feelings of insecurity weren’t noticeable in his voice. He was interrupted when he felt hands rest on his hips, grip tight enough to keep him from turning around and hot breath ghosting over the back of his neck.

“Magnus, you do not look ill or awful. You look exhausted and far too tempting for your own good. If I didn’t think you needed a good night’s sleep and that we didn’t need a long conversation, I’d have you pressed into that mattress already.” Alec’s voice was low, a slight edge to it that made Magnus shiver. He felt the hands on his waist tighten, nails digging slightly into the dips of his hipbones, lips skimming gently over the back of his neck, and the barest graze of teeth along the skin of his shoulder, exposed by the wide necked henley he wore. He gasped, body instantly responding to the touch it knew so well, like it was engraved in his very being, and he tilted his head back, giving Alec more access to his neck. His boyfriend pressed closer, crowding his space and laying open mouthed kisses along Magnus skin, gentle in a way that made Magnus want to cry. He hadn't felt this in so long, hadn't felt Alec , and to have him back again was still far more overwhelming than he could begin to process.

Another soft nip of teeth across the slope of his shoulder had him shuddering and he moved to turn around, to throw the sheets aside and get his hands on Alec and show him how much he missed him-

Alec pulled away. Immediately, Magnus mourned the loss of the warmth of his body against his own and spun around, sheets still in hand and a pout on his face. Alec chuckled, reaching out to drag a thumb along Magnus’ protruding bottom lip, eyes still dangerously dark with lust. Magnus felt heat curl in his belly and he darted his tongue out to twirl around the tip of Alec’s thumb, about to wrap his lips around it when the man pulled his hand away, shaking his head.

“I think it might be best if you shower without me. You seem dead set on causing trouble for both of us. You need to sleep. And I can’t say I’m not in the same boat.” The lust in Alec’s eyes was tamped down as he yawned and gave a disapproving look that had Magnus sighing heavily with disappointment.

“What I need is your di-”

“Shower!” Alec interrupted, eyes wide and taking the sheets from Magnus’ hands. Magnus couldn’t help but laugh and made his way to the en suite bathroom, stripping his shirt off and tossing it aside as he went.

“Oh Alexander, you are still so innocent sometimes. Everytime I worry I’ve corrupted you, you turn that pretty red color and remind me you’re just a sweet boy who runs his family’s jewelry business.” Magnus winked as Alec flushed, eyes dragging hungrily down Magnus’ newly exposed skin before turning away and not so discreetly adjusting himself in his pants. With a satisfied grin, Magnus shut the bathroom door.

Alec willed his body to calm down as he collapsed on the bed next to the folded sheets he had yet to place on the mattress.

If only Magnus knew.

Chapter Text

Alec awoke with a start, sitting up in bed immediately and looking around, struggling to force himself to pay attention. Something had pulled him from sleep, a noise that he strained his ears to hear again. When nothing happened, he scrubbed at his eyes, squinting and trying to focus through the lingering grogginess. Looking around the room, he noted it was still dark outside, no sunlight coming through under the thick dark curtains he'd pulled over the windows before falling into bed earlier that night. Reaching out for his phone, Alec smacked his hand around on the bedside table until he hit it and lit the screen up. 4 AM, two hours before his alarm was set to go off. He had no notifications, so it couldn’t have been the device that had woken him. As he continued to rack his brain, wondering if it had been a nightmare he didn’t remember or a noise from the street below, he rested his left hand on the bed next to him, hoping he hadn’t woken Magnus with his sudden movements. His hand hit cool sheets, the spot next to him empty.

The spot next to him was empty.

Any remaining sleep that clouded his mind instantly dissipated.

“Magnus!” Alec shouted weakly, his throat dry and voice hoarse. He didn’t wait for an answer, getting out of bed and making his way toward the door as quick as he could, ripping it open and practically slamming into his boyfriend, who had been about to enter the bedroom. Magnus stared at him with wide eyes as Alec caught him around the waist and prevented them both from stumbling into the doorframe.

“Alexander, what-”

“Magnus, you can’t do that. I told you, you can’t just disappear like that.” Alec’s words came out in a rush, closing his eyes as he held the man to his chest and tried to calm his own erratic breathing. The moment of panic had Alec’s heart hammering in his chest, all the terrible possibilities still racing through his mind. Jonathan had snuck in, Magnus ran away again, he was bleeding out somewhere and Alec couldn’t help, he couldn’t save him, he failed again. The thoughts spun around his head in a whirlwind that had his temples throbbing. He barely registered the hands rubbing across his back, Magnus’ cool touch soothing his heated skin as he struggled to bring himself back to reality. Magnus was here. Magnus was safe.

A few moments passed in complete silence, the only sounds being Alec’s steadying breathing and Magnus, murmuring comforting nonsense into his neck.

“It’s alright, Alexander...Everything is okay.”

When Alec spoke again, his voice still hoarse with sleep and panic, Magnus’ felt a strong urge to cry, his chest clenching painfully with each word.

“I can’t, I can’t wake up without you anymore. Please, I told you...if you need to get up, no matter what it’s for, please just wake me up. Please. ” He begged, hands shaking where they held Magnus tightly to him.

Magnus swallowed harshly, nodding and cursing himself for what he had done to this man. It hadn’t been entirely his fault, Alec would have insisted that if he knew what Magnus was thinking, but the thought remained nevertheless.

“Of course, Alexander. I simply got up to get a drink of water, and I accidentally slammed the cupboard whilst grabbing a glass. I assume that’s what woke you up.” Magnus’ voice was quiet against Alec’s neck and he felt the man nod slightly.

“Yeah, yeah...that was probably it.”

Magnus pulled away and smiled faintly. Alec stared back, teary eyed and hazy. He lifted a hand to stroke soothingly through the hair on the nape of Alec's neck and nodded toward the bed. “Let’s get back to sleep, yes?”




When Alec awoke again, two hours later, to his phone ringing loudly, he reached for Magnus almost instantly. He sighed in relief, the tension in his shoulders easing when his hand found the firm muscles of Magnus’ back, the skin smooth and warm to the touch. He moved to cuddle closer to the other man when his phone rang again. He groaned and reached for it, answering without checking the caller ID.


“Hey, listen, I know I said that we wouldn’t call you for at least a few days but-” Jace’s voice was apologetic but Alec could hear the stress in it. He knew this would happen. Jace and Isabelle were smart, but Alec knew a lot of things they didn’t about their so called ‘empire’ and had connections and power they didn’t. Not for a lack of trying, of course. But Alec kept his siblings at arms length from the worse aspects of it all the best he could. Which meant sometimes, things had to be dealt with by him and him only.

“Jace, skip the apologies and get to the point.” Alec demanded. Magnus had rolled over now, sleepily glaring at the disruption to his rest. He propped himself up, blinking and looking around as he pushed his hair out of his face. He frowned when he saw Alec on the phone and flopped back against the pillows, curling an arm under his head and watching Alec’s face closely as the call continued. His expression got significantly more grim with every passing moment, the familiar lines of distress forming on his forehead. A few minutes of Jace talking and Alec was already in a bad mood, Magnus thought with a huff. Figures .

“I can come in if need be.” Alec shot a look at Magnus as he spoke. Magnus simply sighed, the warm of the bed suddenly stifling, and rolled over, throwing the blankets back. He climbed out of bed quickly and made his way to his vanity, grabbing a silk blue robe he had pulled from the closet the night before and tying it loosely around his body. He padded his way into the kitchen, smiling to himself at the familiar art on the walls, the sight of even the plain wallpaper bringing warmth to his chest. He busied himself with readying the coffee machine and drummed his fingers on the counter, letting his thoughts get lost in the slow, steady drips of coffee. Alec emerged from the bedroom a few minutes later, wearing low slung sweatpants and an irritated look on his face. Magnus arched a brow.

“Work calls?” He asked coolly.

Alec grumbled something unintelligible as he poured himself a glass of water. Magnus waited patiently, knowing Alec would talk when he was ready. Alec took a few sips before he spoke, clearing his no longer dry throat and leaning back against the counter.

“Jace is having an...issue. With something at work. A deal. I might have to go in and take care of it myself.”

Magnus hummed in response, not surprised at the vague description. Alec never bothered with details about his job, something Magnus had always found odd for someone as successful as him. Alec was never one to brag, however, so perhaps it wasn’t all that odd after all. Regardless, the news of Alec’s calling to work had Magnus in a sour mood.

The coffee machine beeped and he turned away from Alec, searching through the cupboards behind him for a mug. He found one of his favorites, a dark blue one with gold glitter on the edges. He rinsed it free of dust and poured himself a cup of coffee. He walked over to the fridge and opened it, promptly realizing as he did that there was no milk.

In fact, there wasn’t anything. Nobody had lived here in almost a year and a half and the instant coffee Magnus had just brewed was probably older than that.

He sighed heavily and slammed the fridge shut, setting his cup on the counter. Alec watched him, a concerned frown set on his face. Magnus wasn’t keen on having any sort of conversation about his time away this early in the morning so he steeled his expression when he turned back to his boyfriend.

“I suppose some grocery shopping is in order.” Magnus forced a smile and turned to leave the kitchen, intending on getting dressed. Alec caught his arm, firmly pulling him backwards.

“You aren’t going anywhere without me. I can have groceries dropped off.” Alec pulled his phone from the pocket of his sweatpants. Magnus felt an unexpected stab of anger and jerked his arm from Alec’s grip.

“I am not a child , Alexander. And despite the fact that you haven’t addressed it, I know you know how capable I am of caring for myself.” Magnus narrowed his eyes at Alec, who looked slightly taken aback at the tone of Magnus’ voice. Alec had expected a lot of emotions when Magnus came back. Guilt, sorrow, even some reluctance and confusion but anger wasn’t one he had prepared for. At least not directed at him and especially not the scornful and biting outburst he had just received. It made his own emotions bubble to the surface almost immediately, the initial anger he felt at being abandoned, the bitterness of being lied to for so long twisting in his stomach like a knife and before he could think about what he was saying, he snapped.

“I’m not treating you like a child, Magnus. Or have you forgotten that a murderous psychopath is after you because you failed to be as capable as you insist you are?”

Silence settled almost instantly. Alec’s jaw clamped shut with a painful click, the muscle twitching. His anger dissipated the moment he saw the expression that had taken over his boyfriend’s face.

Magnus looked like he had been slapped, eyes wide and jaw dropped. It took him a moment to recover, mind floundering for words to respond with, and when he did, he saw red.

“You have no right , Alexander Gideon Lightwood. Do you realize how much I risked, how much I gave up just to keep you alive? To keep everyone alive?” Magnus was fuming, color flaming in his cheeks and his lips curled back as he spoke. “Yes, I fucked up! I missed! It was stupid and I regret it every day but I have done everything, everything in my power to make up for it and you do not get to make me feel like a worse person for it! For God's sake, I haven't even been home for a full 24 hours." Magnus pointed his finger in Alec’s face, tears of frustration in his eyes. “You are the last person I expected this from.” He shook his head as Alec reached out for him, hands hesitant enough that Magnus’ glare only hardened and he stomped from the kitchen. Alec heard the bedroom door slam and he dropped his hands back to his side, eyes fixed on the glaring white tile floor. His phone buzzed again in his pocket and he answered it wearily.

“Jace, what?” Alec rubbed his forehead, exasperated for multiple reasons now. And it wasn’t even 7 AM yet.

“Wow, mood change that much in just a few minutes?” Jace’s smug voice made Alec want to snap his phone in half.

“Shut up and tell me what you want. You called again in five minutes. What the hell is it that is so important that I have to deal with you twice in such a short amount of time?” He knew his snippy attitude was unnecessary, it wasn’t really Jace’s fault and he was only doing what Alec told him to do, but he couldn’t bring himself to care enough to change it.

“Right… Sorry?  We just got a development on Jonathan. It involves that conniving bitch Camille aren’t going to like it.” Jace’s voice was hesitant, as if he really didn’t want to tell Alec what the news was, and Alec felt the last of his patience go up in smoke.

“Will you just say it?” He hissed, teeth grating against each other.

“Camille...Camille set you up. She gave you that information about Ragnor to get Magnus back to New York City at the exact time Jonathan wanted him here. That's why we had nothing for a year and a half. They must have been working on finding out where he was and then just biding their time until they told us. Jonathan must have some sort of plan and we have no idea what it is so I’d suggest you do not let Magnus out of your sight for even a moment.”

A pit formed in Alec’s stomach and he instantly ended the call without another word, making his way quickly to the bedroom. He threw the door open without knocking, startling Magnus, who had been doing his makeup at his vanity. The hand holding his eyeliner pencil jerked and stabbed him in the eye.

“Ow! Damnit, Alec! Can’t you try being a little less…” Magnus waved his hand in Alec’s general direction, searching for words. “That?”

Alec, momentarily relieved at the sight of him and his anger on the backburner, arched a scarred brow. “That?”

Magnus groaned and tossed the eyeliner down, spinning around on his vanity stool. He crossed his arms, now clothed in a tight blue shirt paired with a silver waistcoat, and glared half heartedly. “Yes, that. The panicked, throwing doors open, wild eyed, ‘Magnus is dead if I can’t see him’ sort of way you’ve been acting.”

Alec gave Magnus a flat look. “I’m sorry for caring. Especially after just learning your ex-girlfriend is working with the man who wants to murder you and cleverly arranged to give me enough information to get you home, to Brooklyn. Just where Jonathan wants you.”

Magnus heaved a sigh, standing up from his chair with a careless wave of his hands. “Camille doesn’t scare me. Neither does Jonathan. My fear is him going after the people I love. I trust that you have some sort detail on Raphael and Catarina? With all those hired mercenaries, and let’s be honest, that’s what they are because any other agency would have turned me into the law, surely you have security to spare.”

Alec simply nodded. “They’re being watched. But I’d rather-”

“That settles it then. Jonathan can come after me all he wants. I won’t miss this time.” Magnus flashed a dangerous smirk and strolled over to one of the large paintings adorning the wall. It was one of the more abstract pieces that Alec didn’t quite understand but he had grown to enjoy it over the time he had lived at the loft.

He watched in shock as Magnus ran his hand along the side of said painting and suddenly pulled at the edge of the frame. There was a soft schick and the entire front of the painting slid sideways to reveal the wall was inset with shelves that held various weapons. Magnus plucked a particularly powerful looking rifle off the top shelf and looked it over.

“Definitely could use some cleaning but this’ll do the trick at long range. I have a few ideas if I can’t catch him by surprise, of course, but I much prefer avoiding any close confrontation. Far too big of a chance to get blood on my clothes.” Magnus grinned wickedly, propping the gun on his shoulder as Alec gaped.

“ long has that been there?” He pointed to the painting. Magnus’ smile widened, all teeth and pride.

“I had that installed long before I met you, Alexander. And it isn’t the only one. I don’t tend to use any of it often, really. I spent my first few years on the dirtier side of this business but over the past ten, after I had a child to care for, I really kept my involvement to the planning side of things. Rather than the executing .” He winked and Alec balked at the joke. This Magnus, the one who carried a gun like it was a simple martini and made jokes about literal murder, was not something he could have conjured up in even tin his wildest dreams. A fleeting thought reminded Alec that if Magnus knew the truth about him, he’d probably feel much the same. Alec shook it from his mind, focusing on the sight in front of him.

“Magnus, you can’t just...we don’t even know where Jonathan is. He could be anywhere in this city or even have left it already.”

Magnus scoffed and set the gun back on the shelf, exchanging it for a smaller but just as deadly looking handgun. He checked that it was loaded, sliding the clip out and examining it as he spoke. “Alexander, settle down. I will find Jonathan. You have nothing to worry about. I know you think I’m in danger but I assure you, things are under control.”

“Then why did you have to leave?” Alec asked, catching Magnus off guard enough for him to freeze in his tracks. He took a moment to steady himself, tucking the gun in his waistband and looking up to meet Alec’s eyes. Alec watched his Adam’s apple bob as he swallowed harshly, clasping his hands together, rings clicking loudly in the silence between them.

“A day and a half after I...botched the job, Jonathan himself showed up on my doorstep. He gave me two choices. I either pack and leave within the hour, or he would begin to capture and torture my family. He listed everyone’s address, their routines, all of it, until he made sure I got the picture. I was in no position to argue, Alexander. I couldn’t write a note, I couldn’t tell you or anyone anything. It was pure luck that Ragnor ran into me in Norway, two months into my disappearance. He used to be involved in a similar...area of expertise as I am. And he agreed to help me, after wrangling the information out of me. Quite literally, I might add.” Magnus paused, searching for words. “I never meant to hurt anyone. But the idea of Jonathan getting a hold of Raphael. Catarina, Madzie. Or you. Alexander, I couldn’t risk it. So I ran and he agreed to leave you all alone. He wanted to chase me. I never for a second really believed I was safe. He isn’t going to stop until he kills me or he’s dead.” Magnus tilted his chin up, looking determined.

“So, I have to kill him. And I understand if learning about my past and my profession has changed your feelings for me. I won’t blame you if you wish to leave. But let me take care of the threat first before you go disappearing on me.”

Alec’s eyes bore into him as silence stretched out beyond Magnus’ little speech. He was about to say something more when Alec walked forward, only stopping once he was in front of Magnus, one hand coming up to grip his arm and the other reaching for his right hand. He twisted their fingers together and leveled Magnus with a serious look, his hazel eyes bright with understanding.

“How many times do I have to tell you, Magnus Bane?” Alec murmured, his finger rubbing the silver banded ring on Magnus’ hand. Magnus smiled softly, knowing what Alec’s next words were going to be before he even opened his mouth. Alec returned the look, a loving grin stretching across his lips.

“I’m not going anywhere.”

Chapter Text

“You want to wait?” Camille sneered, crossing her arms as Jonathan poured himself another glass of wine. The two of them had arranged their meeting in one of Jonathan’s more extravagant apartments and he could already see the way she was eyeing some of the expensive decor he kept on display, no doubt planning to slip things into her purse if he didn’t watch too closely. He swirled the wine around in his glass and looked up, brows furrowed in fake concern.

“Is that a problem, Camille?”

She scoffed, throwing her hands up in irritation. “I don’t see the point. By not just going after them now, you’re only giving Lightwood more time to track you down and smoke your sorry ass.” She stalked around the room, her heels clicking loudly on the hardwood. Jonathan watched closely, already planning how to punish her if she so much as scuffed a single board. “After all, Magnus is too much of a coward to try again and Lightwood did seem quite tense when I visited him. I’d suggest you look over your shoulder a little more often for now, Sebastian , darling.” She trailed her fingers along one of his favorite paintings, a smug smirk on her face. Jonathan’s grip on the wine glass in his hand tightened, his jaw tight as he spoke again.

“I assure you, Camille, that Lightwood will do no such thing to me. You, on the other hand…” He trailed off. Camille glared at him and Jonathan sipped his wine, rolling his eyes.

“If you’re suggesting giving me up to that son of a bitch-”

Jonathan moved toward Camille, startling her. Before she knew it, Jonathan had her pressed against the wall, one hand on her throat and the other smashing the wine glass inches from her face, red liquid spattering onto her skin and dress. Blood began to drip down the wall from between Jonathan’s fingers, the glass digging into his skin. She choked, her hands scrabbling at the hand around her throat. Jonathan took a deep breath, his dark, practically soulless eyes boring into Camille’s face.

“I’m...not suggesting anything, Camille. I want you dead and if I decide to let Lightwood be the one to do it, then so be it. You exist on borrowed time, do you understand me?” Jonathan hissed the words through gritted teeth and Camille barely managed a nod. He took his now bloodied and injured hand and stroked along her cheek, smearing his own blood across her flawless skin with a sick grin. She darted her eyes down toward his hand, a desperate and disgusted noise rising with the bile in her throat. Jonathan laughed, low and humorless before he pulled away. Camille gasped loudly, one hand coming up to her throat and the other wiping at her face frantically. She stumbled, glaring at the psychopath in front of her.

“You sick fuck, I’ll-”

“You’ll what? Kill me?” He laughed, walking back over to his desk where the wine was. He picked up the bottle, not even wincing as the glass in his palm dug further into the skin, and took a swig. He wiped at his mouth and turned back to her. “I’d love to see you try, Camille. We both know you aren’t capable of it and it isn’t like anyone is going to help you. Who would kill for you , Camille? After all the people you have hurt and manipulated...who would even notice you were gone?” Jonathan arched a brow, his eyes empty even with the wide smile on his face. Camille felt a shiver run over her skin and she straightened herself up, snatching her purse off the nearby chair and running out the door without another word to the man.

Jonathan smiled in satisfaction and pulled his cellphone from his pocket, sending a quick text off.

Things were going just the way he wanted them to, Camille be damned.




“I don’t have a lot of time, start talking.” These were the first words out of Alec’s mouth when Jace met him as the elevator doors opened to the operations sector floor of the Lightwood building. Jace was holding a few files and Underhill was standing nearby, holding a tablet. Neither man looked particularly happy, which only put Alec more on edge.

He had agreed to leave Magnus alone only after making him promise to not leave the loft for any reason. He may have also placed four extra people on protection detail for him, but Magnus didn’t need to know that.

“Besides the news on Jonathan, our main issue here is actually Robert.” Jace said, falling into step next to his brother, who made his way toward the main operations room, which was essentially just a large open area with a lot of computers and a lot of people milling about working on various coverups, plans, and whatever else Alec wanted them to be working on. It’s where Jace spent most of his time, making sure all of their fronts ran smoothly and all the logistics of faking legitimate businesses were in order. It’s one of the main reasons Alec hated being referred to as a ‘mobster.’ He felt their operation was far more modern and sophisticated. A crime family of the modern era, as Izzy had once said.

Underhill fell into step on Alec’s other side, both he and Jace keeping up with Alec’s long strides through years of practice. The man wasn’t known for slowing down so others could keep up, in any sense.

“He sabotaged us.” Underhill added. Alec cast a glance at him, eyebrows furrowed as they entered the meeting room and approached the main computers. Underhill tapped one of the large screens and brought up some information, Robert’s photo included. Alec recognized the large ballroom the man was standing in.

“The long con we had been working with Imogen Herondale? I thought that was successful. Her accounts were drained and the information we got was enough to topple her whole organization.” Alec looked mildly irritated. Imogen had been a huge job, the political figure had caused a lot of messes for the Lightwood family over the years and Alec had developed a plan to slip a few people into her inner circle over the last three years. Jace had been one of them, pretending to be a long lost grandson. It had taken extensive fabricating but given the fact that there wasn’t any record of Jace’s real family anyway, it hadn’t been too difficult to make him a Herondale. Once that was in place, he spent many weekends at Imogen’s side, playing the role of the directionless grandson with gusto. He had even gotten a job in her office, working closer with her than her secretary. They had played on the fact that she had no remaining family to connect with and in turn, they had obtained enough information on her fraudulent actions, extortion and electoral manipulation being the most important ones, that she could be removed from the political game entirely. She was currently on trial and last Alec heard, would get quite the sentence. It helped that half of the jury worked for him, the judge bribed, and the majority of lawyers paid to not take her case. It had been a long game but an important one. Imogen had no place in the politics of New York. Homophobic, racist, and entirely focused on benefiting the rich. Alec had been getting ill just watching her speeches and he was not about to allow that woman to become Mayor in the city he practically ran.

“Well, yes. And she will go to prison, it’s already been determined. But Robert…” Underhill trailed off, tapping a few things on screen to bring up an article published that morning. “Robert has used his own position as a Lightwood to bring light to the fact that she was framed. Which, of course, she wasn’t. But it’s enough to make the wrong people dig deeper and the last thing we need is anyone finding out about our involvement.”

Alec clenched his fists by his sides, anger making his muscles rigid and his lip curl. “Robert Lightwood is endangering all of his children and their livelihoods for a women he previously stated was a nuisance to him? Despite agreeing with her on most things? What the hell is his angle?” Alec read through the article, his gaze pointed and focused as his eyes scanned back and forth across the screen quickly.

Jace frowned. “He is putting his name on the line as well though, I don’t understand. Why would he direct attention to himself like that?”

“He is putting the Lightwood name in the spotlight. If anyone finds out that any of us had something to do with this, we’re done. It doesn’t matter that everything we found is true. Jury tampering and bribery are felonies. Politically corrupt or not, it would be enough to get a mistrial declared. And then Imogen is free with the public to speculate whether she was really guilty or not.” Alec shook his head. “Robert never cared for political games. He always said I needed to focus on more profitable crimes rather than trying to ‘make the world a better place’. It’s the main thing we disagreed on. Robert didn’t care who he preyed on or affected. Rich or poor, good or bad, as long as he made money, he was happy.” Alec’s voice was low, the hate clear in his tone.

“We have to do something, Alec.” Jace looked at his brother and then back at the screen. “If Imogen finds out that I’m not her grandson, at this point in the game, she will know who leaked the info. We are all in danger.”

Alec nodded, reaching into the pocket of his slacks to pull out his phone. “Robert needs to be taken care of. And I need names! I need to know who he drug into this mess so I can figure out who needs to be dealt with and who isn’t a threat. Now. Get the information onto my desk as quick as possible.” He turned to leave, sending a quick text off to his mom before ringing Magnus.

As he made his way back to the elevator, Magnus answered.

“Well, you didn’t last long. A whole 25 minutes without speaking to me?” Magnus teased, making a smile tug at Alec’s lips, his stress momentarily forgotten.

“Don’t pretend you didn’t miss me already.”

He could practically see Magnus smile as he answered. “Oh darling, I would never. Now, are you coming home and bringing food from the Indian place on the corner of 30th by any chance…?” Magnus hinted. Alec rolled his eyes as he hit the button for the bottom floor. Just as the doors were about to close, a hand appeared in between them, halting their progress. Isabelle stepped in and Jace followed. Clary appeared a moment later. Alec glared, knowing he was being cornered judging by the smile on Izzy’s face.

“I can bring the food but it might come with a side of uninvited guests.”

Magnus laughed, a bright sound that had Alec’s siblings forgotten and a grin spreading on his face. “I assume you mean your lovely siblings and perhaps Clarissa? They are not unwelcome, I’d actually been hoping to see them soon. Apologies are in order.” Alec shot a look at the trio, who were all pretending, quite poorly, that they weren’t listening to his conversation. He shifted a little from foot to foot and turned his body slightly away from the group.

“I’ll be home soon, alright? I love you.”

“I love you too, Alexander.” Magnus warm voice made Alec smile and Izzy tried to hide her own grin at seeing the dopey lovestruck look on her brother’s face. She hadn’t realized how much she had missed it.

Alec hung up the phone, slipping it back into his pocket. The elevator dinged and the four of them exited into the parking garage. Alec immediately spun around to face them, face stern.

“No million questions. Got it? Magnus doesn’t need you all showing up and interrogating him.”

“Alec, have a little faith. We aren’t complete assholes.” Jace scoffed, mimicking his brother’s stance by crossing his arms. Alec glared.

“You’ll understand if I have a hard time believing that about you, Jace.” He looked at all of them and sighed heavily. “Just...try not to make a big deal of his disappearance, okay?”

Izzy frowned. “It’s kind of a big deal though, Alec. I mean, he abandoned literally everyone in the middle of the night and we didn’t know if he was actually alive until five months ago. Just because we know the circumstances now doesn’t change the fact that it affected a lot of us.” She gave Alec a pointed look as she spoke the last few words and his gaze hardened.

“Izzy, don’t try and play my therapist right now, okay? Magnus and I are dealing with things just fine.” He turned on his heel and headed toward where he had parked his car, fishing his keys from his pocket. Isabelle shared a look with the other two and they quickly followed.

“Alec, have you even talked with him about how you feel? How hard this has been for you?” Isabelle pressed, walking quickly just to keep up with him.

“I’m fine, Iz. I just wanted him home and now he is. All the stuff from before doesn’t matter. His safety is the most important thing right now.” Alec’s voice left no room for discussion but Isabelle wasn’t about to back down.

“I get that and we are doing everything we can to take care of Jonathan but you can’t just pretend that you aren’t mad. That you aren’t hurt by what he did.”

Clary cut in, sympathetic. “You’re allowed to feel the way you feel, Alec. I know he probably feels guilty but that doesn’t mean you aren’t justified in being hurt.”

Alec spun around again, throwing his hands up between them, fingers spread and tense. “Stop! Stop it, both of you. I don’t need this right now, okay?” The muscle in his jaw twitched. “Magnus and I are figuring things out just fine. I don’t need intervention or whatever. Okay? So if you three want to come see him, fine. But the moment you start this shit, you’re gone. And before you ask, no. He doesn’t know what I do and I don’t intend for him to find out today.” He saw Jace open his mouth to speak and he cut him off. “I don’t want your opinions on that. So, either keep quiet, or stay here.”

Not for the first time, Alec felt nothing but frustration for his siblings. They always thought they were helping but all they did was bring things to the surface, open old wounds and try and make him talk about things he’d rather forget. The time without Magnus was one of the lowest points in Alec’s life and he wasn’t about to unload all of that onto the man with a target on the back of his head. It didn’t matter to Alec how he felt right now. Magnus was top priority and if they didn’t understand that then he wasn’t about to waste time explaining it to them.

Clary looked mildly hurt, and Alec was sure Jace would try and give him hell for that later. His siblings just looked irritated, arms crossed and identical expressions of resigned frustration on their face. Alec took their silence as agreement and gave a final firm nod.

“Come on then. I have to stop and grab lunch.”




Alec carefully balanced the bags and boxes of takeout as he unlocked the loft door and swung it open, bumping it aside with his shoulder. He dropped his keys on the small table nearby and headed into the living room.

“Magnus?” He called out, trying not to sound concerned. He heard footsteps coming closer and after a moment, Magnus appeared from the bedroom. His hair had been styled, his makeup done, and he had exchanged his previous outfit for something else. Instead of the silver waistcoat and dark blue button up, he now wore a deep emerald shirt, buttoned up only to the middle of his chest and covered by a selection of necklaces. He wore different pants as well, these ones a deep black rather than the light gray from before and form fitting. His shoes matched his shirt, the deep green leather shining with polish. Alec arched a brow.

“Going through your closet?”

Magnus grinned, doing a small twirl for show. “You like it? There are so many pieces I forgot about and honestly, I don’t know how I did without them.”

Alec smiled and set the food down on the coffee table, arranging out portions and utensils. Magnus turned to the three waiting patiently in the doorway. Clary stepped forward first, tears shining in her eyes. With a gentle expression, Magnus held his arms open and Clary immediately wrapped her arms around him tightly, burying her face in his shoulder.

“Hello, Biscuit.” He murmured, stroking her hair with one hand. Clary sniffled, pulling away and wiping at her eyes quickly. She gave a watery laugh and wiped her eyes again.

“Sorry, I didn’t want to get your shirt wet. Um, hi, Magnus. God, you look the exact same.” She laughed again and Magnus smirked.

“Well, thank you, darling but there is no need to lie. I know I’m looking a little ragged around the edges.” Magnus smile dimmed slightly and Clary shook her head.

“You’re back and alive. That’s what matters.”

“And you know you still look good.” Isabelle’s voice cut in as she stepped forward, a wide smile on her face as she wrapped Magnus in a hug.

“Dearest Isabelle.” He hugged her tightly for a moment before pulling back and looking her over. “You look wonderful. Alexander Wang?” Magnus asked, gesturing to the tight black satin dress she wore. The asymmetrical bottom swished slightly as she shifted to show off her shoes.

“Correct. And Louboutin’s, of course.” She flashed the red bottom of her pumps. Magnus shook his head.

“I don’t understand where you Lightwoods get all this money. Some jewelry business you must run. They aren’t blood diamonds, are they?” Magnus teased. Alec tensed up but Jace only laughed.

“No, Magnus. No blood diamonds. Just Izzy’s wonderful design skills and Alec’s business degree. Now, are you going to say hi to your favorite Lightwood?” Jace stepped forward next to Izzy and Magnus’ smile turned wry.

“Blondie. You haven’t changed one bit.”

Jace grinned in response and pulled Magnus into a firm hug that took him by surprise. He clapped the man on the back and lowered his voice, speaking in Magnus’ ear. “Don’t tell anyone but I might have missed you. Alec’s insufferable without you around.”

Magnus chuckled as they pulled away from one another. Jace flushed slightly at Alec’s raised brow and rubbed the back of his neck. “What? Everyone else was hugging Magnus. Obviously, it wouldn’t have been right to deprive him of a hug from all this.” Jace gestured to himself, the cocky smile on his face failing to draw attention away from the embarrassed blush on his cheeks. Clary rolled her eyes along with Alec, both of them speaking simultaneously in disbelief. “Riiight.”

The others around them struggled to hide smiles. Alec made a disgusted face and sat himself down on the couch.

“Foods getting cold.” He grumbled, picking up a fork and grabbing his box of pad thai. Magnus looked amused as he sat next to Alec, slightly amazed that he was capable of eating noodles angrily. Alec’s grumpy attitude truly knew no bounds.

“So, Magnus. How is...things?” Jace asked, realizing mid sentence that he had absolutely nothing to talk about that didn’t relate to the unfortunate situation Magnus was involved in. Alec shot him a look, the seriousness of it not being lost despite the orange curry smudged on his chin. Jace ducked his head, staring into his food.

Magnus took a careful bite of his butter chicken and wiped his mouth with a napkin. He deliberated for a moment. “Well. I’m glad to be back in New York. And to see all of your wonderful shining faces again. Sadly, I haven’t done much of anything, nor can I. At least until Jonathan is taken care of.”

“We’re working on that, don’t worry.” Isabelle responded, digging her fork into her next bite. It took a moment for her to realize that silence had fallen and she looked up to see Alec glaring daggers at her and Magnus looking slightly confused as he chewed his food.

“‘We’?” He asked, looking between them for an answer. Alec cleared his throat.

“Isabelle and Jace are helping me manage the situation with we hired.”

The response only made Magnus more confused, a deep ridge forming between his brows. “I’m afraid I don’t quite understand. Won’t this agency of yours take care of Jonathan on their own?”

Alec hesitated. “Well, yes. Obviously he is above any legal action, as we don’t want to give you away in the process. Izzy and Jace just wanted to be kept in the loop. And they’re helping me pay for everything.” He knew how poor his excuse sounded, especially after glancing at his siblings’ faces but Magnus seemed to believe it. Or at the very least, didn’t press the issue further. He simply shrugged and took another bite of his food.

“I suppose I can’t be anything but thankful, then.” He nodded silent thanks at the trio and turned to Alec, smiling. His smile turned into an amused giggle, which he covered up quickly with a cough. Alec raised his brows at him but Magnus only shook his head and reached out, swiping his thumb along the man’s chin. “Orange isn’t your color, darling.” He winked and popped his thumb into his mouth, licking it clean. Alec knew the moment he turned bright red, saw his siblings and Clary’s eyes glint with amusement and he ducked his head, focusing entirely too much on the food in his hands which he no longer had an interest in eating. He hadn’t felt that flustered in a long time and it only served to remind him how much he had missed Magnus, despite the occasional embarrassment he suffered from the other man’s teasing.

“Now red on the other hand…” Magnus continued, trailing off with a smirk. Alec felt the heat burn in his cheeks but couldn’t hold back the smile that tugged at his lips. He felt Magnus place a hand on his knee, rubbing his thumb in slow circles and looked up to see his boyfriend, eyes full of good-natured mirth. Alec rolled his eyes and shook his head as his siblings laughed in the background.

“Red is so Alec’s color. You should see the photos Mom has of when he got into her makeup…” Jace, much to Alec’s mortification, began to regale the story of when Alec was 4 and got into Maryse’s lipstick. The next few hours passed with the group telling one embarrassing story after another about each other, including the time Alec answered the door in one of Magnus’ novelty t-shirts that read “I love Cock(tails)” and his shoulder holster, confusing and scaring the hell out of the delivery man.

By the time Alec had managed to kick his siblings and Clary out, promising they could come visit Magnus again soon, it was dark outside and he felt exhausted. He shut the door and made his way back to the living room where Magnus was cleaning up.

“Magnus, I can take care of that.”

“Nonsense, you look dead on your feet. How much sleep did you get last night anyway?” Magnus asked as he came back in from the kitchen. Alec frowned.

“I...Probably 4 hours.”

Magnus looked alarmed. “Alexander, we went to bed at 12 AM.”

Alec shrugged and took off his suit jacket, folding it over his arm and toeing off his dress shoes, kicking them by the door. “I didn’t get to sleep until about 2. Woke up at 4. Fell asleep again at 4:30. Woke up again at 6.”

Magnus walked over to him, taking the suit jacket from his arms and setting it aside before beginning to loosen and remove his tie. “What did you do while I slept?” He asked, setting the tie aside with the jacket and turning his attention to unbuttoning Alec’s shirt.

“I...I watched you. And answered emails. But mostly I watched you. As much as it might feel like things have gone back to normal...I only just got you back, Magnus. I guess I’m just not quite used to you...being here again.”

Magnus finished undoing every button and Alec let him silently slip the shirt off his shoulders for him. Folding it carefully, Magnus set it aside as well. When he was done, he turned back to a now shirtless Alec and swallowed harshly. “Things aren’t back to normal. I know that. And...I’m sorry. I’ve been neglecting to acknowledge that I wasn’t the only one affected by my choice that night.”

Alec gave him a sad, half hearted smile. “It’s alright. You did what you thought was right.”

Magnus chuckled, gathering up Alec’s clothes and making his way to the bedroom. Alec followed.

“I did what was right, Alexander. It wasn’t as if I had another option.” The matter of fact tone of Magnus’ voice had the irritation Alec had previously kept in check edging into his voice when he answered.

“Of course you did. You could have told me. You could have, I don’t know, just killed Jonathan when he showed up that night? Not lied to your whole family and the people that love you?” Alec knew he was being a hypocrite. But at the moment, when the anger from Magnus’ abandonment was still stewing in his stomach, twisting it into knots and bubbling to the surface, he didn’t care. It wasn’t like Magnus deserved to know the truth at this point anyway. If he could lie and expect everyone to be fine with it then why couldn’t Alec?

Magnus spun on his heel, barely veiled hurt in his eyes as he stared at Alec. “Alexander, I explained this already. Jonathan was going to kill all of you if I told anyone. Anyone at all. I wasn’t going to risk that.”

“Oh, so you couldn’t have sent a letter? Was he really watching you so closely that you couldn’t mail a damn postcard?!” Alec spat. Magnus immediately went on the offensive, his expression closing off. Alec could see the walls slam down in his eyes, any hurt or confusion replaced with firm apathy. This was escalating far quicker than either man had expected, the deeper issues bubbling to the surface every time they tried to pretend things were back to normal.

“Yes, Alec, he was. I was not about to risk any of your lives, Madzie’s life, just to send a fucking post card!”

“I thought you were DEAD!” Alec screamed, his perfectly bottled emotions spilling over in a violent outburst. His anger was all consuming, the pain and betrayal not far behind and making his chest heave as he stared down the man he loved, tears brimming in his eyes. “I thought you were dead and don’t you dare, don’t you dare use Madzie to make me feel bad for just wanting some fucking confirmation, some sign that you weren’t buried somewhere in an unmarked fucking grave, Magnus!”

Magnus’ expression turned cold, his arms crossed over his chest. “I think you need to calm down, Alec. You clearly aren’t thinking rationally.”

Alec shook his head, angrily wiping the tears from his eyes and taking a step forward, closer to Magnus. “No. You don’t get to tell me I’m overreacting. You don’t know what it’s like. You can’t even begin to understand waking up alone with no clue where the love of your life is, no explanation to be had. You don’t get to tell me to calm down , when I was this close to-” Alec cut himself off with a choked intake of breath, his shoulders heaving as he struggled to breathe through his emotions. He shook his head, running a hand through his hair and pointing at Magnus. “You don’t get to run from this. Not anymore. You always run, Magnus. You hide and pretend and you run away from the hard conversations, but not anymore. That’s done. We are having this conversation, now or...or never.” Alec swallowed hard. Magnus’ expression was one of blank indifference and, throwing his hands in the air, he plopped unceremoniously onto the edge of the bed. He smiled, forced and thin lipped.

“Fine, Alec. Have it your way. Go ahead. Tell me what I did wrong.”

Alec made a noise of frustration, tugging roughly on his own hair. “Damnit, Magnus, I don’t want to talk to you like this. I don’t want to talk to fake Magnus, the one with no fucking emotions or- or reactions to anything. I want to talk to you, the real you. Not...not this defense mechanism of a personality.” Alec shook his head again. Magnus stayed quiet for a moment, the smile dropping off his face. He twisted his hands in his lap, looking downward and when he spoke again, his voice was unsteady.

“I think that perhaps I will sleep on the couch tonight.” Without another word, he stood up, avoiding looking at Alec, and went to the closet. When he emerged, he was holding a spare blanket and a pair of pajamas. Alec felt his heart break, his anger morphing into nothing but jarring pain at seeing the carefully arranged expression of nonchalance on his boyfriend’s face. He swallowed, throat dry from yelling and held a hand up to Magnus to stop him from leaving the room. The man arched a challenging eyebrow and Alec suddenly felt more exhausted than he had in years, every joint and muscle in his body aching. He shook his head.

“No. I’ll sleep on the couch.” With a deep breath, Alec turned and left the room, throwing one last quiet sentence over his shoulder as the bedroom door clicked shut behind him.

“Goodnight, Magnus.”

Chapter Text

Even barely awake, Alec was already in a bad mood. His back ached from the too-soft couch, his head was pounding, and his mouth was too dry. All of yesterday’s events came flooding back as soon as he was awake enough to open his eyes and it made him want to crawl back under the blankets and never leave. The sun was pouring through the large wall of windows, shining too bright in his face and making going back to sleep an impossible option. He stood up from the couch, resigned, and tried to stretch the ache from his muscles, rolling his neck and shoulders until he felt a few satisfying pops and some of the soreness had dissipated. He picked up his phone, checking for messages and sighed in relief when there weren’t any. Tossing it back onto the table, he glanced in the direction of the bedroom. Fight or no fight, Alec had to make sure Magnus was okay.

He quietly made his way to the closed door, sliding it open as slowly as he could, just enough to peek inside. Magnus was sprawled out on the large king size bed, diagonal amidst the mess of blankets. He was laying on his stomach, arms wrapped tightly around Alec’s pillow and his face buried in it, his still product laden hair sticking up in an unstyled mess of directions. Affection tightened Alec’s throat and with a pang of sadness, he slid the bedroom door shut.

He made his way back to the couch, sitting down and wrapping the blanket around his shoulders with a yawn. Despite 7 hours of sleep, he still felt exhausted, his thoughts sluggish and his muscles dangerously slow to react. He curled up, tucking his knees up beneath him and leaned sideways against his pillow again. He snagged his phone off the table before he got too comfortable and sent a text to Simon.

Everything going okay?

While waiting for a response, he checked his emails, answering a few of the shorter ones.

right as rain boss. Jace tell you about the Imogen situation???

Alec frowned at the reminder.

Yes, and it’s being taken care of. Just wanted to make sure you and Raphael were alright.

omg were you seriously worried about us??? thats so cute

Alec’s face scrunched up as he typed out a response.

For one, you only need one question mark. For two, you literally work for a crime family and were stalked by someone fairly recently. Of course I’m going to make sure you’re both alive. It isn’t cute, it’s common decency.

His phone buzzed almost as soon as he sent the text off.

nah its cute

Alec rolled his eyes and tossed his phone aside again, deciding not to argue with the frustrating man he unfortunately called his assistant. It took a few more minutes but he managed to convince himself he couldn’t spend the morning moping on the couch, so he stood up and tossed the blanket off his shoulders. He grabbed his phone and entered the bedroom, casting another glance at the man still sleeping soundly in the large bed. He silently made his way into the ensuite bathroom, shutting the door behind him.

Alec turned to grab a towel from the cupboard and caught sight of himself in the bathroom mirror. He turned to his reflection, examining it with a frown.

He had dark purple bags under his eyes, the heavy circles making his pale skin look almost sickly. He hadn’t shaved in days, a noticeable shadow of facial hair developing across his jaw. Alec ran a hand through his hair, noting the greasy feeling and scrunching his nose. Come to think of it, Alec couldn’t actually remember when he had showered last and that thought alone made him feel even worse than he looked.

Shoving the thoughts of his appearance aside, Alec turned to the shower and switched on the hot water, letting it achieve an almost scalding temperature before he stripped and climbed in. The burning hot water was no doubt leaving his skin bright red but the stinging pain eventually subsided, his skin numbing as the water soothed his tense muscles. Alec reached out and grabbed some of the leftover cheap shampoo that he had been using in lieu of Magnus’ homemade sandalwood concoction and poured some into his hands before roughly massaging it through his hair. He used to enjoy showers, especially with Magnus, as they were one of the few times he tooks a moment for himself and just relaxed. But over time, after Magnus’ disappearance, they had become nothing more than a nuisance, something he had to do quickly and efficiently in order to get back to work as soon as possible. Even now, knowing he didn’t have much to do today, he didn’t dawdle, scrubbing soap over his body with only as much purpose as necessary. Clean was a necessary feeling, being pampered and relaxed was not.

As he scraped the rough loofah over his chest, his movements a little harsher in his haste, a voice broke through his thoughts.

“Are you trying to cook or clean yourself, Alexander? I can barely see through all this steam.” Magnus voice was still sleep laden, rough in a familiar way that made Alec shiver. The curtain shifted to the side and Magnus’ hand appeared, dialing the water down to a warm temperature rather than a hot one. As the water running over his skin cooled slightly, Alec realized just how hot it had been, the now lukewarm water soothing his raw skin. His harsh scrubbing hadn’t helped, he was sure.

“May I join you?” Magnus’ voice was barely audible and with a harsh swallow, Alec debated. On one hand, he ached for the man to be closer, wanting to put everything aside and just go back to the way things used to be. He imagined feeling Magnus’ hands gently rinsing the shampoo from his hair, running over his body with a touch just light enough to make him want more.

On the other hand, Alec couldn’t shake last night from his mind, the indifference on Magnus’ face as Alec grasped for an apology or some sort of comfort and acknowledgement to quell his anger and his feelings of abandonment that still lingered.


Alec briefly wondered if he was a masochist.

Magnus took a moment before he actually entered the shower and Alec could hear him moving around, no doubt folding the clothes Alec had haphazardly tossed on the floor as well as his own. Pajamas or not, Magnus Bane had a respect for clothes and a terrible hate for wrinkles.

After a few more beats of silence, which Alec spent rinsing the soap from his body, Magnus stepped into the shower. Alec moved aside without a word, despite the shampoo still in his hair, and let his boyfriend under the stream of water, keeping a bit of distance between them.

Magnus tilted his head back, wetting his stiff hair and using his fingers to gently massage the product out with water as much as possible. Alec inhaled sharply as his eyes wandered of their own accord, taking in the familiar and yet somehow now foreign lines and shapes of Magnus’ body.

He had slimmed down. Alec supposed that most people wouldn’t have noticed but Alec often thought he knew Magnus’ body better than his own at times. It wasn’t a huge difference, not enough to make Alec worry as to the cause, but enough that it reminded him, quite jarringly, just how long Magnus had been gone. He dragged his eyes along the length of Magnus’ exposed throat, which he felt the strong urge to press his lips and teeth to until Magnus was writhing beneath him. He briefly wondered if his boyfriend’s neck was still that sensitive.

That thought alone make Alec avert his eyes, rubbing at his forehead to make sure soap wasn’t about to drip down his face. The idea that he didn’t know Magnus anymore, the idea that he didn’t know if he didn’t know, made his stomach clench into knots.

“Alexander, could you pass the shampoo, please?”

Wordlessly, and still avoiding looking at him, he handed the man the bottle from the shower rack behind him. Magnus took it, squeezed a small amount into his palm, and held the bottle out for Alec to take again. Alec, again, took it with the barest acknowledgement. Magnus sighed heavily as he massaged the shampoo into his scalp, breaking up and washing away the last bits of hair gel and leaving his hair limp as he rinsed the soap away. He cast a glance at Alec, who was in the farthest corner of the small shower, leaning against the wall with shampoo dripping down his temples. Magnus stepped out of the water.

“It’s all yours.” He murmured.

Alec slid past him, careful to keep any of their bare skin from touching. Just seeing Magnus was bad enough, he didn’t know what he would do if he actually touched his naked body. Alec’s emotions were swirling in a confused mess in his head, his anger and hurt warring with the affection and pure need to be near the man he hadn’t had in so long.

“Alexander. I want...I want to apologize.” Magnus stated, his voice matter of fact as he grabbed a small washcloth and gently removed the makeup that had been smeared around his eyes from the water. Alec couldn’t help himself and arched an eyebrow, casting a cynical glance at Magnus.

“Oh really?”

“Yes, really. I right to do what I did, no matter how good of a decision I thought it to be. I...I think that perhaps your hurt is blinding you, just a little, to how difficult of a position I was in but I take full blame no matter.” Magnus paused, finishing wiping the makeup from his face and leaving it bare, his expression exposed and vulnerable. Alec clenched his fists at his side to refrain from immediately moving to comfort the man. Magnus took a deep breath and continued. “I should have told you from the beginning what I did for a living. It’s’s not easy to date when you’re a criminal and it would have broken my heart for you to turn me in. The idea that the man I loved might think of me as some sort of murdering, manipulative monster...It wasn’t something I wanted to risk. So, I hid it. I hid it and when I needed someone the most, I had no one to turn to. I had endangered all of the people that cared about me by not giving them the option to avoid being involved in my kind And for that, I am sorry.” Taking a hesitant step closer, Magnus reached out the caress Alec’s cheek, a sad smile on his face. “I never meant to hurt you, even though I knew it would. But I convinced myself that the hurt of a broken heart would be far better than death. If I had to, I’d make the same decision.” He paused, averting his eyes from Alec’s. “I won’t apologize for protecting you. I just wish I had protected you well enough that it hadn’t come to that in the first place.”

Alec lay his hand over Magnus’ and stroked his thumb across his fingers. “I’m not...this doesn’t fix everything. I accept your apology, really, I do. But that pain, Magnus. That fear of thinking you were dead and wondering when I’d get a call from some police officer that they had found your body. And after finding out you were alive but involved in...something , I didn’t know what yet, but knowing that someone was after you...I was terrified but more than that, I was so...hurt. I couldn’t wrap my head around why, why you didn’t at least tell me you were leaving. I felt abandoned and alone and-and confused. Even with you, here with me right still feels that way.”

Magnus reached his other hand up, setting it on Alec’s shoulder and pulling him just a little closer, their bodies not quite touching. “I know. And I understand. And I will do everything, everything I can from here on out to make it up to you. To make it up to everyone. Starting with apologizing for my behavior last night. It was...I was being a coward. I couldn’t bear hearing what I had put you through, after all the nights I had spent already agonizing over it, to hear those fears confirmed and coming from your mouth was just...too much. So I shut down. And for that, I am sorry. I will do my best to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I can’t promise it won’t but I can promise I’ll make the effort.”

Alec smiled crookedly, placing his hands on Magnus hips. “Thank you. And I promise to try and be more open with you and not...bottle everything up until it explodes.”

Magnus nodded, returning the soft smile on Alec’s face. “I appreciate that, darling. I’d also appreciate if you and I could please, please get out of this freezing shower and continue this conversation in a much more comfortable place, like the warm bed.”

Alec laughed, gently pushing Magnus out and away from the water before turning around and shutting it off. Climbing out, he snagged the towel before Magnus could, wrapping it around his shoulders and rubbing at his hair with it. The other man looked offended.

“Alexander, that is my towel.” Magnus narrowed his eyes, holding his hand out expectantly. Alec grinned, smug.

“Oh, is it? Where, tell me, does it say your name on it?” Alec pulled the towel away from his head, examining it in mock confusion.

Magnus reached out, grabbing the corner and flipping it over. “!” As soon as Alec was distracted enough to loosen his grip on the soft cloth, Magnus whipped it from his hands and wrapped it around his own shoulders with a satisfied smirk. Alec looked at him with a shocked expression that slowly morphed into something more playful, a smile growing on his face as his eyes twinkled with mischief.

“Oh, its on, Bane.” Alec moved, almost too quick for Magnus too avoid but he stepped back just in time to avoid the man’s grasp. Alec snatched for the towel again but Magnus spun away, taking Alec’s momentary surprise as his chance to dash from the bathroom, a giggle bubbling up from his lips. Just as he turned to see where Alec was behind him, he felt strong hands grab his hips and pull him backwards, coming to lock around his waist. He squeaked and struggled for a moment before he gave up, leaning his head back on the man’s shoulder and smiling at the warmth of his bare skin pressed against his own. Alec smiled at him, spinning him around in his arms and pulling him close again, eyes darting down to Magnus’ lips as he leaned in. Magnus’ breath hitched in anticipation, his lips parting as Alec moved closer, the intense gaze of his hazel eyes pinning Magnus in place. He felt strong hands grip his hips tight enough to make a breathy noise fall from his mouth, the room suddenly too warm. Alec’s bare chest pressed to his as he moved his hands from Magnus’ waist around to his lower back, resting just above his ass and stroking at the dimples there. Alec’s goofy smile turned into a predatory smirk, and just as he was about to press his lips to Magnus’, one hand sliding lower to grip a handful of the firm muscle of his ass-

My towel.” Alec murmured, his mouth stopping mere centimeters from Magnus’. In a split second, the cloth was tugged from his shoulders and Alec was stepping away, casually drying the water droplets dripping down his chest as Magnus stood there, breathing heavy and half hard. Alec looked like the cat that got the cream, his lips twitching as he struggled to hold back the pride and amusement at Magnus’ dropped jaw. Regaining some of his composure, Magnus crossed his arms and frowned.

“That’s playing dirty, Lightwood.”

“Oh, I know. But are you really complaining?” Alec, now no longer dripping in water, held the towel out to Magnus, an eyebrow arched as he glanced downward pointedly. Magnus snatched it from him, sticking his lower lip out in a pout as he turned away to dry himself off. He tossed the towel in the dirty hamper and moved toward the closet, watching Alec go over to his still packed bag and begin to pull out underwear and a charcoal suit.

“Going into work again?” Magnus asked before heading into his walk in closet and beginning to glance through his old clothes.

Alec frowned to himself as he pulled his neatly folded dress pants on, quickly securing his black leather belt on as well. “Just for a few hours.”

“Can I come with?” Magnus called from the walk in. Alec slipped his white shirt onto his shoulders, buttoning it quickly and grabbing his tie and suit jacket. He didn’t answer, hoping Magnus wasn’t actually being serious. He knew he needed to tell the man the truth about what he did for a living but he still couldn’t bring himself to do it. The thought of how Magnus would react, the look in his eyes, how he would know how much of a hypocrite Alec had been...Alec couldn’t risk it when things were already tense between them.

“Alexander? Did you hear me?” Magnus emerged from the walk in, dressed to the nines already. He wore a pair of dark blue skin tight pants, deep maroon shirt tucked in and suspenders swinging from his hips. The shirt itself was barely buttoned, in typical Magnus fashion, exposing his dark skin and abs, the layered silver necklaces he wore drawing even more attention to them. Alec swallowed hard and shook his head. “No. Yes, I mean, yes. I heard you. But trust me, it’s boring and you don’t want to be there.”

Magnus gestured at Alec with one ring free hand and smiled. “I’ll be with you. And besides, wouldn’t it be better than calling me every thirty minutes to check on me?”

Alec chewed his lip in thought. “Okay. Fine. But there are a few meetings you can’t sit in on so you’ll have to spend them with Simon or Izzy. Is that alright?”

Magnus rolled his eyes and pecked Alec on the lips. “I’m sure Isabelle will be great company and I could get to know Shaan better, considering he is marrying my Raphael.”

Alec gave Magnus a disapproving look. “Are you even trying to get his name right?”

Magnus’ eyes went wide with mock innocence. “Why, Alexander, are you suggesting that I am not trying my best to learn my future son-in-law’s name?”

Alec scoffed and turned away toward the mirror on the wall to tie his tie. Magnus caught his arm and tugged him back around, taking the tie from his hands and looping it around his neck. With expert practice, he had the tie finished neatly in record time. He patted Alec’s chest and tapped his nose with a single finger. “I’ll go finish getting ready so we can leave.” He spun away, striding to the bathroom to do his hair.

Alec sighed heavily and pulled out his phone, calling Jace as he slipped his suit jacket on.

“What’s up, bro?”

“I need you to clear the floor. Clean sweep. I’m bringing Magnus in while I take care of a few things. He’ll spend the meetings with Izzy or Simon. I can’t have him hearing anything that doesn’t sound legit, okay? I want everyone briefed before I get there and he doesn’t leave my office floor under any circumstances.” Alec glanced over his shoulder, keeping his voice low to ensure Magnus couldn’t hear him.

“For the record, I think this is a terrible idea and you should just tell him but-”

“Not looking for your opinion, Jace.”

“-what do I know?” Jace finished lamely, sounding resigned.

“Just get it done.” Alec said firmly, hanging up the phone. He pinched the bridge of his nose, already feeling a headache coming on.

Today was already a long ass day and it was about to get longer.

Chapter Text

“So, my office is on one of the upper floors but we own this whole building. Different floors for different departments and operations.” Alec explained as they entered the elevator. Magnus had been slightly shocked at the size of the skyscraper when they had first arrived. Believe it or not, he had never seen the building itself, as it wasn’t in the part of New York he frequented and Alec had never had a reason to invite him to his work. He had accepted that, Alec was a busy man, after all, and if the fancy suits he donned daily were anything to go by, he had plenty of responsibility on his shoulders. Magnus respected that and had never bothered to ask more about the location of Alec’s job than the address, for emergencies.

But being inside the tower now, having seen the amount of security at the front desk and the way the men running it had eyed Magnus, he had a growing feeling in the pit of his stomach that Alec wasn’t telling him everything.

Magnus had trusted Alec from the very beginning. From the moment he had met the other man, there had been an overwhelming feeling that he could let Alec in completely, trust him in ways he hadn’t trusted anyone since Camille. He’d always put in effort to tell him how he was feeling, to make sure Magnus knew he could tell him anything and Magnus had always assumed that his boyfriend was one hundred percent transparent with him on everything. It was the way anyone wanted to feel in a relationship.

Lately though, Magnus hadn’t been so sure of his assumption.

It had actually started before his disappearance, the uneasy feeling that there was something more to Alec, when he came home and found the man at the coffee table, cleaning guns with an ease and skill Magnus recognized, having done it himself many times. Initially, he had bought the story of family outings to the gun range, telling himself that Alec just happened to be one of those ‘self defense, second amendment strong’ types. He hadn’t minded the guns in the loft, he’d have been a hypocrite if he had, but something had always struck him as off about the whole thing. Maybe it was that he hadn’t taken his sweet boyfriend as the gun toting type. He hadn’t been sure.

Meeting Robert Lightwood had been even more jarring, throwing Magnus for a loop he hadn’t prepared for. For one, he looked nothing like what he had pictured Alec’s father to be. For two, he had showed up on Magnus’ doorstep, looking to hire him. That alone should have been a red flag. Not just any normal civilian knew about Magnus Bane. And when your boyfriend’s father shows up, demanding you to kill one of the most psychotic, manipulative men on the planet, you would think you might second guess just what, exactly, said boyfriend did for a career. But Magnus hadn’t. He had quietly accepted Robert’s money, ignoring the familiar look of disgust on the man’s face as he saw the photos of he and Alec about the loft, and proceeded to make the biggest mistake of his life.

Now that he was back home, he had begun to question Alec’s honesty even more, far more than he liked. The man was nervous around him and initially, Magnus had thought it was because of the revelation of his life as a, for lack of a better term, contract killer. But then Alec had fed him some story about a hired ‘agency’ that was watching their backs 24/7 and Magnus’ guard had gone up. He may have been missing for a year, but Magnus wasn’t an idiot and he knew Alec better than he knew himself most days. The story was vague and shoddy at best and so far, Magnus hadn’t seen even a hint of said ‘agency,’ which he found incredibly odd for a group that was supposed to be providing constant protection. Magnus had worked with people like Alec was describing before and mercenaries were notorious for leaving their loyalty laying in money and being as over-involved as possible to ensure they got paid. So the lack of their presence and the fact that Magnus knew Jonathan wasn’t above paying whatever the Lightwood family could afford had him second guessing everything about this mess so far.

Something was going on and Magnus was getting sick of waiting for Alec to tell him the truth.

“You okay?” Alec’s voice broke through his thoughts and almost instinctively, Magnus plastered a smile on his face as the elevator dinged to a stop.

“Just fine, darling.”

Alec smiled and took his hand as the doors opened. Jace stood there next to a blonde man Magnus had never seen before, each holding tablets. The unknown blonde man looked a little uncomfortable, eyeing Magnus with the same look as the men from the front desk. Jace only smiled.

“Welcome to the Lightwood tower, sparkles.”

Magnus gave him a deadpan look, reminiscent of Alec in a way that had Jace thrown off guard.

“Blondie, what a...pleasant surprise.” Jace frowned, looking at him in mock hurt. Alec rolled his eyes.

“Magnus, this is Andrew Underhill, my head of sec-” Alec cut himself off, pausing abruptly. The blonde man, Underhill, narrowed his eyes and Alec cleared his throat, forcing a chuckle. Jace stood off to the side, looking between Alec and Magnus in a way that had Magnus frowning with confusion. Alec continued, as if nothing had happened. “Andrew is my head of sales. Andrew, this is Magnus, my boyfriend.” Magnus held his hand out as Alec introduced them. Underhill took it hesitantly, shaking it very briefly and shooting Alec a look that Magnus couldn’t decipher. It had an unfamiliar feeling twisting in his stomach, which he swallowed down with a polite smile.

“Nice to meet you.”

“Likewise. Alec?” Underhill immediately turned away from Magnus and held up the tablet. Alec nodded seriously and turned to Magnus, pressing a quick kiss to his lips. “You okay spending most of today with Simon in my office? Izzy had a last minute meeting to attend.”

Magnus gestured with his hand. “Lead the way, darling. I’m sure that Salomon and I can find something to entertain ourselves for a while.”

Alec led Magnus to his office, not neglecting to notice all the looks that people were shooting at them. He glared, which made most of them turn away quickly once noticed they’d been caught. Unlocking his office door and ushering Magnus inside, he cast a glance over his shoulder to see Jace and Underhill giving him disapprovings look. He shut the door quickly, a little harsher than necessary.

“Hey guys!” Simon greeted them excitedly, standing from the couch and setting down the comic he had been reading. Alec ignored him for the time being, walking over to his computer and ensuring it was locked. Magnus looked around the sparsely decorated office, noticing the photos on Alec’s desk with a soft smile.

“Alright. Simon, just, try not to annoy my boyfriend to death, while I take care of things, okay?” Alec asked, teasing his assistant. Simon looked slightly startled at the bit of humor coming from his usually stoic boss. It reminded him of the first time Raphael had made a joke and he’d worried the man had been switched with an identical twin or something.

“I’ll be back in like, two hours at the most? Sorry, I know that’s a long time.” Alec turned to Magnus, grabbing his hand and giving him an apologetic smile. Magnus patted his cheek reassuringly.

“I am completely capable of being without you for a few hours, darling, not that I want to. Don’t you worry about me.”

Alec’s smiled widened and, not caring that Simon was in the room, leaned in to press a slow kiss to the other man’s lips. Magnus made a soft noise of surprise but quickly returned the kiss and just as he was getting into it, Alec pulled away, a slight flush on his cheeks.

“As much as I’d love to stay, I really do have a meeting to get to. And Simon really doesn’t need to see this.”

“I’m super glad you’re happier now boss, but you’re right. Not that I’m not cool with displays of affection because you guys are really cute and I’m super excited that Magnus is here because you’re in a way better mood and that is such a relief, but anyway, like I’m happy he is back and all and you guys seriously have such a great love story but seeing my dads kiss-”

“I’m sorry, what?” Alec arched a scarred brow, eyes wide with confusion and concern. Simon went back over what he had said and instantly paled. Magnus struggled to hold back an amused smile.

“What?” Simon parroted, hoping Alec would just drop it as he usually did with things Simon said that threw him off or confused him.

“You just called us your-”

“Nope, no, I didn't. Didn’t say a thing. Hey, don’t you have a meeting to get to?” Simon walked over to the door, opening it and gesturing Alec out repeatedly. Alec narrowed his eyes, squeezed Magnus’ hand and left with a final concerned and confused glance at Simon. Simon shut the door and a sigh whoosed from his mouth. Magnus raised both brows with a knowing smile.

“So, Simon. What’s your family like?”

Simon looked up, still looking like a deer caught in the headlights and knowing why Magnus had asked that question after the embarrassing event that had just occurred. He wandered over to the couch and sat back down whilst Magnus perched himself in one of the armchairs in front of Alec’s desk.

“Uh, well, I have my mom and my older sister. We don’t talk very often, Rebecca is busy with college and building her career and my mom and I...didn’t part on the best terms. No dad. He died before I was born.” Simon shrugged, looking down trodden.

“Well, then, don’t feel too bad for what you said, okay? I don’t mind it at all, and honestly, I think Alec just doesn’t like being reminded of how young all of the people around him are. I mean, you’re only, what, 22?”

Simon shook his head. “23. A year older than Rapha.”

“How did you two meet, by the way?” Magnus asked, twirling his ring on his finger.

A dopey grin took over Simon’s face. “Well, it was like, a year and a half ago. Before you uh, went missing. I was working at a coffee shop with a few friends to help pay for college because I was getting my accounting degree, I was freshly 21 at the time, and Raphael used to send his assistant in to get his coffee order almost everyday. Lily, I don’t know if you know her. Also, how in the world was Raphael already working in the courts with an assistant at 20? Was that your doing?” Simon asked, gesturing at Magnus, who shook his head.

“All Raphael. He is a very intelligent and tenacious boy, as I’m sure you know. He gets what he wants when he wants it and not a second later.”

Simon’s smile turned soft, his eyes far away for a moment as he thought about his fiance. Magnus’ heart thrummed warmly in his chest. Simon might be a bit of an odd one, not who he would have expected Raphael to end up with at all, but it was clear the man loved his son. And god knows, Raphael deserved that. “Yeah, he does. I made his order wrong on purpose the day he came in by himself, because it was a ridiculous coffee order and I wanted to talk to him again and then, when he showed up to yell at me, he refused to believe I’d done it on accident and then called me cute without realizing it and asked me out for tamales. It was...awesome.”

Magnus chuckled at the man’s word choice and fiddled with his rings. “Well, you seem like a wonderful boy, Sven, and I’m glad you and my boy make each other happy. After Sebastian, or as you know him, Jonathan, I wasn’t sure he would ever really try for a relationship again. At least not for a long time. I still regret not seeing the danger when that deplorable rat showed up on my doorstep to pick up Raphael for their first date.” Magnus sneered, remembering the way Jonathan had looked at Raphael. Magnus had let him go, Raphael assuring him he could take care of himself if something went wrong in any way, and Magnus had let him. Something he still regretted. But he couldn’t give away his career to Raphael, and the boy was notoriously stubborn, so he had reluctantly agreed. He didn’t run a background check on Jonathan/Sebastian because he wanted to honor Raphael and treat him like the adult he was becoming. Another mistake.

“Yeah, Raphael told me about that on the first night I spent at his place. He was getting out of the shower and I accidentally walked in and saw the uh...the scars.” Simon frowned, eyes dropping to his lap. “I should have just left it alone but me and my big mouth, I couldn’t help but ask.”

Magnus smiled reassuringly at the boy. “If Raphael answered your questions then you shouldn’t feel bad. He only answers questions if he wants to.”

Simon nodded. “Yeah, I know. I guess I just wish there hadn’t been anything to explain.”

“Well, rest assured, Jonathan will be dead soon enough. He has caused more than enough trouble for me and my family.” Magnus cleared his throat and stood from his chair, wandering over to the large windows and looking out over the bit of city he could see from there. “But, onto lighter subjects. What is it that you do here, Simon?”

Magnus liked the boy, really, he did. And he felt a little bad that he was about to try and manipulate information out of him but if Alec wasn’t going to tell him the truth then this would have to be the next best thing.

Simon fidgeted, wringing his wrists before noticing he was wringing his wrists and stopping immediately. Magnus watched him in the reflection of the window, keeping a close eye on the man’s reaction to his questions.

“Uh, I’m Alec’s assistant. I schedule his days, keep all the information in line and also help with his personal accounting. Nothing crazy. I’m like a glorified secretary.”

Magnus nodded slowly. “And how did you get this job?”

“Oh! Well, Clary is a good friend of mine and she knew Alec needed an assistant and recommended me. Accounting school wasn’t going great and the cafe wasn’t paying enough. But this place? I can afford to eat more than top ramen again. Not that top ramen isn’t good, because it really is even though Rapha says it’s just salty noodles.”

“Did you finish accounting school?”

Simon yawned, shaking his head. “Nah. With how much I make here, I can use my free time to work on my graphic novels. Not that I didn’t like accounting but-” Simon shrugged.

“I thought you said you still handled accounting here? For Alec?”

Magnus watched Simon shoot a look toward the door. “I uh, yeah. I do.”

“Hmm. How long have you worked here again? Sorry, what with being gone for so long, I’m a little behind on things.” Magnus turned back to Simon, giving him an easy smile.

“A year and a half.” Simon was getting concerned with the line of questioning, Magnus could tell. He could see it in his increased fidgeting and the way his eyes kept darting toward the door repeatedly. If he wasn’t careful, Simon would clam up and go find Alec. So, he decided to ease off and look for information a different way.

“Do you think we could grab lunch?”

“Well, Alec said you shouldn’t be going anywhere with Jonathan about but I can go grab something if you’d like?”

“That’d be wonderful. Do you know of the Thai place down the street?”

“Yes! I love their satay sauce! Anything in particular you want?” Simon stood up from the couch and snagged his messenger bag off the floor by the door, looking relieved to be leaving. Magnus smiled, keeping it calm and confident.

“Surprise me.”

“Got it. I’ll be back in like, 20 minutes tops.” With that, Simon opened the office door and was gone. Magnus waited a few moments, making sure he was really gone, before he sat himself at Alec’s desk, a smirk spreading on his lips as he wiggled the mouse to wake up the screen. The screen lit up, a picture of the two of them as the background. The sight of it had shame flushing his cheeks. He felt bad for breaking the man’s trust and privacy, in fact it went against everything in Magnus’ core to do so, but Alec was hiding something and Simon was in on it, the other Lightwoods too if his suspicions were correct. Magnus intended to find out just what it was. With Jonathan out for blood, there wasn’t time for secrets, consequences be damned. He’d cross that bridge when he got there.

He clicked the mouse and the computer immediately asked for a password. Magnus thrummed his fingers on the mouse. Would Alec really use the same password for everything?

Magnus shrugged to himself. Only one way to find out.

He typed out their anniversary and smiled when the computer pinged and the screen said ‘Welcome, Alec.’ He knew the man was too sweet for his own good.

The screensaver disappeared and the desktop faded into view. Magnus scanned for a moment, looking for anything that might give him an inclination of what Alec was hiding from him. He opened up the file explorer and searched through the documents on the computer. There were many files that struck Magnus as odd, ‘Hunters Moon’ and ‘Herondale’ sticking out the most to him, as well as one marked ‘Magnus.’ Just as he moved the mouse to click on it, he heard the doorknob turn and with a quick few clicks, he had shut the file explorer and locked the computer just as the door swung open.

Camille Belcourt stepped inside. Magnus’ mood immediately soured.

A dark bruise decorated her pale throat and her usual irritatingly cocky demeanor was nowhere to be found, her mouth set in a firm line and her eyes darting nervously. Magnus noted her appearance was much the same, makeup seductive and dark and not a hair out of place. Despite it having been years since he had seen the women and even more since he had actually been in a relationship with her, the sight of her alone made him nauseated, the bittersweet and awful memories of being with her barely being held at bay.

“Magnus, my love. What are you doing here?”  A smug smile stretched along her red lips and he pushed himself backwards in the office chair as she moved closer to the desk.

“Camille. I could ask you the same thing.” He kept his voice as steady and uninterested as possible, the unease in his stomach building as she leaned across the desk, her long nails clicking as she lay her palms flat on the wood.

“Well, I’m here to see your darling boyfriend,” she drawled the word, a hint of disgust on her features. “About holding up his end of the bargain.”

Magnus narrowed his eyes. “Alexander told me you were working with Jonathan. Tell me right now why I shouldn’t kill you and purge the world of your awful existence?” Magnus arched a brow, standing up to his full height, tilting his chin up slightly in defiance. Camille’s eyes darted to his waist, looking for the gun she knew he had, and when she didn’t find it, purposefully dragged her eyes over his body with a predatory look. Magnus’ throat tightened and he felt the strong urge to gag.

“Oh, Maggie, my love. You won’t kill me. You care about me still. You always will.” Her grin was dangerous and she slinked around the edge of the desk, closer to him. Magnus took a calculated step back, keeping a decent amount of distance between the two of them to the best of his ability. Hearing her voice and that nickname tugged painful memories from the back of his head, where they had been buried for a long time and not long enough.

“I could care less about you, Camille. Your betrayal to get me back to New York doesn’t shock me at all. You never change.” He spat, watching the way her smile fell slightly with barely hidden glee.

“As if you even know me anymore. You think you can just go gallivanting off to wherever you want for however long you want-”

“I did not go gallivanting , your psychotic new boyfriend drove me from my home and my family-”

“He is not my boyfriend and you tried to kill-”

“Of course I tried to kill him, Camille, he’s more manipulative and batshit than even you are!”  Magnus snapped, sick of the back and forth that they had begun, reminding him far too much of their many one sided fights about their relationship so long ago. Camille crossed her arms, sneering at Magnus.

“Well, you’re the one who fell for me. Honestly, it’s nobody’s fault but your own.”

Magnus grit his teeth. “You manipulated me into thinking you were a normal, caring person. How was I supposed to know you’d turn out to be an abusive, cheating, sick minded bitc-”

“Camille?” Simon dropped the bags of food he had been holding, yanking his phone from his pocket and immediately sending an SOS to Alec, as well as texting him a few words.

Camille Magnus your office NOW

Camille turned to Simon, the slimy smirk that Magnus had learned to hate sliding easily back onto her face. “Well, if it isn’t the cute little mob assistant. Where’s the Godfather, hmm? I need to speak with him.”

Magnus head jerked to look at Simon, who’s eyes were as wide as saucers, his body seemingly frozen in place and his jaw dropped open wide. Magnus turned back to Camille, eyes blazing.

“What is that supposed to mean, Camille?”

The smile on her face gave way to a delightful look of surprise, her eyes lighting up. “Oh, Maggie, you don’t know?”

Magnus clenched his fists and shot a look at Simon, who looked terrified. Understanding clicked in Magnus’ head and his jaw twitched as he turned to Camille, who looked like a kid in a candy store. He took a few measured steps toward her, getting within inches of her face, enough to see her eyes flash with something akin to fear. A sick happiness struck Magnus at the sight but it did nothing to quell the fear and anger brewing under his skin.

“Camille. What the fuck did you mean?”

Her grin grew wider somehow and just as she was about to answer, the door to the office opened again.

Alec stepped in, posture prepared for a fight and gun in hand. He held it up, face impassive.

“Take a step back, Camille.”

Camille shot an irritated look at Alec and moved away from Magnus, strolling over to the couch as if she didn’t have a gun pointed at her. Magnus was staring at Alec with an indecipherable look that the man refused to acknowledge, instead keeping his gaze trained on Camille.

“Why are you here?” Alec asked, moving away from the door and shutting it with a kick of his heel. Simon picked the food bags up off the floor and moved out of the way, retreating to the corner of the room.

“Jonathan is trying to kill me. I want protection.”

“Well you won’t find it here. We know you’re working with him and only gave me the information about Ragnor to get Magnus back to New York at Jonathan’s convenience.”

Camille rolled her eyes. “Yes, okay? I lied. I never used Jonathan. That was a story made up to get you to believe me. But all of that was before that maniac told me he intended on killing me as soon as I wasn’t useful anymore.”

Magnus was still standing behind the desk, struggling to grasp what was happening in front of him and the new information that he had learned in the past few minutes.

“Why should I care if you die or not, Camille? You endangered Magnus’ life. Not to mention everything you did to him before all of this Jonathan bullshit.”

“You owe me, Lightwood. Jonathan might be after him but you got him back, didn’t you?” She threw her hands up, scoffing.

“I am right here!” Magnus snapped, sick of being ignored and spoken about as if he wasn’t present. Alec didn’t even spare him a glance. Camille’s dark eyes cut to him, her red lips curling into a sneer.

Maggie , can you shut up for once in your li-”

A gunshot rang through the office, reverberating loudly in the small space. Magnus watched as Camille cried out in pain, her whole body flinching, and clutched at her right arm, blood seeping slowly through her fingers almost immediately. She pulled away her hand momentarily to look at the wound, a slightly deep gash from the bullet that had grazed her, before she clapped her hand back over it and looked at Alec, who’s jaw twitched in irritation.

“Don’t speak to him that way. Don’t even look at him. Or I won’t miss next time.”

“Will somebody, please explain to me what the fuck is going on?” Magnus growled, striding around the desk and approaching Alec. The man didn’t look away from Camille, who’s eyes were fixed firmly on the floor.

Silence fell over the room, Simon watching the whole situation go down with an anxious look on his face.

“Alec. Answer me.” Magnus demanded. Alec’s attention didn’t waver.

Magnus grit his teeth, anger threatening to break the composure he was barely clinging to at this point. With steely determination, he moved, stepping directly into Alec’s eyeline and positioning himself in front of the gun. Alec’s aim shifted to over his shoulder, now resolutely pointed at Camille’s head. His eyes flickered from Magnus’ face to Camille behind him.

“Magnus, now is not the time. Move.”

“Make time, Alec. I knew you were hiding something and I deserve to know what it is!”

Alec roughly ran his free hand through his hair and lowered the gun, gesturing to Simon who darted forward and quickly began to ziptie Camille’s wrists and ankles. The woman didn’t resist, just glared, her makeup smudged with tears of pain from the gunshot graze on her arm.

Alec holstered the gun in his hand and turned to leave the room when Magnus caught him by the bicep, forcing him to turn back around.


Alec held up a hand to stop him. Magnus could see the muscle twitching in his jaw, the tendons in his neck tight with rage.

“The Lightwood family a crime family, okay? There isn’t any agency, or mercenaries, or whatever watching over you, it’s us. This whole place, that you’re standing in right now? Everyone in it?” Alec gestured to the ceiling.  “It’s a fucking criminal syndicate, Magnus. We, we run New York. And, I, I was going to tell you, I swear but I couldn’t find the right time or the right words.” Alec stammered, his frsutration getting the best of him as he struggled to find the right words. He refused to meet Magnus’ eyes, scared of what he was going to see in them. “I run this whole operation. I’m a trained killer. I break the law literally everyday. What more do you want me to say? That I’m sorry for not telling you? I thought I was protecting you.”

Magnus swallowed harshly. “You weren’t protecting me, you were lying to me.”

“Don’t pretend you aren’t guilty of the same thing!”

“Maybe so, but I told you everything when I returned! Just this morning, you promised to be more open, to not bottle things up and now this? You thought you could just bring me here and I wouldn’t notice? What do you think I am, Alexander? An idiot?” Magnus snapped.

“I had to protect my family too, Magnus,-”

“So I’m not your family now? What am I, just some fling like Jace said-”

“Magnus, no! You know that’s not what I meant but come on! Just like you couldn’t tell me what you do, I couldn’t say anything. And I couldn’t just tell you from the beginning, for all I knew, you could have been hired to kill me! I run the mob, Magnus, people aren’t typically on my side!” Alec’s eyes were wild now, frustration, fear, and anger making his hands tremble at his sides.  Magnus stared at him, the words running through his head over and over, hurt clear on his face. Alec reached out for him, all his anger diminishing in an instant, like an extinguished flame.

“No, wait, Magnus, I just meant-”

“I think it’s quite clear what you meant , Alec.” The painfully familiar blank expression had overtaken the man’s face and Alec knew he’d fucked up. He had fucked up possibly beyond repair. Magnus swallowed harshly, looking around the room for a moment before shaking his head. “I need to just...I need to..” He struggled to speak, his thoughts whirling and warring emotions making him unable to think clearly. Without another word, he pushed past Alec and ran from the room, the door slamming behind him.

“Nice going, Lightwood. Let’s hope Jonathan isn’t out hunting for any emotionally compromised targets today, hmm?” Camille’s smile was nothing but mock innocence and fear turned Alec’s blood cold.

“You planned this.”

She shook her head, smile not fading. “No, Jonathan really is trying to kill me. But I did hear through the grapevine that Magnus didn’t know about his sweet and innocent boyfriend’s true nature and I thought I’d...enlighten him. It worked better than I expected. Maybe this will get me on Jonathan’s good side again. An eye for an eye. Or in this case, a death for a death.”

Alec didn’t hesitate before he turned and ran out the door.

Chapter Text

Alec caught Magnus just as he approached the elevator. “Magnus! Magnus, wait!” The man continued walking away at an increasingly fast pace, angrily hitting the down button when he was stopped by the closed elevator doors. Alec reached out and caught his bicep, a grip which Magnus yanked away from immediately without even turning around.

“Magnus, goddamnit, can we talk about this? Please?” Alec cursed, reaching out to grab his arm again. Magnus spun around, lips pressed in a thin line and his gaze unforgiving.

“What, so you can lie to my face again? Make me feel bad for the exact same thing you were doing? Accuse me of being sent to kill you?!” He spit the words like acid and Alec almost physically recoiled at the anger rolling off the other man. Magnus’ temper ran hotter than even Alec’s, a feat on it's own, and when he lashed out, he held nothing back. As skilled as he may have been with a weapon, Magnus was far superior with words. Alec had watched him tear people down to nothing with a few sentences and watched him rebuild people with even less.

“I never made you feel bad for keeping your career from me. And I was going to tell you but-”

“When, Alec? When were you going to tell me?” Magnus threw his hands up, expression challenging. Alec clenched his fists uselessly by his sides, his knuckles turning white as he struggled to answer.

“Magnus, I swear, I was, I just couldn’t find the right words, I couldn’t find a way to-”

“You had plenty of time!” The elevator dinged open and Magnus turned toward it before Alec’s arms shot out and grabbed him for the third time, pulling him forcefully aside. Magnus shoved him off yet again, glare amplifying tenfold. “Don’t touch me.”

“Magnus, you cannot be mad at me for this when you did the exact same thing, you never told me-”

“Because the last thing I wanted was for you to get hurt, Alec, or worse, killed. I have never told anyone about my career, it isn’t something I’m proud of, okay? Even Raphael didn’t know but this...this is your whole family! Your whole life!” Magnus was going to continue when he caught sight of a flash of red hair stepping off the elevator behind Alec. His eyes narrowed and shot back to his boyfriend’s face. “Clary too? How did she get involved in this? Am I the only goddamn person who wasn’t privy to the fact that I was involved in a crime family?!” Their shouting was beginning to draw the attention of everyone working around them and Alec’s anxiety had him gnawing at the inside of his cheek, fingernails digging into the meat of his palms. He could feel every pair of eyes on them as he had one of the worst fights of his relationship and the blatant display of what should be a private affair was making him even angrier.

“Magnus, can we please take this somewhere-”

“I cannot believe you, Alec. I told you everything. I got home and I told you everything . And during those conversations, never once did you stop and think that that might be a good time to admit your own fucking mistakes?” Magnus’ voice wavered slightly and he felt his anger start to slip out of reach, quickly spiraling into the pain he was desperately trying to cover up. “I know that I made a mistake in not telling you but you had ample opportunity after I got home and you still didn’t trust me-”

“No! No, that’s not true. Magnus, I trust you with everything I have. Everything that I am. I should have told you but you were home and you were in my arms again and I couldn’t...I couldn’t risk it. I didn’t want to ruin it. I just wanted...a moment to breathe and hold you before I lost you again.” Alec swallowed hard, eyes darting around as tears filled his eyes and he quickly wiped at them, set on not letting even more of himself be seen vulnerable. Magnus fell quiet for a moment, staring at the floor as a heavy tension surrounded them.

“I wouldn’t have left you. How could I? I’d be a hypocrite. And I’d be losing the most important thing in my life. I’d be losing the man who fought to get me home safe after my own hubris driven mistake. Alexander, I wouldn't have left you.” Magnus looked up at him, those dark brown eyes full of confusion and pain that Alec knew he had put there. He wanted nothing more than to take it away. In that moment, looking at Magnus, he’d have given anything to make sure he never saw that look in his eyes again. Alec’s breath hitched as he braced himself for the words coming next. Magnus took a deep breath before he continued, reaching for one of Alec’s hands and holding it between both of his own. “But how can you look me in the eyes and demand honesty, demand apology….you promised me this morning that you’d be more open and yet still, you kept this from me. All of you. Clary, Isabelle, even Jace. You all hid this from me. I may have no right to feel this hurt, I did the same thing but I let you all into my home. I never once second guessed your loyalty, your identity. I’ve told you things I have never told anyone. And still, with every chance you have had to tell me since I got back, you didn’t. How is that supposed to make me feel?”

Alec’s gripped tightened on one of Magnus’ hands, willing the man to not pull away. “Magnus, we made mistakes. Both of us. But I swear, I swear on everything that is dear to me, that from here on out, I will tell you everything. Even the things that I’m scared to tell you.” Alec’s voice had Magnus looking up from their clasped hands, sensing the man was referring to something specific.

“Like?” He prompted firmly. Alec gulped again, stepping a little closer into Magnus’ space.

“Raphael. involved. Not a lot. And I swear, it was by accident but...before you got back, someone was stalking him and Simon. It’s why they’re actually staying at my apartment.”

Magnus stilled, his breathing seeming to stutter for a moment that made Alec clench his hand tight again. Magnus took a deep breath, closing his eyes and struggling to calm himself for a moment before he spoke.

“Raphael is being targeted?” His voice was slow, empty of emotion. Too calm. Alec nodded, even though Magnus wasn’t looking at him.

“We think it’s-”

“I know who it is. Alexander, How could you let Raphael get involved with this? You knew his history, you knew everything he struggled with already. And you pulled him into this? You risked his life, his career-” Magnus snatched his hand back from Alec’s.

“Raphael is an adult and he made his decision! He found out by accident but you of all people should know he doesn’t back down if he doesn’t want to. He wanted to help, how can you blame me for his choice? I didn’t ask him to help. I didn’t involve him on purpose but he ended up involved and now I’m doing all I can to protect him. You think I don’t care about him too? And that isn’t what this is about! This is about the fact that you’re mad at me for doing exactly what you did.” Alec defended. He could understand Magnus being mad about Alec not telling him the truth when he had the chance but he wasn’t about to let him blame him for another person’s decisions.

“You made me feel bad for lying. You made me feel awful. You stood there and yelled at me, told me how you almost killed yourself-” He cut himself off, his hands shaking. “You will never understand the kind of guilt I felt. Every night. And for you to look me in the eyes and make me feel even worse, make me feel like nothing I did could ever fix this...all while you hid from me. Hid from me the fact that you weren’t ever in danger! You could take care of yourself, that you run a whole organization. You hid from me everything even after I admitted all of it to you and I just don’t understand why! Tell me why, Alec!” Magnus’ voice bordered on desperate and Alec’s dry throat clicked as he swallowed.

“I was afraid. Of this.” Alec gestured between them, voice quiet.

“If you had told me that night, the night I got home. If you had just told me the truth, then this, ” he paused and a gesture between them, mimicking Alec from moments before. “ wouldn’t be happening. But no. You had the audacity to throw my mistakes in my face. If you had just told me, I would have understood. I do understand. Your anger and your hurt, I get it, I deserve it. But what I don’t deserve is this hypocrisy. This...manipulation.” The word fell from his lips with a moment of soft realization. His eyes met Alec’s and widened ever so slightly. “You manipulated me. You made me feel guilty and didn’t tell me the truth because you didn’t think I deserved to know.”

“Magnus, no-”

“Yes. Yes, you did. Admit it, Alec.”

Alec looked away, casting his eyes to the floor. He had. He had wanted Magnus to feel just a fraction of the pain he had felt when he disappeared. He knew it hadn’t been right and even now, the thought made him nauseous because it had been manipulation.

“Before I met you, there was a night that I didn’t come home after getting stuck on a job. My phone had died and it needed to be finished before I could go home.” Magnus twisted his hands together, fidgeting and spinning his rings around. “Camille knew about me and my career. And when I didn’t come home, she got upset. She got upset and she...she tracked me down. She found me in a safe house, spied on me. Knew I was fine. And she left after that, found a guy at some club and took him home. And when I got back the next day, she made me feel guilty. She told me how worried she had been, how sick with fear I had made her. And I told her what had happened and I apologized and she didn’t forgive me. Told me that just an apology wouldn’t fix the pain I’d caused. She made me suffer for weeks. And then we got into a big fight and she told me the truth. And told me that it didn’t matter that she had known I was okay. I deserved to hurt for how I’d treated her.”

“Magnus, this is not the same thing. How can you even compare her to…” Alec trailed off, hurt at the implication. Magnus shook his head.

“No, but it feels the same, Alexander. It hurts the same way.”

“I am not Camille, Magnus, I would never cheat on you and I would never-”

“Lie?” Magnus barked out a bitter laugh. Alec bristled.

“I can't believe this. I am nothing like that fucking woman and for you to...Magnus, I am trying to make things right and you are refusing to listen, refusing to try and understand-”

“Understand? UNDERSTAND?!” Magnus roared, stepping into Alec’s space suddenly, putting both men almost chest to chest. His breathing was heavy, his eyes brimming with unshed tears of frustration and unrestrained anger. Alec inhaled sharply, hand instinctively going to the gun on his hip. Magnus’ eyes followed the movement and it felt like ice water had been poured over his whole body. He looked from the gun, the gun he'd gifted to Alec, to the man's face as he stepped back, his rage disappearing and being replaced with an overwhelming amount of pain. Suddenly, all the euphoria of the past few days, of being home and sleeping in his own bed, of being with Alec… it all slipped away in an instant. He could see Alec was about to apologize and he abruptly shook his head, cutting him off and trying to blink back tears. He carefully arranged his expression, calm and collected as he could be. His voice, however, trembled when he spoke.

“Alec...I have made my mistakes and you have made yours. Neither of us...neither of us trust each other anymore, that’s been made… .quite clear.” His eyes darted to Alec’s gun again, even though the man had removed his hand from it. “I think it would be best if we-”

“Magnus, please. Please don’t. You said you wouldn’t. You said you wouldn’t leave.” Alec begged, his voice a near whisper. Outside of the bubble they had isolated themselves in, Clary and Jace had ushered everyone off the main floor and into side rooms, trying the give the men some privacy when they had started shouting at one another. It didn’t fix anything but it kept the situation from becoming too much of a spectacle.

“I said I wouldn’t have had you told me the truth up front. I need time to think, Alec. Alone. Post your people to watch the loft, I don’t care. But for now… just leave me alone. Please.” Magnus turned without another word, hitting the button on the elevator doors, which slid open almost immediately to his relief. Alec stood there and watched him go, a shell shocked look on his face. As the doors slid shut, Magnus felt the tears he had been holding back drip slowly down his face. He caught one last glance of Jace making his way toward Alec, shooting a glance toward Magnus with an unreadable expression. Magnus averted his gaze and wiped at the tears on his face. Magnus Bane didn’t cry. Magnus Bane showed no weakness and he’d be damned if Jonathan caught him off guard because of this. Knowing that psychotic bastard, it was probably his plan all along.

Magnus pulled his gun from his waistband, double checked the clip and tucked it away again.

This ended tonight.

Chapter Text

“Alec, let him go. He’ll be okay.” Jace’s voice barely penetrated through Alec’s thoughts as he watched the elevator doors shut, silently wondering how things had gotten so messy so fast. Magnus was leaving. Just as Alec feared. He was leaving and now Alec wasn’t going to be able to protect him. Again. Everything was repeating again.

“Alec?” He felt a hand on his arm, the light touch making him jerk backwards in surprise. Jace held up his hands in silent surrender, eyebrows raised as he watched his older brother with wary eyes. Alec’s eyes shot back toward the elevator, a far away look in them. “Alec, come on. Let’s go sit, okay?” Jace hesitantly reached out and guided Alec away from the elevator. Alec followed, choosing not to speak. He wasn’t sure what would come out of his mouth at this point and Jace didn’t deserve any lashing out he might do.

He wasn’t thinking straight, he knew that much. He wanted to follow Magnus again, wanted to make him understand, wanted everything to go back to normal.

He also wanted to find Jonathan and beat him until he was unrecognizable. He wanted to watch fear fill the man’s eyes, feel his bones crack beneath his fists, listen to him struggle to breathe as he choked on his own blood. Alec could feel the rage tingling beneath his skin, his fingers twitching as he clenched and unclenched his fists, following Jace without really paying attention to where they were going. Jace kept casting glances back at him, looking increasingly worried. Alec ignored him.

The two men entered a small, empty meeting room and Jace began brewing a pot of coffee in the corner. Alec sat down in one of the chairs, taking his gun from his waistband and setting it on the table, staring at the engraving with glazed eyes and a hard expression. Jace turned and spotted him, huffing out a sigh. He stalked forward and snagged the handgun, tucking it into his own jacket out of sight. “That’s enough of that. Get out of your head, damnit. I’m sick of trying to decide if you’re moping or planning murder. You wear the same expression for both and frankly, it’s unnerving.”

Alec’s opened his mouth to protest, his face shifting back to its usual cold and apathetic expression but Jace held up a hand to silence him. “No! For once, you're gonna shut up and I'm gonna say stuff.” Jace ignored Alec's cynical snort and continued. “I’m sick of this shit, from both of you. In fact, we all are. You two finally get each other back and both of you acted like idiots. We all heard it. We all saw it coming and nobody, mainly you, listened when we tried to stop it. You both brought this on yourselves and it’s up to the both of you to fix it. Which obviously, you’re incapable of doing when you’re around each other.”

While listening to Jace’s small rant, Alec’s eyebrows raised of their own accord. Everything the man was saying was true and yet…

“Uh, wait. I’m sorry, are you sure you’re Jace?” Alec asked, brow furrowing as he gestured toward the blonde man standing in front of him. Jace rolled his eyes and pulled a chair out, flopping into it and propping his feet up on the meeting table.

“Very funny. Stop deflecting, shut up and take my advice, yeah? Pretty sure I’m being smart for once.”

“Nobody ever thought you were stupid, Jace. You just typically don’t...think before you do or say things.” Alec didn’t appreciate the slight self deprecation that had slipped into Jace’s tone near the end of his sentence and immediately switched to trying to comfort the man rather than think about his own problems. Jace waved him off.

“Not about me, dude. You fucked up. Own it, deal with it, get over it. Magnus fucked up. He needs to own it, deal with it, and get over it. Seems pretty clean cut, yet you two spent that entire argument saying the same bullshit to each other in different ways. Seriously, it was like listening to two broken records go back and forth.” Jace groaned and rubbed at his temples. “Clary was suggesting we tie you both up in one of the interrogation rooms and leave you there until you finally got your heads out of your asses.”

Alec glared down at the table, hands clasped tightly as he pinched and scratched at the skin between his thumb and finger. “It isn't that simple, Jace.”

“Yeah, I get that. Everyone knows it's a hard situation, Alec but it isn't irreparable, okay? So, here's the plan. You are going to go back to work. We are gonna keep a respectful eye on Magnus and take care of Jonathan and Robert. Give him space and in a few days, see how he feels. Capiche?” Jace slapped the table with a proud grin. Alec just stared at him. Jace’s smile fell. “Seriously? Do I have to get Izzy in here to get you to listen?”

Alec shook his head. “No, I’m’s just weird. You being all..mature.” Jace scoffed and stood to pour himself a cup of coffee. Alec fiddled with his hands some more, thinking over what Jace had said.

“Take my advice or don’t. But God knows you’ve talked me out of a fuckton of shit situations, Alec. Figured I’d return the favor.” He took a loud slurp of his coffee and checked his phone. “So, consider that your uh, pep talk or whatever.” Jace took another slurp of coffee and smiled, his normal cocky grin. “I’m good at this older sibling shit. You always made it seem so hard. It’s way easy.”

Alec cast an unimpressed look at his brother, whose grin only widened. There was a soft knock at the door and a moment later, Isabelle slipped inside.

“Hey, hermano. Feeling okay?” She perched herself on the table in front of Alec, giving him a comforting smile. Alec just sighed.

“Yeah, yeah...I guess.” Isabelle gave him a knowing look. Alec relented. “Okay, no. Not really. But Jace is right, for once. There isn’t anything I can do right now but give Magnus space. And work through...the shit I’ve been ignoring.” He stood, facing his siblings. He gave them a half hearted smile. “I’m going to head back to my apartment. I need to talk to Raphael and make sure Simon got home okay after that whole Camille debacle. Did we take care of that, by the way?”

Isabelle nodded. “Posted up in a secure safehouse and being monitored. She has no way to contact Jonathan or the outside world without going through one of our people. And she won’t stop complaining about the gunshot wound.” Isabelle smirked. Alec scoffed.

“It was a graze and if she’d shut up, it wouldn’t have happened. Besides, she should be thanking us for giving her the protection she wanted so bad.”

“Nobody's judging you, big bro. In fact, if we were going to, it’d only be because you didn’t silence her for good.” Jace piped up. Alec shook his head.

“Like it or not but she is our only tie to Jonathan besides Magnus. Who knows what more information she might have?”

His siblings simply shrugged in response, with Jace taking another loud slurp of his coffee and mumbling into the rim of his cup.


Alec plucked a pen from the desk and threw it at Jace, watching it hit the cupboard to the left of his face. Jace simply stuck his tongue out, a childish gesture that Alec returned only for a moment before straightening up and leaving the room, only stopping to press a kiss to Isabelle’s forehead. As he left, he could hear Jace shouting indignantly.

“I get a pen to the face and she gets a forehead kiss? After that great advice I gave you?! ‘No favorite sibling’, my ass!”




Simon was reclined on the couch in Alec’s apartment, watching as Raphael paced back and forth, speaking in rapid Spanish over the phone. Simon caught a few words here and there, mainly ‘idiot’,’mistake’, and occasionally, ‘bullshit.’ Despite being with Raphael for an extended period of time, he hadn’t picked up much of the man’s first language. It was times like this when he wished he'd paid more attention in high school.

All in all, Simon couldn’t make heads or tails of what the conversation might be about. It sounded like normal, grumpy Raphael and Simon had no inclination as to who he might be talking to. So, instead, he settled on watching the man walk a hole through the rug, admiring the way his nicely fitted suit outlined his silhouette. He absentmindedly flipped through the comic in his hands, paying more attention to his fiance than what was happening on the pages. After what seemed like hours, Raphael hung up and tossed his phone against the far wall with a strangled noise of rage, running a hand through his gelled hair violently. Simon tossed his comic book aside, standing and moving to Raphael’s side immediately. He kept a good foot of distance between them, watching Raphael’s face as the man closed his eyes and pressed against his temples.

“Anything I can do?” Simon asked quietly. It had been a decent while since Raphael’s rage had gotten the better of him and even with Simon helping him deal with it, there were just times when Raphael had to figure it out on his own. Now seemed to be one of them.

“Un momento.” Raphael held up one hand and Simon nodded, taking a step back. He had enough experience with both Alec and Raphael to know when to step in and when to stay out of it. Both men were fairly good at telling him too. It helped that, despite his anxiousness and rambling, Simon was an overall fairly calm person when push came to shove. The moment he was actually in a situation, even if it had previously caused him stress, he could act without panic. And it always seemed that one of the things that quelled Simon's terrible amount of nervousness was seeing others in distress. He liked to help. Helping made him feel better.

Raphael moved slowly to sit on the couch as Simon waited patiently, massaging his temples and leaning his head back on the cushions. After a beat, he dropped his hands to his lap and exhaled loudly. He beckoned Simon over. The man sat next to him, tucking one leg underneath him and facing Raphael. Much to Simon's shock, Raphael shifted closer and dropped his head onto Simon's shoulder, pressing his face into the man's neck and inhaling deeply.

“Work?” Simon asked. Raphael shook his head slightly.

“No. My idiot father figure. I was just filled in on the catastrophe that was him finding out about Lightwood’s ‘ family jewels .’” Raphael spat the words out angrily, his hands clenching in his lap and Simon wrapped an arm around him, hesitantly threading his fingers into the man's hair.

“Hey, stay with me.” Raphael pulled back enough to look up at Simon, his eyes intense and dark like they were apt to be when he was in a mood. Simon gave him a reassuring smile and stroked his fingers through the man's curls. Raphael sighed heavily, relaxing once again against Simon and mumbling something softly in Spanish. Simon scrunched his brows together and was about to ask for clarification when the front door opened.

Both men jumped up from the couch, on alert. Simon relaxed when he realized it was just Alec and noticed a split second too late that Raphael, had not.

“Hijo de puta-” Son of a bitch. Raphael growled, lunging forward toward Alec. Simon caught his fiance’s arm, pulling him back solidly into his chest and locking an arm around his waist. “Rapha, it’s not his fault!” Raphael sneered at Alec but let Simon hold him there, not even bothering to struggle in the man’s hold. Alec kept a firm gaze on both men, mouth pressed into a thin line and his arms crossed in a defensive pose.

“Where is he? You better know where he is, juro por dios-” I swear to God.

“He’s fine. We’re keeping an eye on him. Well, I’m not but,” Alec threw his hands in the air with a forced smile. “That’s besides the point. Whatever Izzy told you, it's much more complicated than that.”

“It wasn’t Isabelle. It was Catarina.”

Alec’s face screwed up in confusion. “How-”

“Not the point. Obviously other people have to fix your messes for you.”

Alec glared daggers at him. “I can fix my own damn messes, Santiago. If I wanted to, I could go talk to Mag-”

“No, you couldn't. And you won't. In fact, you are staying here. I am going to talk to Magnus. Ragnor and Catarina will be accompanying me. Obviously the two of you need a fucking intervention of some sort.” Raphael snarled and Alec fell silent, chewing on his lip and looking uncomfortably aware of his own mistakes. Raphael seemed satisfied with that and pulled away from Simon to go grab his, surprisingly, not broken phone from the ground. He left with a quick kiss and murmured ‘love you’ to his fiance, and slammed the door behind him with a final glare at Alec. Simon puffed air in his cheeks, scuffing his foot on the floor and tucking his hands into his pockets.

“So…” He trailed off. Alec’s frown deepened and he walked past Simon without a word. Simon heard a door slam shut and sighed.

Guess it was back to reading comics until the people around him got their shit together.




“Go away!” Magnus shouted as he sipped his cocktail, trying desperately to ignore the pounding at his loft door. He knew who it was and couldn’t be bothered at the moment. He’d spent the last hour trying to get drunk in as classy of a way as possible, listening to his long forgotten record collection and changing his outfit an upteen amount of times. The last thing he wanted was to deal with the ‘help brigade’ outside his doorstep. He wasn’t quite yet drunk enough for that.

“Magnus Bane! Open this door, now!” Ragnor’s irritated British accent made Magnus’ headache throb and he threw back the rest of his drink. They’d been at it almost ten minutes and at this point, Magnus wondered if letting them in might actually be a good idea.

Pouring himself another cocktail, he decided against it.

And as he went to take a drink of what he thought might be his sixth drink, seventh?, his front door flew off its hinges, slamming loudly and painfully into the wall as it swung open with the force of a well placed kick.

He had paid for Catarina to take those fighting classes. Pity it’d come back to bite him in the ass.

The three of them stalked inside, Ragnor plucking the glass from his hand and Catarina forcibly steering him by the shoulders over to his couch just as Raphael pulled up a chair to face him in front of the cushion Catarina forced him upon. Ragnor changed the record, the slow and smoky jazz instantly replaced with big band swing that he snapped his fingers to as he strode to the kitchen. Raphael cleared his throat to gather Magnus’ attention. Catarina sipped the discarded cocktail that had previously been Magnus’ and he frowned at her. Raphael cleared his throat again, louder and more insistent. His father figure shot him a disapproving look, which Raphael returned full force.

“Now, now, dears. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Here, pineapple.” Ragnor strode back in with a glass of water that he shoved in Magnus’ hand, folding himself down on the cushion next to his friend with an easy smile and a hard look in Raphael’s direction. The attorney crossed his arms. Catarina stood off to the side behind him, tapping her nails against the martini glass in her hand. Magnus looked between all of them.

“An intervention? You shouldn’t have.” He drawled, a lazy smile on his face as he sipped his water, his irritance clear in the white of his knuckles and the set of his shoulders.

“Magnus…” Ragnor’s voice was soft, a gentle prying at the edges of it that made the contract killer curl into himself tighter. He glared at his companions.

“I don’t want pity. I wanted a good night of drinking and murder planning. I fully intended on just going out wandering until Jonathan showed his abhorrent face but the pull of vodka can be far too difficult to resist sometimes. I’ll take care of it tomorrow.”

“And get yourself killed?” Raphael asked, eyes cutting to Magnus’ core. His boy was hurt still, that was clear and it made sense, really. Magnus had been a fool to think he could come back and nothing would be different. He averted his eyes and sipped his water again, momentarily forgetting it wasn’t more alcohol. Catarina took her place next to Magnus, laying a hand over his in his lap.

“We’re worried about you. We don’t want you doing anything rash.”

“She means idiotic and selfish.” Raphael tossed in, examining his manicured nails. Catarina ignored him as Magnus sighed, sinking back into the cushions of the couch. Ragnor watched him quietly. Nobody spoke for a moment until Raphael broke the silence.

“So, we’re just going to baby him, hmm? What are we, his nannies? Or are we his goddamn family?”

Ragnor frowned, contemplating. “Raphael is right. Magnus is a tough pineapple, isn’t he?” Ragnor patted the other man’s spiked hair with a teasing grin. Catarina finished off the cocktail she held and cracked her neck. She still wore her scrubs, looking tired and a little worse for wear than usual. Magnus noted Raphael was wearing a suit still, slightly rumpled at the collar and tie loose around his neck. Ragnor didn’t look like he had come from anything, really, his navy peacoat perfect and scarf tight around his neck. Magnus swallowed the lump in his throat when he spared a glance at the clock. “You’ve been working all day. It’s almost 11 at night and you all should-”

“Tell me to go home, Bane, I dare you.” Catarina narrowed her eyes at him. He clamped his mouth shut with a click.

“Now. Let’s talk about how much of a stupid stunt that was earlier, disappearing off from the Lightwood tower while throwing a fit with a target on your forehead. Nobody had a location on you for almost two hours and you’re lucky I’m marrying Lightwood’s assistant or you’d have one overprotective and irritated mobster breaking down your door instead of us.” Raphael watched Magnus’ reaction, noting the small amount of shame that settled into his features.

“I needed to let off steam. I didn’t feel like being monitored and followed or whatever it is that those people do in the shadows.” Magnus waved a flippant hand, rings clicking loudly as he let it fall back into his lap.

“Right. Not the point. It was stupid and you won’t be doing it again.” Raphael reaffirmed with a nod that Magnus didn’t bother returning.

“Raphael is trying to look after you, in his own way. He doesn’t want to have to defend Alec or you in court if one of you does something stupid and unplanned.” Catarina added.

“Alec got you wrapped up in this. I can’t let that slide.” Magnus set his jaw, the muscle twitching. Raphael scoffed.

“¿Qué dices? Are you serious? I’m 22 years old. Not twelve. And Alec didn’t get me wrapped up in this. Jonathan was my issue before he was any of yours. Now I’m just more informed about all the players in this situation. And besides, Simon has a big mouth. He was bound to slip up eventually.” Raphael’s expression softened a fraction at the thought of his fiance. The group noticed, shooting him affectionate glances. He cleared his throat and rolled his shoulders, reaffirming the glare on his face.

“If you want a break from Alec for a few days, fine. But you two need to talk. Jonathan only benefits from this...fight or whatever you two are having. And no offense to you, but I’d feel much better knowing I had the literal mob keeping me safe as well.” Catarina offered a slightly apologetic smile. Magnus understood. From just the small glimpse he had been given, Alec was powerful. If he was being honest, the part of him that wasn’t uncontrollably hurt and angry was fairly proud, if not a little turned on. Who’d have thought that innocent hazel eyed beauty was more than just a basic business major with a penchant for firearms and a secret love for comic books? He smiled to himself, remembering when he had found his comic collection out of order. Alec had been so flustered, insisting he had simply disrupted the organization while cleaning. But Magnus knew better.

“As wonderful as you are at everything you do, dearest, including contract killing, you are just one person with a big gun collection. Alec happens to be one person with a big collection of more people and even more guns. ” Ragnor patted his shoulder.

“So. It’s settled then. I’ll stay here with you and in a few days, you and your Lightwood will talk and work this mess out. And then you’ll take down Jonathan and we can all go back to our less than normal, but thankfully comfortable, lives.” Raphael clapped his hands together with a forced smile, a gesture very reminiscent of Magnus himself.

“Don’t forget the makeup sex. I'm sure you and Alec haven’t properly reunited yet.” Catarina tossed a wink in Magnus’ direction, smirking at the slightest flush that crawled up his neck. Raphael gagged. With a final shake of his head at the antics of those he called his friends, Magnus stood up.

“Alright, that’s enough of that. All of you except my boy, out. I need beauty sleep and the company of my bed and only my bed.”

“I still have your cat, you know. He spends most of his days under Alec’s couch now. Not a fan of all the moving.” Raphael grumbled as he stood from the chair, pushing it off to the side. Catarina and Ragnor followed him to their feet.

“Poor baby just misses his daddy. Get him back here and I assure you he will return to his normal darling self.”  Magnus pouted at the thought of his cat, missing the small ball of fur. Raphael arched a brow.

“If by ‘normal darling self’, you mean hissing four legged creature wielding knives on it’s paws then...sure.”

Magnus rolled his eyes. “He is only like that to you because he can tell you don’t like him.” He turned to Catarina. “Thank you, dear. I hope my drink was satisfying. I was rather enjoying it but alas, it did not go to waste.” He pressed a kiss to her cheek and hugged her tightly. “I missed you. And as soon as it’s safe, I assume I’ll be seeing my goddaughter?”

Catarina nodded with a smile. “Of course.”

Magnus nodded and turned on Ragnor, who was doing his best to look busy, fiddling with the edges of his scarf and tapping away at his phone. Magnus snagged it from his hands and tucked it into the pocket of his peacoat with a knowing smile. “After everything you have already done for me, Ragnor, I must-”

The older man waved him away. “I’ll add it to your tab which you will pay off with expensive dinners and rare bottles of alcohol.”

Magnus laughed, a bright sound that the group of them hadn’t realized how much they had missed until they heard it. Raphael watched his father figure’s eyes crinkle happily and despite the influence of the alcohol, his happiness seemed rather genuine.

“Of course, my friend.”

They finished saying goodbyes and when Magnus had precariously secured the door back in place, worrying silently about the lack of lock, Raphael spoke again.

“I meant what I said. What you did was stupid. And I refuse to spend more time worrying about you than I have to. I think I deserve that after the last year and a half.”

Magnus turned, a frown tugging at his lips. He approached the shorter man, resting a ringed hand on his cheek. “Raphael, you deserve far more than I have ever been able to give you. But you have my promises from here on out that I shall do my very best to cause you no more undue worry.” His dark brown eyes held a strong reassurance, the same look that Raphael had seen when comforted about his mother’s death and even later on when he had recurring nightmares of Jonathan’s torture and abuse. He took a deep breath, doing his best to keep the emotions from overwhelming him, and simply nodded in response. Magnus smiled knowingly.

“Alright, well. Goodnight. If you need me, I’ll be right down the hall.” He patted the latino man’s cheek once more and turned, retreating to his room humming a soft tune under his breath.

Chapter Text

“Do we have anything on Jonathan?” Alec’s voice was terse as he stepped off the elevator, not even bothering to greet Underhill. Andrew shook his head and held up a tablet, falling into step next to his boss as they headed toward the main meeting room.

“No, but Robert is becoming an increasingly bigger problem.”

Alec rolled his eyes. “And what has my father gotten up to today?” They arrived at the main operations room and Underhill pushed open the door, holding it as Alec followed him in.

“Well, sir-”

“I’ve told you, Andrew, you can call me Alec. You’ve seen me drunk off my ass, covered in blood, and crying. On one occasion, all at the same time.” Alec snorted, remembering the debacle that was his first torture session after losing Magnus. He couldn’t recall much of said incident, only that the trafficker he had been torturing had ended up very dead after Alec had gotten too drunk to aim correctly. This was due to the fact that Alec had been drunk before he'd even set foot in the room. After that, he'd proceeded to drink the remainder of another bottle of alcohol, which was his third at that point, tried to clean up the blood with just his suit jacket, and was found by Underhill approximately ten minutes later, crying over the gun Magnus had gifted him and muttering about how he wished Magnus was here because “I don’t have a mop, why isn’t there a mop? Magnus would have a mop.

This occurred within twenty minutes.

Not his proudest moment.

“Right. Anyway, Alec, Robert has decided to start working with Morgenstern. Uh, Valentine Morgenstern, that is.”

Alec stopped in his tracks and spun to face Underhill. “Why and how is my father on Valentine’s side? Is Valentine not aware that my father tried to have his son offed?”

Underhill shrugged. “We have yet to confirm why they’re working together or what Valentine knows. Jonathan, as far as we can tell, is estranged from his father. Perhaps Jonathan doesn’t mean anything to him?”

Alec narrowed his eyes. “I need to speak with Robert. I assume my mother and Max are being monitored? Valentine isn’t using them as blackmail?”

“No, Mom and Max are safe. Took an impromptu vacation to the family estate.” Jace interjected, approaching the two men. He wore his gym clothes, a pair of black exercise pants and a sweat soaked grey t-shirt, his headphones slung around his neck. Alec arched a brow.

“Training without me?”

Jace offered a humorless smile. “Thanks but I don’t need you using me as your personal stress toy. You kick my ass enough when you’re in a good mood.” Underhill’s eyes widened at the blunt response but Alec only pressed his lips into a thin line and moved on as if Jace hadn’t responded.

“Do we have a location on Robert?”

“Nope. His little stint as a political fixer seems to have ended with his last comment about Imogen. Now he has disappeared to the wind. The only reason we know he is working with Valentine is this.” Jace walked over to one of the computers and tapped a few buttons on the keyboard, pulling up an article from the Times.

“‘Morgenstern Empire Gains a New Friend in an Old Enemy.’” Alec read the title aloud, scowling. “So, Dad got into the blood diamond business, huh? I don’t understand how the public still doesn’t know about Valentine.”

“Same reason they don’t know about us.” Underhill said, flicking his finger on the tablet in front of him. The article disappeared from the computer screen and another popped up. “Valentine runs multiple companies. He isn't just in the diamond market. He’s a self proclaimed entrepreneur. We all know his holding company has their fingers in more pies than just the ‘jewelry business’. We’ve previously found connections to human trafficking, drug smuggling, etc. He’s as bad as they come but nobody can touch him. Even we have little to go on.”

Alec exhaled harshly and ran a hand through his hair. “So, you mean we’ve got nothing. Robert’s disappeared, hopefully dead by now, Jonathan ghosted us completely and Magnus still won’t answer the damn phone.”

Jace and Underhill shared a shocked look and Alec grit his teeth. “What? I can’t be angry? I gave him time, Jace. It’s been almost five days. He won’t even respond to my texts about whether or not he’s okay.”

“Well, I can assure you that he is. We’ve got eyes on him, I told you that. But he needs to-”

“Cool down, yeah, I get it.” Alec cut him off, frowning. Jace fell silent, looking apologetic. Alec shook himself out of it and glanced at the screen again. “Do we have access to anyone with ties to Robert or Valentine?”

Underhill flipped through a few things on his tablet, eyebrows furrowed. “Um...Clary mentioned a man by the name of Michael Wayland? Supposedly Valentine’s right hand man from what we can tell, though the security surrounding him is minimal. His residence isn’t even being monitored by a personal system.”

“Sounds like bait if I’ve ever heard it.” Jace quipped, rolling his headphones up and stuffing them in his pocket. Alec crossed his arms, looking contemplative. It sounded like bait, or false information. Either Michael Wayland didn’t actually matter or he was an alarm bell. If they went after him, Valentine would be tipped off fairly quickly. This wasn’t a man they could go plucking off the street like usual.

“Bait or not, it’s all we’ve got to go on. As long as we handle things discreetly and act fast, Valentine won’t have time to react before we get information out of Wayland.”

“Yeah, I get that. But subtle torture isn’t exactly our forte. We’re practically one move away from leaving horse heads in people’s beds these days.” Jace snorted at his own joke while Alec tossed him a withering look.

“Contrary to what you might think, Jace, but we have some fairly capable people around here. Just because you have all the stealth skills of a baby giraffe in tap shoes-”


“-doesn’t mean that everyone else does.”

Underhill stifled a laugh at the offended look on the blonde man’s face while Alec just looked on, unimpressed and daring his brother to argue. Jace glared back, muttering under his breath as he turned and decidedly walked away.

“So. Who do you suggest take care of Wayland?” Underhill turned back to his boss.

Alec thought for a moment. “Myself. Possibly Isabelle. I’ll have to see in Helen is available. We need to move as quick as possible, before Wayland decides to cover his own ass or Valentine ties up his loose ends.”

“Alec, if I might express a….personal opinion?” Underhill asked, reaching out to stop the other man from turning away. Alec looked back at him, expectant.

“You may.”

“From what I've heard, and forgive the workplace gossip, the problem between you and Mr. Bane is communication? I know he is in a similar line of work to us. two could track down and extract information from Wayland. Together. When it comes to our career, communication is of the utmost importance. The same can be said for relationships. Maybe it will help to mend something between the two of you to be forced to communicate in a different situation. Or at the very least, incur some respect and understanding for one another’s secrecy.”

Alec stared Underhill down, expression unreadable. For a moment, Andrew wondered if he’d overstepped and earned himself a demotion.

“You...might be right, actually. Can you cover the rest of the assignments today? I’ve emailed a list of the remaining ones that need to be given out to you already, in case something like this came up. I’ll be out the rest of the day.”

With that, Alec spun on his heel and left the main operations room, set on heading to Magnus’ loft.




It took him all of 20 minutes to arrive, and he anxiously bounced on his heels as the elevator climbed floors. When they opened, he quickly approached the penthouse doors, knocking hesitantly. Suddenly, his confidence spiraled, leaving him feeling incredibly exposed and a little bit stupid. What if Magnus didn’t want to see him? What if he was still angry?

His thoughts were cut off as the door swung open to reveal the man, dressed to the nines and twirling a glittering butterfly knife between his fingers.

“Alec. What can I do for you?” Magnus asked, his voice just shy of exasperated. Alec tipped his chin up in challenge, confidence easily re-instilled by Magnus’ stoic facade. Two could play the apathy game.

“Magnus. I’ve come to request your…assistance. It’s been brought to my attention that you’re quite skilled in more covert operations than many of the people I have available to me.”

Magnus narrowed his eyes, the sharp edges of his eyeliner making his expression just a touch more dangerous than was probably intended. Alec held his gaze, not willing to back down so easily.

“Am I to be compensated for my assistance?”

Alec nodded politely. Magnus’ expression was carefully guarded and a large part of Alec wanted to break, drop the professional act and ask Magnus why he hadn’t been answering his texts. Only the competitive and bitter part of him held fast, refusing to be the one apologizing first after the cold greeting he had received moments ago.

“If you’d like, I can have all the details sent to you by tomorrow afternoon or we can discuss things at my office.”

“If it’s all the same to you, Alec, I’ll take the email. I’m a busy man. I’m sure you can understand.” Magnus responded coolly, drumming his nails on the door and flicking the knife back and forth between his fingers on the other hand. Alec’s jaw flexed in irritation.

“If you don’t want to help, just say so, I don’t have time for-”

“I do!” Magnus answered quickly, desperation edging into his voice. He cleared his throat, regaining his composure and refusing to meet Alec’s eyes. “I do. Want to help, that is. I simply have lunch with Raphael in an hour and he will kill me if I cancel. You know how he is.”

Alec swallowed the lump that had risen in his throat and his expression softened slightly. “I understand. I’d just prefer to work with you on a plan, rather than have you read over an operation plan I drafted by myself. You know, so this will go more smoothly. You’re going to be the expert in this situation, really. I'm a more... direct action, hands on kind of guy.” Alec held up his hand with a half shrug, displaying the black and blue bruises on his knuckles. Courtesy of last night’s latest ‘ therapeutic information extraction session ,’ as Simon had deemed them.

“Don’t I know it?” Magnus winked, unable to help himself. Alec smirked, for just a moment, before he remembered the current state of their relationship and pressed his lips in a firm line just as Magnus came to the same realization, a frown marring his features.

“Well, as for saying I’m the ‘expert’, that’s very sweet of you, Alexand-Alec.” Magnus stuttered, the knife in his hand going still. It nearly nicked his fingers as he flipped it shut distractedly and slipped it into the pocket of his dark red dress pants. He smoothed down the front of his shirt and cleared his throat before continuing.  “Can we meet tomorrow morning then? Perhaps in a more...neutral location?”

Alec nodded, fidgeting with his hands behind his back. “I know a coffee shop where we can discuss things freely. I’ll get a file ready to debrief you and we can work on a plan of action. How does 9 AM sound? I’ll text you the address.”

Magnus’ frown deepened. “Actually, I broke my phone a few days ago. Fit of drunken rage and all that. I suppose brick walls and electronics don’t mix well with one too many cocktails.” He almost looked sheepish and something in Alec’s brain clicked.

“Wait, your phone is broken? That’s...that’s why you haven’t been answering me?”

Magnus’ eyes widened. “You tried to contact me?”

Alec gave a jerky nod. “For days. I thought that maybe you were just ignoring me. After what made sense.”

Magnus shook his head. “No, not at all, I just haven’t been able to get a new phone. Raphael has kept me busy. Says we have a lot to catch up on.” Magnus cracked a small smile as he gave an affectionate eye roll at the thought of his adopted son.

“Well, that’s good to know. I’ll just...come pick you up then?” Alec asked, hesitant. Magnus looked equally unsure, chewing his bottom lip for just a moment. Alec held his breath until Magnus gave a slow nod and offered a gentle smile.

“I look forward to it.”

Alec’s responding grin was blinding.

Chapter Text

The drive to the coffee shop was mostly silent. Alec had picked Magnus up at 9 o’clock in the morning on the dot and the conversation so far had been nothing but polite, professional, and brief. Alec’s knuckles were white against the wheel of his Escalade, something Magnus hadn’t failed to notice and it made him want to reach for the other man and try to ease his clenched grip. Instead, his hands stayed firmly in his own lap and he fiddled with his rings, twisting them back and forth to try and busy his thoughts. The motion caught Alec’s eyes and he glanced over, noticing that Magnus was turning a familiar looking band on his right hand. Before he could stop himself, the question was out of his mouth.

“You’re still wearing that?”

Magnus’ head jerked up, eyes meeting Alec’s briefly before Alec forced his attention back to the road, silently cursing himself. It was hard enough pretending he wasn’t as affected by their fight as he actually was and looking Magnus in the eyes didn’t make it any easier. He passed a few more stop lights, counting down the minutes to their destination in his head. The sooner they were talking about work, the better.

“Of course I’m still wearing it. Why wouldn’t I?” Magnus asked, a touch offended. Did Alec really think he didn’t care that much? Was he really not aware that he wasn’t the only one hurt by the growing distance between them?

“I just assumed after our...disagreement you wouldn’t want to be reminded of what things were like before.” Alec looked in his side mirror, jaw tight. He flexed his fingers on the wheel and winced as the sore muscles in his hands stretched out. He frowned and bent his knuckles a few more times, not realizing just how long he had been clenching the wheel that tightly.

“As if you don’t have that gun strapped into your holster right now.” Magnus responded, reaching out suddenly to take Alec’s right hand in between his own. Alec looked over, eyes wide in surprise as Magnus began to massage his hand with nimble fingers, his thumb pressing into Alec’s palm firmly and smoothing out the rigid muscles with repetitive motions. He kept his eyes firmly in the side mirror, avoiding seeing Alec’s response.

Alec watched Magnus face for a moment too long, a loud honk from behind him breaking him from his trance. He looked up to see the light had turned green and stepped on the gas pedal, tearing his eyes from Magnus’ face.

“Besides. I said I needed time. To be alone. I didn’t...break up with you. I realize now that I may not have been so clear.” Magnus voice was a murmur, almost as if he was talking to himself. Alec swallowed.

“I wasn’t sure, I’ll be honest.”

Magnus hands had fallen still with Alec’s pressed between them and both men sat in silence until Alec began parking the car. The sudden lack of movement seemed to jarr Magnus from his thoughts and he let go of Alec’s hand, moving to unbuckle his seatbelt. Alec’s frown deepened and he pulled away, placing the car in park and climbing out without another word. Magnus followed him into the coffee shop, which was tucked down a side alley between an antique shop and a bookstore. He opened the door and Magnus gave him an awkward nod of thanks.

Inside was quiet, only the soft din of piano music and the occasional clinking of glasses disturbing the air. There was only three other people in the shop and Alec chose a table across the room, farthest from all of them and hidden in a corner. He slid into the short booth and Magnus sat down across from him, folding his hands in front of him on the table. Before they had even settled in, an older woman approached the table, carrying a steaming mug. She set it down in front of Alec with a grin.

“My little Alejandro!” She cheered, grabbing his face and pressing a firm kiss to both of his cheeks. Magnus’ jaw dropped open, eyebrows raised at Alec who was flushing bright red and smiling at the Spanish woman. The sight reminded Magnus of a shy child, as Alec ducked his head slightly and the women tutted, placing her hands on her hips. “You missed pozole night again, mi hijo, don’t think I’ve forgotten! Your mother and Isabel came to help and I will see you next month, hmm?” Her tone left no room for argument and Alec held his hands up in surrender.

“Lo siento, abuelita. Of course I’ll be there next time. Te lo prometo.” One word caught Magnus’ attention and he shot a bewildered look at Alec.

“I thought your grandparents were-”

“Oh Dios mío!” The woman pressed a hand to her chest in shock as she caught sight of Magnus and before the man knew what was happening, she’d swept him up into a tight hug, murmuring a soft prayer in Spanish as she squeezed him close to her. Magnus allowed her to embrace him, politely hugging back and looking over her shoulder at Alec for explanation. The man looked slightly apologetic but more than anything, he looked happy. After another few moments, the woman pulled away and beamed at Magnus, her dark brown eyes full of a kindness and knowledge that had him wanting to shrink away. “Excuse me, querido, Alejandro has told me so much about you and it’s a gift from God to see you home safely. Would you like anything to eat or drink? I have some fresh pastries I’m sure you’ll love. Un momento, por favor!” Without waiting for his response, she turned and shuffled away toward the back of the shop. Magnus cut his gaze to Alec.

“What...just happened? Your grandparents are dead.”

Alec frowned slightly. “They are. Dulce is an old friend of the family and helped my grandmother raise my mother after my grandfather died.”

Magnus raised a brow. “And you have pozole nights? How long has that been going on?”

Alec looked sheepish, rubbing his hands together and giving a half shrug. “Uh, remember the family dinners I never invited you to?”

Magnus nodded slowly. “Hmm. I do. You always had some excuse as to why I couldn’t attend when I asked. Why was that, by the way? She seems a wonderful lady and I’m only meeting her now, yet she seems to know quite a bit about me.”

“Dulce is wonderful and she adores you but she isn’t one for subtlety. She would have given away my family history within mere seconds of meeting you.”

Magnus’ eyes widened. “Wait, so she knows-”

“That my little Alejandro is a pachuco? Of course I do.” She set another steaming mug in front of Magnus and a small plate with a pile of sopaipillas on it. Magnus jumped a little when she spoke, taken aback by how easily she had snuck up on them. Alec caught the motion and smirked. Magnus tossed him a half hearted glare. “That boy couldn’t hide a thing from me. I remember when he first told me he was gay, oh! He was so nervous, he talked a mile a minute about this chico guapo down the street-”

“Ay, abuelita!” Alec exclaimed, a slight natural accent appearing in his voice that had Magnus cocking his head, intrigued. Alec’s cheeks were rapidly turning pink again and the woman laughed and patted his head.

“Okay, okay, mi hijo. I’ll leave you be with your papi. Behave!” She winked at him and Alec looked like he was about to argue but she was gone before he had gathered himself, sputtering and turning to Magnus, who was now grinning from ear to ear. Alec’s face darkened a shade as he met the man’s eyes, noting the mischievous glint in them.

“Papi, hmm? Can’t say I’ve ever been called that before.” He teased, drumming his fingers on the table. Alec’s adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed, grabbing his coffee cup to distract his hands.

“That’s not...It doesn’t mean what you uh, think. And I don’t call you that. To her. Or at all. Ever.” Alec rushed out the words and took a sip of his coffee, avoiding Magnus’ gaze. The man’s grin turned to a knowing smirk as he picked up a sopaipilla and took a small bite, chewing thoughtfully for a moment.

“Whatever you say, Alejandro .” He lightly rolled the R as he purred the Spanish form of the other man’s name, watching Alec’s reaction closely.

He inhaled sharply and coughed, setting his coffee down with a clack on the table. He coughed a few more times, the blush in his cheeks having spread to his neck and whether it was from embarrassment or struggling to breathe, Magnus wasn’t sure. Alec tugged at the collar of his button up, straightened his tie and cleared his throat as he turned his attention back to Magnus and desperately tried to focus on anything but the other man’s knowing expression and Dulce’s comment.

“Right. Down to business.” He grabbed his briefcase from beside him and popped it open, placing a few files on the table. Magnus pulled them closer, flipping them open as he took the first sip of his coffee. His eyes widened momentarily before he hummed in pleasure and took another drink.

“You didn’t mention she was serving Mexican coffee, darling.”

Alec’s brow furrowed as he took a drink of his own. “She didn’t.”

Magnus smiled in response. “Well, not to you apparently. Just how much did you tell her about me? Enough that she knows I’ll take tequila before noon, it seems.”

Alec rolled his eyes and said nothing, grabbing a few more papers and pushing them toward Magnus before closing his briefcase. “We’re looking into Michael Wayland. Valentine’s right hand man, apparently. Clary’s mother said that he’s been part of Valentine’s inner circle for as long as she can remember. Even Clary remembers him from her childhood. And I’m inclined to believe both of them, what with Valentine being Clary’s father and all.”

“Oh so you do know about that? Ever since I saw her at your office, I had wondered.”

Alec nodded, flipping through some pages. “Contrary to what one might think, Valentine didn’t hide much about his background. Two children, Jonathan and Clarissa Morgenstern. Clary was removed from her father’s life by her mother when she was-”

“Eight years old, yes. I babysat her quite frequently. Jonathan abused her when she was fairly young. Nothing too awful, thankfully but Jocelyn saw the bruises and the way Jonathan’s behavior was worsening and made a decision to get her daughter out before more happened. Valentine wasn’t exactly agreeable about putting his son in therapy or acknowledging something was even wrong in the first place.”

“I know. Clary was pretty upfront with me once she became part of the family. I’ve been trying to keep her out of this as much as possible. We don’t know how Valentine feels about her or if he even knows she’s alive.”

“Well, if, like these papers say, your father is on his side now, then you can safely assume anything Robert knows, Valentine knows. No offense, darling, but your father has little loyalty.”

Alec snorted. “Yeah, I know. His idea of loyalty involves money, power, and young women willing to overlook the fact that he has a wife.” Without looking up from the paper in his hand, Alec reached out and snagged the sopaipilla Magnus was just about to bite into, popping it into his own mouth and brushing his hand off on the napkin in his lap. Magnus cast him an offended look that he didn’t see and pulled the plate a little closer.

“So, the plan is to get to Michael Wayland. Why?” Magnus pulled a pen from inside his coat pocket and began to make notes on the information he found interesting or possibly helpful.

“He is the only tie we have to Valentine that seems available. Jonathan has gone dark, nobody can find Robert and Camille is as cooperative as a damn brick wall.”

Magnus circled a few things and took another sip of his coffee. “Shocking.”

Alec paused, looking up from his file with a frown. “I don’t think she has anything else useful. Camille might be a manipulative abusive bitch but...I really don’t think Jonathan would have told her anything more than necessary, especially regarding his father. I’m not going to waste the energy on her. You’re welcome to, if you’d like.”

Magnus waved his hand dismissively, though there was something lingering behind his eyes as he spoke. “No, I got my closure a long time ago. The woman still makes my skin crawl and the memories still hurt but the rage is long gone. I think you’re right anyway. She’d be a waste of time.”

Alec searched Magnus’ face for a moment, watching as the man poured over the file in front of him and sipped his coffee. There was silver glitter fallout dusting across his cheek bones and under his eyes, shining in the soft lights of the cafe and making Alec’s chest ache. He had forgotten where they stood, momentarily distracted by the familiar interactions and the easy flow of their conversation, neglecting to remember the elephant in the room that was the unsteady and unsure state of their relationship. The reminder washed over Alec like cold water, his hand tightening on his coffee mug as he watched the man across from him, clueless to his observer and chewing on a sopaipilla, sugar crystals clinging to the edges of his mouth. Alec tore his eyes away when his vision began to cloud with unexpected tears and hastily wiped at his eyes before Magnus caught sight of him. He cleared his throat and tossed a photo across the table.

“This is Michael Wayland’s house. As far as Underhill can tell, there is little to no security. No obvious cameras or sensors, guards, or anything more than your basic lock and key system.”

Magnus hummed, licking the sugar from his lips and drumming his fingers on the counter. “Well. I’d say that Wayland is either incredibly stupid, or-”

“He’s bait? Yeah, Jace pointed that out.”

Magnus looked up, eyes meeting Alec’s for a moment. “Then why are you planning on taking it?”

Alec’s expression closed off, glowering at the table in front of him as he avoided Magnus’ eyes. “My father is trying to sabotage everything. Everything I’ve worked for and all the things I fixed in the wake of his...betrayal of my mother. He is trying to destroy the Lightwood name and I’m not going to let it happen. And if I’m lucky, we get Valentine or Jonathan out of all this too.”

Magnus observed quietly as Alec’s hands balled into fists on top of the table, his eyes still firmly fixed on the files in front of him. “Valentine has been an issue from the beginning. He’s cold, ruthless, and a mass murderer even if it isn’t by his own hand. And I refuse to let Robert cause more pain to my family. I’ll kill him myself if I have to.”

Alec’s teeth were grit, Magnus could hear it in his voice, and his shoulders looked tight enough to snap as he stared down at the photo of Robert and Valentine shaking hands. With a soft sigh, Magnus set down his Mexican coffee and stretched out his arms, cracking his neck with a practiced motion and removing his jacket. He rolled up the sleeves of his navy dress shirt and grabbed all of the files on the table, including the ones in Alec’s hands, plucking them away from him with quick fingers. Alec finally looked up at him, still tense and wearing a confused expression.


“You, shush. Let me work. I might ask some questions here and there but other than that, you relax and be your beautiful self, darling. You’re far from objective on this particular mission and you’re only serving to stress yourself out more with every moment you look at this mess.”

Alec opened his mouth to respond when Magnus held up a finger, his eyes darting up and pinning Alec in place with a steely expression from beneath his lashes. Alec ducked his head almost instinctively, the smug hum that followed from the man across from him making a flush spread across his cheeks.

The next hour passed quickly, with Magnus drafting a thorough plan, including the many possibilities of things that could go wrong that Alec paled just thinking about, and before the two men knew it, Dulce was closing up for her lunch time.

“You and your papi can stay, Alejandro. I know you’ll keep an eye out for any trouble.” She pressed a quick kiss to both their cheeks, smirking at Magnus for a moment after she pulled away and pressing a hand to her chest with a bittersweet sigh. “Eres un apuesto diablillo, ¿lo sabes? If only I was many years younger.” You're a handsome devil, you know that?

Magnus eyes widened in surprise at the implication but he quickly recovered, a charming smirk tugging at his lips as he took Dulce’s hand and pressed a kiss to the top of it. “Eres muy hermosa. Pero mi corazón pertenece a otra.” You are so beautiful. But my heart belongs to another. Magnud glanced at Alec, who was pretending not to listen, his head buried in a book he had pulled from his briefcase a while ago. Dulce chuckled and patted Magnus’ cheek, giving him a soft smile.

“You’re good for him, querido. Don’t let my little Alejandro fool you. Le encanta actuar como el gallo pero es realmente lo contrario.” He loves yo act like a tough guy but he is the opposite. Dulce winked at Magnus as Alec groaned, covering his face with his book and practically whining in Spanish.

“¡Me estás avergonzando abuelita!” You're embarrassing me, Grandma!

She cackled as she left the cafe, locking the door securely behind her. Magnus couldn’t help but chuckle as Alec lowered the book in his hands, cheeks tinged pink and a slight pout on his lips. “I wish you didn’t know Spanish.” He grumbled. Magnus smirked.

“You sure about that, Alejandro?” Alec rolled his eyes but Magnus didn’t miss the way he shifted uneasily in the booth. His smirk grew and he folded the files shut in front of him, watching Alec out of the corner of his eye. “Though, I must say, I wasn’t aware you were so fluent. And your accent comes out so naturally.” Magnus arched a brow and Alec shrugged, flicking a pen back and forth between his fingers as he set his book aside.

“I was raised bilingual. But the New York accent came out a little stronger over the years and I spoke less and less Spanish as I got older. Izzy and I still use it sometimes. Same with my mother.”

Magnus nodded. “I see,”  He slid the files across the table to Alec and stood up, stretching his shoulders out with a satisfied sigh of relief. Alec’s eyes were instantly glued to the strip of skin revealed when Magnus’ shirt slid up and he let out a shaky breath. Magnus caught his eyes and cleared his throat, lowering his arms and tugging his shirt down. “Well, I say we take a break from all this work talk and go find your lovely abuelita’s stash of tequila.” He offered a polite smile and turned to head to the back kitchen. Alec stood and caught his bicep as he passed.

“Magnus, wait. We talk. Seriously.”

“Alec, I appreciate this but I would much rather we work this operation before we get into another fight.” Magnus said, barely meeting Alec’s gaze. Alec chewed his bottom lip for a moment, thinking carefully about his next words.

“Who said we would get into another fight?”

Magnus sighed heavily and pulled his arm away, raking a hand through his hair. “Alec-”

“Magnus, please. I am trying here.”

“I know. I know.” He held up his hands placatingly and frowned, falling silent.

“All day today, we were...fine. Hell, we were great. It was like nothing happened. What the hell was that all about if you’re apparently still mad at me?” Alec crossed his arms, looking frustrated and tense. Magnus’ frown deepened, his brow furrowing. He twisted his rings.

“I’m not still mad at you. But I don’t particularly feel like having this talk right now.”

“You can’t keep running away from this, Magnus! We have to talk about this, I can’t keep...I can’t keep pretending I’m okay. Because I’m not and I don’t think you are either.” Alec reached out for Magnus, tugging him a little closer. Magnus went, slightly unwillingly, with his arms crossed tightly across his chest, hugging himself. Alec bent down slightly, pressing their foreheads together. “Come on. Please. I know you can feel how… drawn we still are to one another. Talk to me. We can fix this. We can fix us.”

Magnus exhaled shakily, eyes closing as he relaxed involuntarily into Alec’s embrace.

“We aren’t...broken, Alec. But with the fight, the trust issues… It’s all much. And yes, you’re right, I do feel...the tension.” He murmured, eyes glued firmly on anywhere but Alec’s face. “But it’s complicated now.” Magnus said unsurely, glancing up at Alec finally. A mistake on his part, the man’s hazel eyes boring into his, the physical tension between them that had been present since the day Magnus got back threatening to snap as it mounted quickly with every passing second they stood so close together.

Alec pressed forward, his breath fanning across Magnus’ face and smelling sweetly of coffee and sopaipillas. Their mouths were only a few inches from one another and Magnus shuddered, feeling his resolve breaking with every passing second.

“We can uncomplicate it.” Alec’s voice was low, a rough edge to it as he closed the little distance left between their mouths and kissed Magnus firmly, his lips soft and insistent as he wrapped one hand around the curve of Magnus’ hip and slid the other up the back of his neck to cup his head gently. Magnus gasped, a swell of emotion breaking in his chest as relief and endorphins flooded through him and he kissed Alec back, arms unwinding from himself to cling to the man’s suit jacket like a lifeline. Alec smiled against his lips, the soft ghost of a laugh momentarily breaking them apart. Magnus surged forward, eager and just this side of desperate to feel Alec’s mouth on his again. Alec responded in kind, pressing Magnus back against the nearby counter and fitting their lips together again, the familiar smell of Indian sandalwood engulfing his sense along with tequila and coffee and the thought that he had lost this for so long, had almost lost it again, making him choke up and drag in a gasping breath. Magnus hands cupped his face and he pulled back slightly, resting their foreheads together as Alec squeezed his eyes shut and tried to calm his heaving chest.

“Sorry, sorry, I just,” Alec muttered, hands fluttering against where they had been resting on Magnus’ body. Magnus pressed closer, grounding the man with his presence until Alec opened his eyes, blinking back tears that threatened to spill over. Magnus imagined he looked similar, his eyes burning slightly as his hands shook, fingers skirting across Alec’s cheekbones and brushing back his hair.

“I’m sorry too. We’ll figure it out, okay? We always do. We always find our way back to each other.”

Alec sucked in another breath and nodded jerkily. Magnus kissed him again, eager and full of promises Alec wasn’t ready to hold him to just yet, no matter how badly he wanted to. He kissed back for a moment before he gave a watery laugh, lightly but adamantly pushing Magnus back with the hands he had rested on his hips.

“Even if we weren’t in Dulce’s coffee shop right now... that probably wouldn’t be a good idea just yet, don’t you think?”

Magnus frowned slightly, lines forming between his brows that Alec wanted to smooth away. Neither man moved to be any farther from the other, their bodies still pressed together, the counter edge digging into the small of Magnus’ back.

“I’m loathe to admit you might be right, Alexander.” Magnus eyes met Alec’s, who brought one hand up to brush a thumb over Magnus’ glistening bottom lip while he licked his own. He saw his boyfriend’s pupils expand slightly and smiled, a smug crook of his lips.

“All in good time, papi.

Magnus cursed, pushing back at Alec’s chest half heartedly and the two broke away, Alec laughing triumphantly at the high flush on Magnus’s cheeks.

“Eres el diablo, Alexander Gideon Lightwood.” You're the devil.

Alec’s grin turned wolfish. “Ay, papi. But only for you.”

Magnus responding groan was enough to send the mobster into another fit of laughter.

Chapter Text

Dulce returned roughly thirty minutes later, not letting either man leave before them promise to visit again soon. She pressed a bag of pastries into Magnus’ hand and pressed a kiss to each of their cheeks, pushing them out the door with a firm demand that they stay safe. Alec had rolled his eyes and reassured her in Spanish, which sent a delighted thrill through Magnus as the words rolled easily off the man’s tongue.

They made their way to Alec’s car in surprisingly comfortable silence, the younger man climbing in and starting up the engine while Magnus set the pastries on the seat behind him, next to Alec’s briefcase, and turned back to buckle himself in. When he was all settled in, Alec pulled out into traffic, his head still lost somewhere back at the cafe with the feeling of Magnus’ lips on his own.

“Regarding the plan to interrogate Wayland, I think more than just the two of us might be required, don’t you agree?” Magnus arched a brow at Alec, who shrugged.

“I was actually thinking we could handle it just fine.”

Magnus blanched. “Alexander, you aren’t actually suggesting that we go about this entirely alone, are you? If this is indeed bait, we’d be walking to our graves.”

Alec snorted. “That’s a bit dramatic, Magnus. We’re fully capable and besides, the plan is to isolate Wayland, isn’t it? Bait or not, that buys us time.”

“If we can pull it off at all. The man sticks to a fairly rigid schedule, Alexander. At most, we have a half hour before somebody notices he’s gone. That’s barely enough time to get started.”

Alec exhaled in frustration. “If you’re so doubtful about the plan literally just you came up with-”

“The plan I came up with relies on a fair amount of luck, despite how much I hate to admit it. According to the people you have tailing him and all the reports in those files, Michael Wayland is rarely alone. If he isn’t with Valentine, it’s his wife. If he isn’t with her, it’s his assistants or bodyguards, whatever they are-”

“Are you saying you don’t want to do this?” Alec snapped, cutting Magnus off. Magnus crossed his arms, glaring out the windshield.

“I’m saying that going into this situation assuming it will be easy to handle is a bad idea.”

Alec fell silent, tightening his hands on the steering wheel. He heard Magnus sigh next to him and spared a furtive glance over at the man.

He was twirling the ring on his hand again, looking lost in thought with his lips slightly pursed like he had wanted to say more. Exhaling loudly, Alec tried to quell his irritation. Magnus always shut down when he got snappy, a defense mechanism the man had picked up long ago thanks to Camille and a few other unpleasant relationships. It wasn’t that he was backing down, far from it in fact, as Magnus could hold a grudge for longer than anyone Alec had ever met, but he refused to speak to those he felt wouldn’t listen. ‘ The biggest waste of energy, Alexander, is trying to convince a man with his hands over his ears that he isn’t deaf. He already knows, and if he leaves them covered while you speak, rest assured he cares not what you have to say.’ He still clearly remembered the day Magnus said that, long ago when Alecc had tried to argue with his father about the nasty comments he had been throwing in Magnus’ direction at a rare family dinner he’d attended. Maryse had been right at her son’s side, ready to argue with her ex husband about his bigotry until Magnus had calmly assured them, ignoring Robert with a mere dismissive wave of his hand.

“Okay. Okay, I’m listening. What do you think we should do?” Alec asked, looking over at Magnus again.

Magnus raised his brows, uncertain about Alec’s sudden mood change and expression challenging him to explain. Alec frowned in response.

“I’m trying to not be so...overbearing about this. I asked you for help so it’s only right that I actually listen to what you have to say, even if I disagree. It’s just hard to remember that you’ve been handling things like this for as long as I have. That’s still new to me. So, I’m sorry for snapping at you. The stress of all this is getting to me and it isn’t fair of me to take it out on you.”

Magnus fought back a smile, warmth blooming in his chest. Alec might think himself to be terrible at apologies and words altogether but Magnus knew better. The man was constantly surprising him and making an effort, something that Magnus was afraid wouldn’t be the same after he’d been gone for so long. He realized now he had no reason for his fears.

“Thank you, Alexander. Apology accepted.”

Alec gave him a half smile, pulling into the parking garage of Magnus’ loft. Magnus moved to get out of the car when Alec spoke.

“Wait, I need to have them sweep it first. Might as well stay here. It will take a minute. I should have asked before we left Dulce’s but-” Alec shrugged, pulling his phone out and sending off a quick text. Magnus settled back into his seat.

“I appreciate the security checks, darling, but I am armed. If someone unpleasant was waiting for me, I wouldn’t be quite so helpless as you might think.”

“I don’t think you’re helpless. But I worry about you. I can’t help it. I still see you as...well, a civilian. You wouldn’t believe how many close calls there were when we first started dating. There was this one other guy who had it out for me after I killed a few of his guys and tanked his operation-”

“Hmm. Branwell. What happened to him, by the way?” Mangus hummed, his innocent question making Alec narrow his eyes.

“You know his name…? Wait a minute. Magnus, that man was after you. He sent me photos of you, he was stalking you, I was going to kill him but he...oh my god.” Alec’s eyes widened, almost comically, and he trailed off, jaw dropped. Magnus laughed brightly, reaching out to push his chin up and close his mouth. Alec continued to flounder as the dots connected in his head. “He...he disappeared, we had people searching for days, they found his hideout ransacked, the rest of his men were dead…”

Magnus’ grin turned sharp, teeth white against dark skin. “I don’t take kindly to being followed and threatened, darling.”

Alec shook his head, still looking astounded. “I can’t believe you. I was so worried. For months, I had people keeping an eye on you whenever I wasn’t around. And all this time….” Alec trailed off, smiling softly. “You’re amazing, you know that?”

Magnus waved him off, voice humble. “Oh it was nothing, Alexander. He barely put up a fight.”

“I wasn’t just talking about that. You... You are incredible. All of you, I mean. Everything you do, everything you say…” Alec shook his head, still smiling. “You once said that you were a lot to get used to. And you are. But it isn’t a bad thing.”

Magnus opened his mouth to respond, his cheeks warm from the compliments, when Alec’s phone pinged. He picked it up and read through the text.

“Alright. It’s all clear.”

“I’ll be off then. We can discuss the plan regarding Wayland more tomorrow, perhaps?”

Alec nodded curtly and Magnus unbuckled his seatbelt, moving to get out of the car. He paused with his hand on the handle and took a deep breath, turning back to Alec.

“Alexander, I need you to know that that kiss...what happened at the cafe doesn’t fix anything.”

Alec had known this was coming. He’d known the moment it had happened and had shoved it to the back of his mind, the far too optimistic kiss clouding his judgement of the situation. Now, as Magnus sat with his hand on the door handle, staring at him with dark eyes, Alec felt the uncertainty hit him full force.

“I know. Do you regret it?” Alec asked softly, the sudden tension in the quiet of the car making his lungs feel tight. Magnus shook his head vehemently as he answered.

“No. No, I don’t. I stand by what I said about us finding our way back to each other but it all needs more time and more discussion. So, I think it’s best if it doesn’t happen again anytime soon."

Alec swallowed harshly, not expecting that. He nodded nonetheless. “Okay.”

Magnus looked over at him, hand twitching with the impulse to reach out for the man. He clasped both firmly in his lap. “I’m not giving up on us, Alexander. But I know that being with you... physically , well, it distracts me. It blinds me to how different things are now...we get caught up and I can’t let that happen anymore. After seeing you reach for your gun the other day-”

“Magnus, I swear, it was instinct-”

“It was me , Alexander. You reached for your gun because of me, despite the fact that it was me. That kind of thing can’t be fixed with coffee and a kiss.” Magnus cut Alec off harshly, his voice firm and restrained. When Alec spared a look over at him, his hands were clenched together tightly and he was pointedly looking the opposite way out the window. Alec frowned.


“Don’t pretend you still trust me the same way either.”

Alec fell silent at that comment. Magnus was right. Alec didn’t trust him the same way. He hadn’t since the day he had returned. He was always on high alert, expecting the man to disappear and having to deal with his brain constantly reminding him of what Magnus did for a living. He wasn’t scared of the other man, but he saw him in a new light he wasn’t quite used to. No matter how amazed Alec might be at his skill, all the newfound information only bringing to light a new respect and love for the man next to him… it had still caused a fissure between them. A gaping crack in the trust and relationship they’d built together. And he was just as much at fault for it’s existence.

“That’s what I thought. For now, we need to focus on this mission. And hopefully, we can figure everything else out along the way.” Magnus tone rang with finality that Alec was tempted to challenge but instead he kept quiet, thinking about the small velvet box in his bedside table as Magnus opened the car door and climbed out, the loud slam of it shutting ringing in his ears.




“I’m just saying that maybe, just this time, you might be...wrong?” Simon was sitting cross legged on the couch in Alec’s apartment, eyes fixed on the TV in front of him, fingers flying over buttons as he played yet another round of Street Fighter. He’d requested for their television and game consoles to be brought over yesterday, since it seemed they’d be here longer than previously anticipated, citing to his fiance that he could only read his comic collection so many times before his fingers were itching for a controller. Raphael was sitting next to him on the couch, reading through his latest case files and writing up questions for court the following morning as he struggled to think over the aggravating grunts and other various exaggerated fighting noises coming through the speakers. Simon’s words had him looking up, breaking his fragile focus and only further annoying him.

“Was that a question?”

Simon’s tongue poked out of the corner of his mouth as he struggled to win the round, the loud ‘KO’ that rang out a moment later making him groan in defeat and turn his attention to Raphael, who was waiting for a response with one eyebrow arched and head cocked in pointed challenge. Simon set his controller aside.

“No, it was...a suggestion. I’m just saying that maybe Magnus is making this a bigger deal than he needs to! From what you’ve told me and from what I’ve heard from Alec, they obviously still want to be together. And they’ve both apologized. Next logical step is to kiss and make up, you know? Or have like, angry, super rough sex until they forgive each other. Like Brangelina in Mr. and Mrs. Smith!”

Disgust twisted Raphael’s features. “Dios, Simon, you did not just say my father and Lightwood need to have angry, super rough sex.”

“I’m sorry, we need to have what? ” Alec’s voice cut through the room before Simon could respond and it was clear he had only heard the last part of the sentence, judging by the astonished look he was giving Raphael. The latino man groaned and dropped his head back on the couch, covering his face with the file he was holding and muttering to himself. “¡Trágame, tierra!” Kill me!

Simon snickered and patted his arm placatingly before grabbing his controller and turning back to his game. “We were just talking about how you and Magnus should just go all Mr. and Mrs. Smith on each other, boss. I think it might help.”

Alec set his briefcase down on the table, frowning. “You’re suggesting we try and kill each other and destroy a house in the process?”

Simon looked away from the screen, eyebrows pulled together. “What? No! The sexy part of the movie, remember? After everything's already all fucked up and she has him at gunpoint and then they do the do,”

Alec held a hand up, trying to stop him. “Simon.”

The man continued, ignoring him. “and then they get all soft and sweet by the end and Angelina is all like ‘Hi, stranger.’ and Brad Pitt goes ‘Are you back?’ and his voice is all deep and rough and-”

“Simon. SIMON!” Alec practically shouted, finally managing to get the other man to clamp his mouth shut. Alec ran a hand over his face, pinching the bridge of his nose. Raphael just sat there, having pulled the file off his face and looking like he was rethinking his engagement to the man next to him.

“Simon,” Alec began, calming himself with a deep breath. “I don’t know what makes you think I actually watch straight sex scenes in movies. The fast forward function exists for a reason. And regardless, the issues between Magnus and I cannot be fixed by almost murdering one another and then having sex in the debris of the aftermath. Okay?”

Simon nodded once, his mouth still shut in a thin press of his lips. Alec sighed heavily and ran a hand through his hair.

“I need a drink.” He turned and headed toward the kitchen without another word, while Simon cast a look at Raphael. Raphael just rolled his eyes and went back to his files. Simon frowned.

“Did I say something?”

Raphael snorted but didn’t answer. Simon’s frown turned confused but he picked his controller back up and with a shrug to himself, went back to his game.

Meanwhile, Alec was in the kitchen pouring himself a generous glass of whatever alcohol he could find, which happened to be a fancy, thirty something year old, 300 dollar scotch that he’d been given as a gift at some terribly boring political event a few months back. He hated when people sucked up to him but he’d taken it anyway, if only because Jace had wanted it and he felt like spiting his brother that night.

It tasted awful, nothing like the cocktails that Magnus was so good at making, but it took the edge off his poor mood. He shoved it back in the cupboard before he could pour another glass, knowing that road was one he wouldn’t benefit from going down. Drunk Alec was funny, sad drunk Alec was pathetic, and angry drunk Alec...well. Angry drunk Alec was reckless, stupid, dangerous, and all around, a bad time for anyone involved. Especially Alec himself.

With a groan, he rubbed at his temples and pulled his phone from his pocket, checking for texts. He and Magnus had barely spoken since they met to talk about Wayland three days ago, only talking long enough to cancel the follow up plans they’d had due to Alec having an unseen complication come up that had involved heavy damage control on his part. Magnus had sounded disappointed but not surprised and when Alec had tried calling him the next day to reschedule, he hadn’t picked up.

And Alec was too busy being bitter to call him again.

He tossed his phone onto the kitchen counter and made his way down the hallway to his bedroom, stripping off his suit jacket as he went. He carefully hung it up in the closet when he got there, stripping off the matching slacks and hanging them along with it, making a plan to get them both dry cleaned tomorrow. It was one of his favorites, a blue two piece Isabelle had gotten him for Christmas the previous year, and despite his nonchalance regarding fashion, he liked to take good care of his things, especially those gifted to him.

He turned away from the closet and removed the remainder of his clothes, tossing them into the hamper and laying his tie on the dresser before making his way to the ensuite bathroom. He double checked he had a clean towel hung on the rack and climbed into the shower, turning the water on to a lukewarm temperature, hoping to soothe his overheated skin. The air conditioning in this apartment had a knack for cutting out when he needed it most and today was one of those rare warm days in New York that left him feeling feverish and uncomfortable.

He let the water pour over him for a moment, enjoying the feeling as it cooled him down, and rubbed his hands over his face, washing away the light layer of sweat that stuck to his skin. He tipped his head further into the water, wetting his hair and running his hands through it a few times to ensure it was completely soaked before turning to the shower rack and reaching for his shampoo. He stopped before he grabbed it, another bottle that he was sure hadn’t been there two days ago catching his eye. It was glass with a silver cap, a light amber looking substance filling it. Alec picked it up, brow furrowed. A small note was stuck to the side of it, and Alec noticed it just in time to avoid getting it wet, shaking the extra water off his fingers before carefully prying it off the bottle and reading it.

Alexander, I found spare time to brew you more of my shampoo you like so much. Hopefully Raphael will actually make sure you receive it if I write this note calling him out. With love, Magnus.’

It was signed in his flourished script and Alec grinned, setting the note up high on the shower rack so it wouldn’t get wet, before he popped open the top of the shampoo bottle. He inhaled it and instantly sighed, the familiar scent making the tension in his shoulders begin to unwind. He poured a small amount in his palm and put it back on the rack, rubbing it between his hands and scrubbing it through his hair. The smell enveloped him, soothing and heady as it filled his senses and drowned out the remaining exhaustion from his day at work. He found his thoughts drifting back to Magnus as he moved to rinse his hair out, relishing in the way the sandalwood hung in the air and clung to him even after the suds were gone.

He wanted Magnus. More than anything. The distance between them now was almost, almost more painful than the actual distance that had been between them while Magnus was gone, and Alec understood why the man had suggested they keep from being physical together because every innocently intended kiss between them so far had turned into something needier and Alec wasn’t sure how much more resolve he had in him.

He grabbed his body wash from the rack and poured it on the soft cloth he had grabbed before getting in, wetting it and working it to a lather before he began to run it over his body.

The aching need was starting to wear him down. Every time he saw Magnus, he wanted to press him against a wall, beg him for forgiveness as he kissed him senseless, wanted to fall to his knees and make the man forgive him the way he used to when they fought, lick him open until Magnus was a trembling, sobbing mess and begging for mercy, argument long forgotten.

The thought had him biting back a groan, his cock beginning to demand attention as it hardened, swelling quickly against his thigh and bobbing in the air. He set the washcloth aside, haphazardly tossing it onto the shower shelf, and wrapped a hand around his dick, which immediately throbbed at the touch. He bit back another moan, letting his mind wander back to thoughts of Magnus beneath him, legs spread and begging for Alec to touch him, his dark skin glistening with sweat and those damn nipple rings glinting at him, tempting him to wrap his mouth around them.

He braced an arm against the wall and stroked himself, a long and drawn out motion that had him tipping his head forward with a soft thunk as it hit the shower wall, a low noise escaping his throat. He could still picture the first time he’d made Magnus cum untouched, face down in the pillows as he sobbed with pleasure, Alec’s hands spreading his ass cheeks open while he buried his face between them, licking and teasing until tears were leaking from Magnus’ eyes and the noises he’d had made, god, those noises, high fever pitched moans and broken whimpers Alec could hear now and wanted to hear again, so badly .

He stroked faster over his cock, already painfully aching for release, embarrassingly quickly, his balls drawing tight as he thought about how Magnus had tasted, the way he’d pushed back against Alec’s tongue and then the way he tried to pull away, practically screaming his throat raw when Alec had milked another orgasm from him, hands tight on his hips to hold him right where he wanted, Magnus begging for more even as he tried twisting out of his grip, his hole clenching as he shook, cum dribbling from his spent cock to join the rest already smeared across the sheets and his stomach-

“Fuck!” Alec came hard, the word loudly spilling from his lips as his hand stilled, his cock pulsing, cum splashing against the shower wall as his hips jerked of their own accord, stomach muscles clenching tightly and leaving him gasping. His mind pictured cumming on Magnus’ face, his plump lips parted and staring up at Alec with those dark, knowing eyes and another throb went through his dick, one last shot of cum weakly hitting the wall in front of him. He exhaled as the aftershocks gently ebbed away and leaned his weight more heavily onto his braced arm, rinsing his other hand off in the cold stream of the shower. When he finally felt like he could move, his muscles thrumming with relaxed pleasure and exhaustion, he rinsed off the wall and finished washing the soap off his body, shutting the shower off with a sigh.

He needed to call Magnus.

Chapter Text

“Michael Wayland is a stand in.”

Those were the first words out of Magnus’ mouth when he picked up Alec’s call, sounding breathless, excited, and slightly alarmed. Alec immediately frowned in concern, pausing in the nervous anticipatory pacing he had taken to while listening to the line ring.

“Magnus. Hi. Um, what is going on?” Alec said, recovering quickly from the abrupt and odd greeting, his mind catching up to what the man had said. Magnus made an uncharacteristic noise of irritation, a drawn out groan that had Alec wondering what he could have possibly done wrong in the first fifteen seconds of their phone call.

“Pay attention, Alexander! I’m saying that he isn’t Valentine’s right hand! He’s a stand in! A fake to protect the real one!”

Alec ran a hand through his still wet hair, making his way toward the kitchen as he processed the new information being thrown at him. He was tempted to reach for the scotch in the cupboard again, but opted to pour a glass of water instead, tucking the phone between his head and shoulder to free his hands.

“Fake? What are you talking about? Wayland is in every photo, he attends every public event, he is seen with Valentine more often than he is seen with anyone else and Jocelyn says he’s his best friend.” Alec frowned to himself and sipped his water, leaning back against the counter. Magnus scoffed.

“Of course she thinks that. Valentine couldn’t afford to trust anyone, not even his own wife. Wayland is a pawn , Alexander. Valentine has someone else. And I’m pretty sure I know who it is. But we can’t discuss this over the phone.”

Alec’s frown deepened. “This is a burner cell, it’s fine.”

“Even so, it’s not a good idea. Can you come to the loft? I know that it’s not exactly neutral ground but...well.” Magnus trailed off, sounding unsure. Alec set his glass in the sink and checked his watch.

“Give me fifteen? I can be there by about 9.”

Magnus exhaled. “Of course. Thank you. And...I’m sorry for not calling you back the other day.”

“It’s fine.” Alec responded shortly as he padded down the hallway, heading back to his bedroom to find some jeans and his jacket. Comfortable as they were, Alec wasn’t about to drive over there in sweatpants.

“It isn’t.”

Silence fell between them and Alec huffed a sigh, yanking on a random pair of jeans and grabbing his leather jacket from the closet. “Right, well. I’ll be over soon.” He paused, unsure of how to end the phone call. Magnus seemed equally uncertain, the only sign that he hadn’t hung up being his soft breathing through the receiver. A few more moments passed before he broke the silence.

“I love you, Alexander. If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed between us, it’s that.”  

Alec’s chest tightened, his breath hitching as his lungs stuttered and he swallowed harshly, a lump catching in his throat as he tried to respond. His lips parted but words failed him, his tongue feeling thick and useless in his mouth. He stood aimlessly in the middle of his bedroom, struggling for reasons unknown to him. A soft sigh came through the phone.

Disappointed .

“I’ll see you soon.”

The call ended with a beep.

Alec’s jaw clenched, his mind snapping out of its stupor, and he marched to his bedside table, yanking the drawer open and snagging the small black velvet box from inside. He shoved it into the pocket of his jacket and left the bedroom, his mind made up.

If he couldn’t find the words to tell Magnus he loved him, then he’d just have to show him.




“Alec. I didn’t expect you so quickly. It’s only 8:45.” Magnus greeted as he opened the front door of the loft. Alec shrugged wordlessly and followed the man when he waved him inside. He didn’t miss the way Magnus shortened his name and the box in his pocket suddenly weighed much more than it had before. He pushed it to the back of his mind, clearing his throat before answering.

“I figured the sooner the better.”

Magnus nodded in response, light steps taking him over to his bar cart to refill the glass tumbler he’d plucked from the coffee table. Alec stood awkwardly, noticing that all their photos were still present in the frames that decorated various surfaces of the apartment. The Tokyo trip, the vacation to Bali, the impromptu visit to Canada...even the snapshot of the night of Magnus’ 29th birthday party, which had been a rather messy and embarrassing affair that only the man himself wanted to remember.

“Alexander, come ‘ere!” Magnus slurred, yanking the man down by his hand onto the already crowded couch, pulling him half onto his lap and half onto Isabelle’s, who wrapped an arm around him and smiled. He squirmed until he was between the both of them and Magnus decided to clamber into his lap instead, wrapping an arm around his neck and resting his head against Alec’s.

“Group photo, big brother! And you’re the only one with long enough arms!” She was practically shouting in his ear, her drunken giggling shrill and delighted. He grinned, his skin warm and head feeling light after the many drinks he’d taken during their game of Never Have I Ever. He’d shocked his siblings more times than he could count and paid dearly for it, his veins thrumming with the euphoria of one too many Kamikaze shots. Magnus was a man of many skills and he knew damn well just what to serve at his own party to ensure no one would remember anything the next morning. That knowledge was the only thing that led Alec to play the game in the first place.

He snagged the phone from Magnus’ hand, missing a few times before he managed to grip it correctly, and held it up. Isabelle squashed closer and Jace wiggled himself on top of them, his head and shoulders in Magnus’ lap and barely visible in the bottom of the frame. Raphael, sober as a judge, leaned over the back of the couch and ducked his head into the picture, the barest hint of a smile on his lips as he rested his chin on top of Alec’s head. Alec raised his arm higher, struggling to fit Clary into frame as she situated herself on Isabelle’s lap and shoved her head under his stretched arm.

They were all crammed into a messy, less than comfortable, drunk pile of laughter and Alec snapped the photo, missing the button a few times and taking far more than necessary once he’d found it.

“Best fam eva’!” Jace hollered.

The resulting photo that was now framed on the wall above the exact couch it was taken on showed Alec, grinning wider than he had probably ever done in his life, cheeks flushed and eyes shining brightly, with Magnus pressing a sloppy kiss to the side of his face. The man’s own cheek was marred with a bright red kiss mark from Isabelle’s lipstick, his shirt unbuttoned and slipping off his shoulder. Raphael was laughing at something one of them said, his eyes squeezed shut and hand halfway up to covering his mouth. Jace was mid-shout, his mouth open in a wide O shape, his blonde hair a wild mess and sticking to his sweaty forehead. Clary had a dark stain down the front of her shirt from Jace’s terrible attempt at starting a food fight earlier that night, her entire face blushed red from the alcohol, almost matching her hair. Isabelle’s hair was a bird’s nest and her lipstick was smudged across her mouth, evidence of all the kisses she had pressed to everyone’s cheeks, a consequence of her being a sappy drunk. If he looked close enough at the photo, Alec could see a red streak across Raphael’s forehead.

“Alec? Alexander? Hell- o ?” Magnus waved a hand in front of his face, breaking him from the trip down memory lane. He straightened up, clearing his throat again and turning his attention back to the present with a shake of his head.

“Sorry. I got...lost in my head for a moment.”

“Clearly, darling. Something bothering you?” Magnus swirled the amber liquid in his glass around as he watched Alec warily, his other arm tucked across his chest. Alec shook his head again, making his way over to the familiar leather sofa and sitting down on it, propping his elbows up on his knees and massaging his temples.

“No, nothing. I’m fine. You said you think you know who Valentine’s right hand actually is?”

He pushed past the subject of his mood, hoping Magnus would drop it. He did, albeit reluctantly, with a heavy sigh and a gulp of his old fashioned for good measure. He chose not to sit next to Alec, instead making his way over to the table next to his favorite armchair and picking up some files. He carried them over and dropped them unceremoniously on the coffee table in front of the other man.

“Alexei De Quincey.” He said the name as he walked back over and folded himself elegantly into his armchair, looking at Alec as if he expected the man to know what it meant.

He didn’t.

“Who…?” Alec asked, arching an eyebrow as he picked through the papers, barely glancing at the photos before he frowned. “I’ve never seen this man before.”

“For a mobster who runs one of the biggest cities in the U.S., Alexander, you don’t seem to know a lot of people.” Magnus sipped his drink before setting it down, clasping his hands in his lap.

Alec shrugged dismissively. “I know the ones that cause trouble for me. Outside of that, I’m not inclined to care.”

“Well you should. Alexei De Quincey has toppled stronger organizations than yours, darling, and if he’s on Valentine’s side like I think he is, he might just end up being one of the one that cause trouble for you.”

Alec narrowed his eyes, setting the files down and reclining back on the couch, folding his hands behind his head. Magnus’ eyes zeroed in on the strip of skin revealed as Alec’s shirt pulled up and he reached for his drink to distract himself, taking a large gulp. He frowned when he emptied the glass but made no move to get up and refill it. Alec shifted, his shirt falling back down and covering the dark trail of hair that had Magnus’ mouth watering. Alec was clueless to his inner turmoil, his focus still on the the topic at hand.

“Why do you think De Quincey is Valentine’s right hand?”

Magnus waved his hand, shaking the personal thoughts from his head. “I know De Quincey. We go pretty far back and recently,” Magnus paused, standing up and walking over to sit near Alec, grabbing one of the photos off the table. He handed it to Alec with a grimace. “I came across this.”

The photo showed a pale man, with shoulder length blonde hair and sharp features, seated at a cafe table with Camille Belcourt. The two looked like they were enjoying themselves, Camille’s familiar red lips twisted into a sharp smirk that the man seemed to match with ease.

“Camille always did like powerful men.” Alec arched a brow in Magnus’ direction, who rolled his eyes.

“Yes, well, De Quincey always liked Camille . This photo was taken just a few weeks ago, before I returned to New York. And this one…” Magnus trailed off, grabbing another from the table and holding it out. “This one was taken mere days after I returned.”

The new photo showed Camille with the same man, only this time, they looked to be arguing. Magnus grabbed another few photos, all shots taken from a decent distance away with a zoomed in lens. They showed Camille walking away from the man on the street while he looked heartbroken, and quickly after that, enraged. Alec’s frown only deepened.

“Magnus, I don’t understand how this ties him to Valen-”

“Look at the car in the next photo, Alexander. It pulled up five minutes after De Quincey seemingly places a phone call. Look familiar?”

Alec squinted at the next photo before his eyes widened. “That’s...that’s my father’s car.”

“Mmhmm. And De Quincey gets into it. This happens and then the photo of your father and Valentine later made the Times. Coincidence? Doubtful. De Quinecy has never been seen with your father before. My best guess is Robert is Valentine’s newest errand boy and has been for longer than you realized. And De Quincey is high up enough on the proverbial food chain to be Valentine’s right hand.”

Alec tossed the photos down with a noise of disgust. “Why is it that every piece of shit in New York seems to gravitate toward each other?”

A surprised laugh burst from Magnus, though he quickly slapped a hand over his mouth. Alec tossed him a wry smile, eyes shining with affection. He bit back something he wanted to say, his mind instantly going to the box in his pocket, and instead turned back to the files.

“Alright. So, say you’re right...where do we go from here?”

Magnus smiled, the same cheeky grin he got when he knew something that Alec didn’t. Alec only raised his eyebrows in challenge and waited patiently. He’d had plenty of experience with Magnus when he wanted to play innocent and Magnus knew he could be patient to a fault when it came to him. It took barely a minute for the man to crack, giving a heavy sigh of exasperation.

“You’re no fun, you know that? Fine. I set up a dinner date with De Quincey. Tomorrow night at The Pavillion.”

“Magnus, you did what? Are you serious?” Alec hissed at him, gesturing at the photos. “You just told me that De Quincey is seriously dangerous, enough that I should be worried about him and you went and set up a dinner date with him?!” He stood up suddenly, running his hand through his hair in distress.

“Alexander, I told you that he and I have a history. We were friends long before this. He agreed to meet with me quite cordially. Even suggested I invite a plus one if I’d like.” Magnus stood up as well, hands held out placatingly as Alec stared at him like he’d grown a second head.

“What did you tell him? Why would he agree to meet with you?” Alec asked, cutting straight to the point as soon as he realized Magnus was dodging around it. He knew he’d hit the nail on the head when the other man began to twist his rings nervously on his fingers, avoiding his eyes. Magnus trailed over to his armchair, picking up his empty tumbler and turning toward his barcart. Alec crossed his arms.

“Magnus.” He said sternly. The hitman’s shoulders were tense and he hesitated before he turned around, glass still empty.

“I told him I...could get him Camille.”

Alec stalled for a moment, eyebrows knitting together in confusion. He felt like that was the most common emotion he’d felt lately, and honestly, it was starting to wear on him.

Magnus continued, still not looking at him. “De Quincey wants Camille. He always has. He tried to kill me over it once. So, I told him...that I had Camille. And I would turn her over to him. Tomorrow’s dinner is to discuss that arrangement.”

Alec gaped at him. “Magnus, you can’t actually be thinking abou-”

“I may be a killer, Alexander, but I’m not evil. De Quincey would do...unspeakable things to her if he got a hold of her. Worse than anything Jonathan Morgenstern could conjure in his wildest dreams. I have no intention of subjecting her to that monster, no matter the damage she may have caused me.” Magnus swallowed hard, his Adam’s apple bobbing as his whole posture screamed of discomfort. Alec moved closer, reaching out to gently touch his elbow.

“She abused you, Magnus. Mentally, emotionally...physically. I would understand if you might want revenge.”

Magnus shook his head vehemently, setting his tumbler down and wrapping his arms around himself. “I don’t. Trust me, the revelation surprised me just as much it is you. But what Camille did to me has nothing to do with De Quincey and I wouldn’t dream of subjecting her to anything she put me through, let alone anything De Quincey might do. That’s that.”

“Then what are you going to tell De Quincey when the time comes?”

Magnus brightened, teeth glinting as a smirk pulled at his lips.  “The time won’t come, darling. We’re going to torture him, remember?”

Alec did his best to return the smile but couldn’t help but notice the way Magnus still held tightly to himself and kept shooting glances at his decanter of whiskey. Instead of pushing, however, Alec just reached for his elbow again, pulling him slowly away from the cart.

“Listen, let’s...let’s shelf the work talk for now, okay? If you’re comfortable with it, maybe we can watch a movie. Or listen to some music and talk about other things while sitting on opposite sides of the couch.”

Magnus brows scrunched together in confusion, Camille already forgotten, and Alec gave him a teasing smile. “Don’t think I haven’t noticed those wandering eyes of yours, Bane. I should have known better than to come over here in a t-shirt too small for me. Serves me right for sleeping in old clothes, huh?”

Magnus flushed slightly at being caught, ducking his chin and turning away from Alec, who snickered. Magnus turned back around and shot him a half hearted glare.

“As if you haven’t been ogling yourself, Lightwood. I know damn well that my back pockets aren’t that interesting.”

Alec snorted and moved around him, picking up his empty tumbler and pouring himself two fingers of the whiskey. Magnus made an amused sound as Alec threw the alcohol back. Alec turned around, arching a brow. Magnus just shook his head, struggling to hold back a grin.

“It’s nothing. Just...last time I saw you throw a drink back like that we ended up in my bed.”

Alec’s throat ran dry, the tumbler in his hand too empty to think about that particular memory. His eyes shifted across Magnus’ face, dark eyes locking with his for a tense moment before he licked his lips and turned away to pour himself another drink. His fingers shook ever so slightly, the decanter clinking against the glass. He could feel Magnus’ gaze on the back of his neck as he threw the second drink back with more fervor than the first. He set the tumbler down, still refusing to turn around.

He should have known better. Magnus was right. They could barely handle being in the same room together now, the tension thick enough to cut through with a knife after just some candid words between them and a few gazes that lingered too long. Alec wasn’t drunk enough for this, wasn’t even sober enough for this, and yet his skin tingled with want, with need. Turning around right now, without responding, meant accepting this, meant giving in and Alec, as badly as he craved it, wasn’t convinced it was the best idea. His judgement wasn’t that clouded.

Magnus shuffled somewhere behind him and music filled the air, the slow strum of a guitar and soft thumping bass filling the room, a smoky, slow rolling beat that had Alec squeezing his eyes shut and inhaling sharply.

Cause the rest of you, the best of you, honey, belongs to me .

Alec licked his lips, prying his eyes open and still standing resolutely at the bar cart, silently wondering why Magnus insisted on teasing him like this. Hadn’t it been his suggestion that they not be so close until things were figured out? Alec distinctly remembered that conversation, but with every word that poured through the speakers, he found himself caring less and less. Gulping down his caution with another swig of whiskey, straight from the decanter this time, Alec turned around.

Ain’t it exciting you, the rumble where you lay? Ain’t you my baby?

That button up was far more open than it had been before, the gold fabric parted to reveal a long strip of dark skin, muscles shifting as Magnus swayed to the music. His head was tilted back, eyes closed and a serene expression on his face like he had no clue just what he was doing to Alec.

“Magnus… “ Alec’s throat clicked and he forced more saliva into his mouth, his head swimming desperately with a wide array of thoughts and hands aching to reach out. Magnus made no sign that he’d even heard him. He tried again, raising his voice above the din of the music.

“Magnus, I should…” He trailed off again, that particular train of thought disappearing somewhere into the abyss as Magnus’ shirt, held on at the bottom by two remaining buttons, began to slip off his shoulder. It was one of his looser articles of clothing, the fabric hiding much of his figure until it was peeled away, unlike most of his shirts that often struggled against his biceps. Alec’s hands clenched into fists.

Not a good time to think about Magnus’ biceps.

The man had seemed to have heard him this time, tilting his head forward and opening his eyes, instantly pinning Alec to the floor with a heavy gaze that had him all but squirming.

“Yes, Alexander?” An flutter of lashes.

“You said we...we shouldn’t.” Alec’s tongue was useless for words at this point, darting out to wet his lips as he struggled to keep his eyes on Magnus’ face. The man had stopped swaying to the music to stretch, a long arch of his back accompanied by the languid drag of his hand through his hair.

“Shouldn’t what? Listen to music?” Magnus asked, one brow twitching upward slightly, his face remaining passively naive.

“Magnus, I’m being serious. We’ve...we’ve done this dance twice now and if you aren’t sober, if you aren’t ready-”

Magnus’ eyes widened with sincerity as he moved toward Alec. His shirt was still hanging loosely off of one shoulder, and the rigid tension between them remained, threatening to snap at any given moment. Alec was shaking, a heavy feeling forming low in his stomach as the arousal warred with his nerves, his mind skipping through possibilities too fast for him to keep up. He wanted Magnus , not a version of him, not a part of him, but all of him. Wholly, truthfully, games aside and with no alcohol to cloud their judgement. Just each other.

God knows they removed more of each other’s inhibitions than any liquid courage could.

“Two glasses. I drank one before you got here and another while we spoke. That’s it. By all accounts, its me who should be asking you if you’re sober. That decanter was half full a few minutes ago, darling.” Magnus’ voice trembled, a hitch to the end of his words that nobody else, only Alec, would have caught had they heard it. He refrained from touching Alec, his hands twisted together in front of him instead. His eyes bore into Alec’s, shining with something dangerously close to tears. Alec’s hand twitched by his side.

“We could just...relieve some of this, you know. It doesn’t have to mean forgiveness. I know what you said a few days ago but...obviously we both want something.” His voice hovered just above a whisper, rough with the lingering burn of alcohol and desire. Magnus’ eyes never left his, though Alec could have sworn he saw them dart to his lips, just as his head tilted a bit closer of its own accord. The box in Alec’s pocket was long forgotten, his attention entirely focused on the man’s bare shoulder, his wide eyes and the close proximity of his body.

“It’s the trust that needs fixing.” Magnus murmured, heart thumping in his chest, the music in the background building its way up. Alec took a half step closer, their bodies just shy of touching. Magnus tucked his hands closer to his chest as Alec stared at him, hazel eyes flickering back and forth across his features.

“You still don’t trust me?” Alec asked. Magnus exhaled, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath in. The song had long since changed from the first one, the same voice pouring through the speakers and leaving Magnus desolate, laid out like an open book underneath Alec’s attention.

Imagine being loved by me .

“I want to. I do, Alexander, but...”

“But what?” Alec responded, his voice soft, soothing and yet doing nothing to calm Magnus’ jumping pulse.

“I...I don’t know. We haven’t spoken enough, haven’t talked through everything that’s happened…its only been a few days since Dulce's and we've had two conversations in that time, neither about us-"

“Magnus,” Alec paused, reaching his hand up to hover just shy of cupping Magnus’ jaw. A shiver ghosted over his skin. “Have you thought that maybe, just maybe , talking is the problem?”

He rested his hand on Magnus’ face, fingers curling to cradle the back of his head and the man shifted, tensing for a moment at the contact, his skin too warm and tingling where Alec’s palm now lay. Alec hesitated ever so slightly before he leaned in, giving Magnus a chance to pull away, a chance to refuse and demand more time, but he stayed still, breath stuttering as Alec’s lips ghosted just barely over his. Alec pulled back again and Magnus surged forward, arms coming up to wind around Alec’s neck, mouth searching eagerly-

Alec’s phone rang. The tension between them snapped, cut off like marionette strings and each man jumped almost a full step back from one another, with Alec cursing and digging into the pocket of his jeans. He pulled it out, barely restrained anger vibrating through his body as he read the caller ID.

Jace .”

Chapter Text

Of course it was Jace .

Magnus sighed, rubbing his thumb across his bottom lip as he turned away from Alec, who was clenching his phone in a death grip next to his ear. He made his way over to the couch and curled up in the corner, a small smile tugging at his lips when Chairman hopped up onto the arm and headbutted his cheek softly. He ran a hand over the cat’s fur and turned his attention back to Alec, who had remained silent since he uttered his brother’s name. On the other end of the line, Jace was rambling off information.

“Hey, Alec, listen. So, Mom brought up something interesting when I was on the phone with her earlier today. How did Dad know about all the side gigs you were running back when Magnus was missing? Remember how Max brought that up at lunch a while back? Robert might be smart but that’s one hell of a surveillance team he’d had to have to keep track of everything you’ve been doing and we would have definitely noticed a shadow that close. Mom suggested we run security on everyone again, thinks that maybe we’ve got a mole that’s been keeping tabs on you. I have no clue who it could be, everyone that close is family but if she thinks it’s worth checking on, I say we do it. I can have Underhill and Helen run the checks as soon as you give the go ahead.”

Alec remained quiet the entire time Jace spoke, tapping his foot impatiently over the course of a minute and a half as he waited for his brother to realize the uncomfortable atmosphere of the phone call.

“Oh, and Clary was talking about a get together? Like, you, Magnus, me, her, Izzy, even Simon and Raphael can come if they want. Dinner at Taki’s or something? Hell, we could even grab drinks at the Hunter’s Moon. I know we run the place but the happy hour there is unbeatable, man. By the way, I am seriously stoked about Magnus being like, part of the business, ya know? Don’t tell him I said that but honestly! We’ve been going through those notebooks of his you brought in forever ago in our spare time, me and Iz, and holy shit, Alec, we’ve confirmed over 240 kills and at least 106 disappearances or relocations by blackmail that he’s responsible for- aaaaand you aren’t responding to me, why aren’t you responding? Jesus, I’ve been around Simon too much lately.” Jace finally slowed down, pulling his attention away from what he was talking about to realize that he hadn’t heard a single word of response from Alec on the other line.

Alec inhaled deeply, struggling to keep his composure. Magnus watched, just as amused by the interruption as he was disappointed.

“Jace…” Alec began slowly, his hand poised in the air as he thought carefully over his next words. “I have never hated you more than I do right now . I want you to know that.”

Magnus snickered, biting his lip quickly to hold back more laughter. Alec’s eyes met his and Magnus just shook his head, gesturing for him to continue, his eyes sparkling in amusement.

“I...okay?” Jace asked, voice raising in pitch with his confusion. There was a beat of silence and then a long suffering sigh. “I cockblocked you again, didn’t I?”

Alec blew out a long breath and nodded, even though Jace couldn’t see him. “Yeah, Jace. Yeah, you did.”

“Alec, I am so-”

“Jace. I’m hanging up on you. Unless someone is in danger of dying or currently not call me again.” Alec pulled the phone away from his ear and hit a button, tossing it over his shoulder where it hit the floor with a thump. Magnus arched a brow as Alec flopped on the couch near the other end, stretching his legs out in Magnus’ lap. He ran his hands over his face with a groan.

“The mood was already ruined, darling, you could have talked to him.” Magnus patted his ankle in comfort but Alec just made a wounded noise, head tilted back against the throw pillows.

“It’s always Jace, Magnus. Every. Damn. Time. I swear, that’s what? 31 times total now? Over the course of 3 years?”

Magnus tilted his head in thought. “Hmm. Sounds about right, yes. Though, perhaps, this time Jace did us a favor. As wonderful as it may have been-”

“You’ve always done that. Stop it.” Alec mumbled, voice firm. Magnus started, turning to look at Alec and raising his eyebrows.

“I’m sorry? Done what, exactly?”

Alec opened his eyes, watching Magnus with a knowing look. “You overthink things. If something you wanted doesn’t happen, you convince yourself that it would have been bad if it had. If something you wanted does happen, you’ll spend all the time you should have been enjoying it worrying instead. I know you’re afraid to make mistakes now more than ever but that doesn’t mean you should be trying to prevent yourself from making any decisions at all.”

Magnus gaped at him, hands stilling on Alec’s legs. “Alexander, I-”

Alec waved a hand in a lazy motion. “I’m not looking for a fight and I’m not trying to convince you to have sex with me. I’m just saying that maybe the reason we are struggling to trust each other so much is because we don’t trust ourselves anymore. I never said I didn’t overthink too, you know.” He yawned, shifting to get into a more comfortable position on the couch and closing his eyes again. Magnus stared at him, the words turning over and over in his head. He resumed rubbing along Alec’s ankle and chose to not pursue that particular topic, knowing that it was far longer of a conversation than they could have right now with how tired and tipsy Alec was.

“I forgot how loose your tongue gets with whiskey, darling.”

Alec only hummed in response, feeling too drowsy to bother speaking. Magnus suddenly jostled his legs, gently removing them from his lap and causing Alec to open his eyes, a frown creasing his forehead.


“You’re falling asleep, Alexander. Come on.” Magnus was standing next to the couch, holding out a hand to him. Alec grumbled and took it, allowing the man to pull him up from his comfortable position. He rubbed at his eyes, trying to shake the fog from his head. The whiskey had finally hit him completely, warming him to the bone and making him far less alert than he cared to be. Magnus tugged on his hand again and Alec followed him down the hallway, his frown deepening when he realized they were headed toward the bedroom. He stopped them just shy of the door.

“Magnus, I can call Jace to come pick me up-”

“Alexander, this is still your home. It was for over a year before I left and remains as such. You have every right to sleep here as much as I do and if you are uncomfortable sharing a bed with me, I will happily take the guest room.”

Alec was shaking his head before Magnus had even finished. “Magnus, I can take the guest room, I’m not going to force you out of your own bed just because I’m too tipsy to drive home or maintain a filter. About tonight-”

“You were right.” Magnus murmured, cutting him off.

Alec met his eyes, looking unsure. His gaze was glassy, and the dark circles beneath his eyes seemed darker in the soft light of the hallway. “Either way, Magnus...I shouldn’t have...”

Magnus rolled his eyes, pulling his hand away to begin unbuttoning his shirt. “Alexander, you had a decent amount of very expensive whiskey over the course of fifteen minutes. You’ve never been a lightweight, but it’s one of the finest single malts I own. And you’re stressed. I’m not blaming you for saying what you did about our trust. Especially when it’s true.” Magnus slipped his shirt off his shoulders, folding it over his arm. “I’m going to go to bed, you’re welcome to join me. All innocent, of course.”

He turned and headed into the bedroom, setting his shirt aside on the vanity. Alec followed him in, slightly reluctant, and watched as Magnus disappeared into his walk in closet. With a heavy sigh, he made his way over to the bed and sat down, running a hand through his hair and looking around the familiar room. Compared to his apartment, the loft was practically a mansion, well decorated and furnished just enough to feel homey rather than crowded. The bed beneath him was a thousand times more comfortable than anything he’d ever slept on and even just sitting on it had him realizing how much his body ached from his own cheap mattress. It might have been the alcohol but a part of him was sure he could fall asleep just sitting there if he wasn’t careful.

Magnus emerged from his closet a few moments later, wearing a loose t-shirt and blue silk pajama bottoms. He held out an article of folded clothing to Alec, who took it with a quiet word of thanks and went to the bathroom to change.

He shut the door to the ensuite, stripping out of his t-shirt and jeans and pulling the pajamas on, realizing that they were a matching pair to the ones Magnus had just been wearing. He checked the tag, confused, only to find they were definitely in his size and not his boyfriend’s. He smiled as he tied the drawstrings and folded his jeans up, leaving the bathroom with a surge of affection warming his cheeks.

Magnus was sitting at his vanity, carefully wiping his eyeliner off and cleaning the glimmering eyeshadow from his lids with a makeup wipe. Alec’s eyes met his in the mirror and Magnus looked him over, giving him a half smile.

“Perfect fit, I see.”

Alec looked down at the silk pants and back at Magnus, his smile widening. “You know the exact measurements for all of my suits, Magnus, of course you’d get my size right when the only options are small, medium, or large.” He made his way over to the bed, tossing back the golden covers and placing his phone and clothes on the bedside table so he wouldn’t forget either in the morning. As he crawled into bed, Magnus stood from his vanity and made his way over to the door, sliding it shut and ensuring it was locked before turning to the lightswitch.

“Wait.” Alec said, causing Magnus to stop with his fingers hovering just next to it. He arched a brow.

“Scared of the dark now, darling? I promise I don’t bite anymore than I used to.”

Alec rolled his eyes where he was propped up against the pillows, a fond smile on his face. “I’m not scared of the dark and I’m sure as hell not scared of you. But you hate sleeping in a shirt, so what gives?” Alec narrowed his eyes at Magnus, who glanced down at his attire before meeting his boyfriend’s gaze again.

“I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable.”

Alec snorted. “Not even a half hour ago, you were dancing and giving me bedroom eyes while your shirt practically fell off all while Hozier played over the speakers. We slept in the same bed half naked twice after you came back. Nothing about you, especially shirtless, makes me uncomfortable, Magnus.”

Magnus hesitated for a moment before he tugged his shirt off and tossed it aside, switching the light off a moment later. Alec slid down to rest against the pillows as he felt the bed dip beside him and he held his arm out instinctively, smiling in the darkness of the room as Magnus curled against his side, tangling their legs together in a practiced motion.

His mind flashed to his leather jacket, tossed aside on the back of the couch in the living room, and the box he’d left in the inside pocket. His confidence had fizzled out over the course of the night and quite honestly, he’d forgotten about it after the third drink of whiskey. Now, even as he lay in bed with Magnus’ head pillowed on his shoulder, his warm bare skin pressed against Alec’s own, he realized they still had a little more repairing to do between them before he went opening that box on one knee.

But they were getting there.

“I love you too, you know. That hasn’t changed for me either.” Alec murmured, pressing a kiss to the top of Magnus’ head. The man shifted, pressing closer, his hand reaching out to entwine with Alec’s on his chest.

“I never thought it had.”




“Okay, what’s with the sudden summoning phone call?” Jace asked as he stepped into Alec’s office, looking around in confusion. Alec sat at his desk, looking down as some papers spread out in front of him with a furrowed brow. He didn’t look up as Jace entered. Simon was reclined in one of the chairs on the opposite side of the desk, one leg tossed over the arm of it with the other foot planted on the floor, fiddling away on his phone. Isabelle was sitting on the couch, legs folded neatly over each other as she turned a thin silver blade over in her hands.

The thing that caught Jace off guard, however, was Magnus. The man was perched on the edge of Alec’s desk, ringed fingers tapping impatiently against the wood. He wore a sharp, black pinstripe suit, the jacket unbuttoned enough for Jace to see the gun strapped just beneath his arm and the other on his hip. The idea of Magnus with a gun still struck Jace as odd, but if the information he and Izzy had uncovered told him anything, it was that the hitman was probably the most weapon proficient out of all of them.

Realizing his question wasn’t likely to be answered anytime soon, Jace went to sit in the other chair next to Simon. Alec finally looked up as he sat down.

“Jace. How kind of you to join us. I only called you,” Alec paused to glance at his watch before looking back up at Jace with a deadpan expression. “An hour ago.”

Jace shrugged. “Came as quick as I could, buddy. Some of us actually do things other than torture people and sign paperwork.”

Alec rolled his eyes and pushed his chair away from his desk, leaning back in it and twirling a pen between his fingers. He cast a glance at Magnus, the two of them communicating silently in a way that still confused Jace to this day. After a quiet moment and an expectant raise of Alec’s eyebrows, Magnus sighed and hopped off the desk. He snatched a paper from in front of his boyfriend and thrust it into Jace’s lap as he began to talk.

“Alexei De Quincey. Valentine’s right hand and hopefully, our ticket to any and all information regarding the lovely Jonathan Morgenstern. And Robert, if we get particularly lucky.” Magnus cast a look at Alec, who looked impassive at the mention of his father. Jace scrunched his brow at the photo before handing it over to Simon.

“I assume we have a plan?” Isabelle asked. Magnus beamed at her.

“That we do, my dear. Alexander and I will be attending a quiet dinner with De Quincey. And then, if all goes according to plan, we’ll be torturing some information out of him a mere two hours later. You and Jace are invited. Shawn is here...well, honestly, I’m not sure why Shawn is here.” Magnus turned to Simon, who shrugged, not looking up from his phone.

“I’m just waiting for my Jimmy John’s to show up. And Alec’s office has the most comfortable chairs.”

Jace kicked at Simon’s foot, causing the man to look up from his phone. “Ow!”

“Now, now, Blondie, play nice. There will be plenty of time for violence later. And not against my son in law.” Magnus pat Simon’s head affectionately. Simon grinned and stuck his tongue out at Jace, who glared back.

“Can we please focus? This isn’t a game.” Alec looked between all of them, a familiar irritated expression on his face.

“So if you and Magnus are going to dinner, where does that leave Jace and I?” Isabelle stood up from the couch, making her way over to the group of them surrounding Alec’s desk.

“You and Jace will be nearby, just in case something goes wrong. Which it won’t. But there’s a bar across the street you can wait in and we can signal you guys if anything happens.”

Alec tapped his pen on the desk, frowning.

“This will go fine, Alexander. I told you, I know Alexei. He may not trust me, after all we don’t exactly have the same set of morals, but we have a certain...respect between the two of us.” Magnus made a flourishing motion with his hand and smiled. Alec looked sullen despite the reassurance. Jace looked between the two of them, eyes narrowed.

“And you two are okay to do this? Because no offense but...last time any of us saw you two in the same room, you were screaming at each other.” Jace raised an eyebrow at Magnus, whose smile dropped off his face, turning into a grim line. Alec’s pen tapping ceased.

“We’re figuring things out. Regardless, this is work and we’re perfectly capable of being professional. Your concern isn’t necessary.” Alec’s tone left no room for argument and Jace held up his hands slightly in surrender. Magnus said nothing, moving around the back of Alec’s desk and resting a hand on his shoulder, squeezing it for a moment before pulling away. Alec gave him a soft look, so quick that Jace almost missed it, before returning to his siblings and Simon with his regular fixed stare.

“Once we get De Quincey contained here, we’ll begin to interrogate him.”

“Nothing like a good old therapeutic information extraction session, huh, boss?” Simon smirked, looking up from his phone at Alec. Alec cracked the barest hint of a smile while Magnus huffed a laugh.

“So, what you’re saying is that Jace and I get to help, hermano?”

Alec nodded. “We’ll rotate, or we’ll overwhelm him all at once. Magnus and I haven’t decided yet. It depends on which method we deem more effective based on Alexei’s reaction to all of this. I doubt he’ll be easy to crack so we might have to get creative.”

“I’m sure Izzy and I can think of a few things.” Jace smirked at his sister, who flashed a grin, flipping the knife in her hands again.

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, dears. Alexei won’t come to dinner alone, I’m certain of it. And in a crowded restaurant, we can’t afford any rash decisions. We have a bargaining chip but I’m not sure it’s enough to get Alexei alone. Especially considering he hates me.” Magnus sighed, twisting the cuff on his ear.

“Bargaining chip?” Simon asked, interest piqued.

“Camille. Alexei wants her, and from what the timeline of some surveillance photos tell us, it seems that she had a falling out with him as soon as Magnus was back in town. We are going to tell him we have her and hopefully, he’ll agree to come with us to get to her. He’ll probably bring a few people with him, nothing Magnus and I can’t handle on our own. You two are not to step in unless signaled, got it?” Alec said firmly, pointing a finger at his siblings.

“Loud and clear.”

“Good. Dinner’s at 8 and I want you ready and at the bar by 7.”

“We’ll be out before dessert is served.” Magnus smirked, a bright, almost unsettling look in his eye. Alec matched it, grinning in a way that had Jace shifting uneasily in his seat. He knew the things his brother was capable of, knew the extent of his repertoire. Only recently had he begun to learn about Magnus'. He cast a look at Izzy, who met his gaze with a knowing expression.

Two men at the top of their respective illegal industries, just the right amount of cold and calculating, politically intelligent, and prepared to do anything for the people they cared about. The gray area the two of them resided in was what made them so intimidating. Sure, Jace and Izzy were often as equally ruthless, but Alec had been trained from day one, formed and groomed to be the perfect kingpin to a massive network of criminality. It was because of him that his siblings got a choice to be in this business or not, and furthermore, a choice to leave it if they wanted. 

Alec Lightwood and Magnus Bane were dangerous enough on their own.

The two of them together again, everything laid out between them with no inhibiting secrets?  Jace thought.

New York might not be ready for that.

Chapter Text

I can practically see you sweating from here. You’re nervous, why are you nervous? ” Jace’s voice crackled suddenly through the earpiece Alec wore, making him cast a quick glance in the direction of the bar across the street before directing his eyes down to the concrete again. He was leaning against the wall outside of The Pavillion, waiting for Magnus to show up so they could get this ‘dinner’ mess over with. They’d all agreed to travel separately and show up at different times for the sake of subtlety and safety, but so far it had only served to make the uneasy feeling in Alec’s stomach worse. Jace, being the shockingly aware and frankly nosy person that he was, had noticed.

“I’m not.” Alec grumbled under his breath, checking his phone to look casual. People walked past him without so much as a glance, probably assuming he was just another guy being stood up by his date, exactly as he wanted them to. He’d dressed formally enough to fit in but not fancy enough to stand out, walking the fine line of average that worked perfectly for operations like this. A fitted suit, black, with a burgundy shirt and tie. The tailoring was off on purpose, a little too loose in the shoulders and a half inch too long in the pants to ensure that it wouldn’t look bespoke. Whether or not Alexei knew exactly who he was, they weren’t sure, but too nice of a suit would make him wary and the poor fitting would hopefully cause him to underestimate Alec instead. Besides, overall, well fitted suits drew attention. Or, as Izzy liked to point out, Alec in well fitted suits drew attention.

You are, I can tell. You keep reaching for your left jacket pocket, where you used to keep your cigarettes .” Jace didn’t sound accusatory but the reminder had Alec frowning and on the defensive, fingers twitching at his side.

“I quit years ago.” He glanced around, keeping his voice low. Any more talking and he’d have to put his phone to his ear to avoid getting odd looks.

No, you say you quit years ago. Even Mom knows you still smoke. Simon is the one who stocks your stash, Alec, come on. You really thought it was a secret? ” Jace snorted but it was quickly cut off with a wounded noise. “ Ow! ” Isabelle’s voice came through the earpiece a moment later.

Ignore our idiot brother, Alec. We know you’re trying. Besides, a few times a month when you’re stressed is better than a pack a day.

Alec ignored them, the itch under his skin amplifying with every passing second they continued on the subject. He almost reached for his jacket again but realized it in time and shoved his hands in the pockets of his slacks to hopefully avoid another comment from Jace, who seemed to have nothing better to do than watch him. He frowned when he felt the familiar velvet box and quickly removed it, placing it in the inner pocket of his suit jacket. How the hell did he forget that was in there? Why did he put it there in the first place? He should have left it in his leather jacket at the office. Damnit.

Wait, what did you just-

“Work talk only from here on out. Stay alert and unless necessary, stay quiet . And stop watching me!” Alec hissed under his breath, cutting his sister off as he watched Magnus’ car pull up to the valet. His boyfriend slid out of the dark maroon Maserati, a blasé smile directed at all the wide eyed looks he was getting. The valet fumbled with the keys as he handed them over but Magnus only gave him a charming smile and wink, slipping what looked like a hundred dollar bill into his jacket pocket. Alec stepped away from the wall as Magnus approached, holding out an arm for him to take in lieu of a greeting. Magnus fell easily into step beside him as they headed into the restaurant.

“I thought we agreed on subtlety.” Alec murmured, plastering a smile on his face as they passed people leaving. He nodded politely to the doorman as they entered the building.

“Oh darling, we agreed on subtlety for you. De Quincey knows the real me, there is no sense in pretending. Besides, this is nothing compared to the caliber that this place normally serves.” Magnus patted his arm, flashing the host a smile as they approached and sliding her a business card. She nodded and directed them toward the back of the packed restaurant. Alec’s eyes slid quickly over each staff member they saw, looking for anything that might suggest they weren’t actually employed here but rather, working for De Quincey. Nobody’s eyes seemed to linger too long, except a few that couldn’t help but stare at Magnus as they passed. Alec noted a few for later observation before turning his attention back to his boyfriend.

“I wouldn’t call a 150,000 dollar car and a suit like that , nothing, Magnus.” Alec tightened his arm as a waitress looked him over, a hungry expression on her face. Magnus glanced at him, rubbing his arm in comfort with a quiet hum.

“I can't help but have a little fun now that I have access to my bank accounts and cars again, sue me." He smoothed the front of his suit down with his free hand and caught Alec's stare. "What? You don’t like it?”

“I think the problem is that everyone likes it.” Alec sighed, glaring at another staff member who he caught gawking. He could see the table they were headed for now, shoved in the back corner of the restaurant, at least fifty feet from any other patrons. De Quincey was sitting there already, flanked by two men in dark suits. How obvious , Alec thought dryly.

“Well, the gold embroidery was a nice choice on my part, I must say. Just because it’s a business meeting doesn’t mean I have to look drab, Alexander.”

Alec arched a brow and turned his head to look at Magnus again. The black velvet suit fit him perfectly, gold embroidered flowers decorating the entirety of the jacket and trailing down the arms and lapels. A matching black bowtie was nestled neatly at the base of his throat, the white of the shirt beneath it contrasting with the rest of the outfit. Now that Alec was really looking, he realized it was fairly muted compared to Magnus’ normal dress attire, lacking any necklaces, tassels, or suspenders. His makeup was dark but bold , black liner precisely framing his eyes and offset by the gold smudged beneath his bottom lashes. His nail polish matched the embroidery of his suit and his hands were bare of their normal array of rings, only one present on his right hand. He looked sleek, a striking figure of black and gold that was just a touch menacing and Alec suddenly wanted to pull him into a dark corner and tell him as such in far fewer words.

“Magnus Bane. What a sparkling sight for sore eyes.” The unfamiliar voice had Alec turning his attention away from his boyfriend, looking forward as his lingering smile dropped, an impersonal expression taking its place. RBF, Izzy had called it? Whatever that was.

They’d stopped a few feet short of De Quincey’s table and the man had stood from his seat, holding his arms open and smiling far too pleasantly for Alec’s liking. Magnus pulled away to embrace the other man, greeting him with a kiss pressed to either cheek, a gesture that De Quincey returned comfortably. He pulled back and looked Magnus over, patting along his arms and then casually plucking at the lapels of his suit jacket.

“You look well, friend. And just as fashionable as I last saw you. This looks custom, yes?” De Quincey gestured to the suit, making a show of examining the embroidery.

Alec narrowed his eyes, watching the man’s hands touch and prod at Magnus with a sneaking suspicion growing in the back of his mind. It was confirmed the moment he saw De Quincey flip open one side of Magnus’ jacket, rambling off about the designer name he read on the tag.

He was checking for weapons.

Quite cleverly, Alec noted, and to any untrained eye, it would simply look like an affectionate and overly curious gesture but nobody had friends with that pure of intentions in this kind of business. And after what Magnus had told him of De Quincey, Alec was sure this was no friendly interaction. The other man was using their history together as an excuse to check Magnus over for weapons. Judging by the knowing arch of Magnus’ brow, he realized it too.

“Alexei, my dear, surely you don’t think I come here to harm you?” He asked, voice dripping with innocence. De Quincey pulled back with a sharp grin, clasping his hands in front of him.

“Of course not , Magnus, but old habits die hard. Surely, you understand?” He didn’t wait for a response, his gaze immediately cutting over to Alec, who had been standing off to the side silently with his hands behind his back, easily falling into parade rest. “Now, will you introduce me to your…?” He trailed off with the implied question, looking back at Magnus.

“My boyfriend, Alexander. Alexander, this is Alexei De Quincey, an old friend of mine.” Alec stepped forward as Magnus spoke, holding out a hand with a respectful nod of his head.

“Mr. De Quincey. A pleasure to meet you.”

“The pleasure is all mine! You’re the infamous Lightwood prodigy, after all. I’ve heard much about you.”

Aw fuck .” Jace’s voice filled Alec’s ear and he forced himself to keep the smile on his face, shaking De Quincey’s hand firmly.

Jace was right though. Alexei De Quincey knowing who he was didn’t do them any favors.

“All professional, I hope.” Alec stepped to Magnus’ side as he released De Quincey’s hand, noting the new wary edge to the man’s gaze. He’d need to tread even more carefully from here on out.

“Quite so. Your father has much to say about your accomplishments .” His eyes flashed to Alec’s hip, looking for the weapon that was covered securely by his buttoned suit jacket.

“My father isn’t a very reliable source when it comes to anything I do. Perhaps you’ll give me the chance to assuage any concerns you might have? Save you the effort of any background checks or surveillance details.” He flashed De Quincey a confident smirk, watching the man’s smile falter at Alec’s blatant indifference to the insinuations he’d made. It was best to play cocky and disloyal, especially if the disloyalty was to family. That was the kind of people this business, and men like De Quincey, favored. After all, loyalty meant you couldn’t be bought and if you couldn’t be bought, you’d be killed. “Better to be a liar than dead.” Maryse’s voice rang clear in his head, and for a moment he was 13 years old again, sitting in one of the hard plastic chairs in front of her desk, his head hung low as she berated him. “You are a Lightwood, Alec. And Lightwoods are loyal to their family. But under no circumstances do you tell anyone that! You’re smarter than this. If you cannot overpower them, you lie and gain their trust. Then you strike. Giving away your loyalties for the sake of defending your sister over something so stupid...I’m disappointed in you.”

Alec lay a hand on Magnus’ lower back to ground himself, shaking the memory from his mind.

De Quincey had recovered quickly, his cheeks flushed slightly, chagrined by the fact he’d been caught in his suspicions so blatantly again. He clapped his hands together and tossed Magnus a brittle smile. “He’s self assured! A man after my own heart! Please, sit, sit. Would you gentlemen like any wine? Magnus, perhaps a scotch?”

He directed them over to the table and they took their places across from him, with Magnus pulling Alec’s chair out for him to give him an excuse to move it closer to his own. Throughout the introductions, neither of De Quincey’s bodyguards had moved, their gaze focused forward in matching bored expressions. It was an obvious show of distrust and power on De Quincey’s part and Alec had no doubt that they weren’t the only two of his people lingering around.

“A blended, if they have it.” Magnus hummed, his arm brushing up against Alec’s as he grabbed his napkin from the table and neatly placed it into his lap. Alec watched him, ignoring De Quincey and their current task in favor of admiring the way the ambient lighting of The Pavillion danced over Magnus’ dark skin, catching the sharp line of his jaw and illuminating the gold threading of his suit. Alec looked away before he slid a large hand onto Magnus’ thigh and squeezed firmly, feeling the muscles tense in surprise before immediately relaxing in his grip. His lips curled into a pleased smirk as he caught the bewildered glance Magnus shot him out of the corner of his eye. He played innocent, licking his lips and keeping his gaze on De Quincey as he rubbed his thumb back and forth on his boyfriend’s leg.

“And you, Mr. Lightwood?” De Quincey frowned slightly, clearly uncomfortable at not having Alec’s full attention. Alec’s smirk only widened and he looked around as he spoke, maintaining an air of disinterest.

“A glass of whatever wine you’re drinking would be wonderful, Mr. De Quincey.”

The man’s answering smile was frosty. ”Of course .” He raised a hand and snapped to get the waiter’s attention, a rude gesture that Alec barely managed to resist rolling his eyes at. As De Quincey relayed the order to the staff member, Alec took the chance to discreetly look him over.

His blonde hair was slicked back into a neat ponytail at the base of his skull, lips thin and stretched across his face in a forcibly polite smile. His three piece suit was charcoal grey, personally tailored to his thin frame and decorated with a blood red cravat, flush against the pale skin of his throat. There was something almost... aristocratic about his appearance. As if he thought he was royalty. The haughtiness to every motion he made only served to affirm that observation, his long fingers folding deliberately around the bowl of his glass of red wine as he looked down his nose at the other patrons in the restaurant.

He’s a douchebag, isn’t he? He sounded like a douchebag. ” Izzy abruptly voiced Alec’s thoughts for him over the earpiece. He bit back a laugh and graciously accepted the alcohol a waitress had brought over for him. She looked nervous, eyes flickering to the men standing behind De Quincey, and left the moment as soon as she’d given Magnus his glass of scotch. Clearly not working for him then.

“So, Alexander, was it? Tell me. What do you think of your father’s newest endeavours?” De Quincey leaned back in his chair as he took another sip of wine, arching an eyebrow challengingly.

“Please, just Alec. And personally, I’ve little opinion on my father’s doings. Though, if you really want to know what I think, he’s being careless. He believes others trust him far more than they actually do.” Alec rubbed his hand up and down Magnus’ thigh as he answered, swirling his wine around the glass in his other hand casually.

“What makes you think that?” De Quincey narrowed his eyes ever so slightly at Alec, who shrugged.

“Robert has always been deluded about what others think of him. I can only assume this is no different. And considering he has only been Valentine’s footsoldier for what? Less than a month? Anyone who put more than an ounce of faith in him at this point is an idiot . Plain and simple.”

De Quincey’s expression darkened and his grip on his wine glass tightened, knuckles visibly tense. His smile was souring and Magnus knew he needed to step in quickly.

Their plan had been fairly simple. Alec would play aloof, not quite arrogant but definitely disinterested. Something he was fairly good at doing, considering nothing about De Quincey actually impressed him anyway. Magnus would play the old friend, the mediator that would lean more toward De Quincey’s side of things as the night went on. By the end of it, hopefully, Magnus would have his trust and Alec would have served to be enough of an irritating distraction to cause him not to think twice about the situation.

“What Alexander really that Robert Lightwood’s trustworthiness has a dollar amount next to it. So those in his company should tread carefully.” Magnus cut in, smooth and smiling politely before he shot Alec a disapproving look, making sure De Quincey saw it before plastering the smile back on his face.

“Hmm. Not a fan of daddy dearest I take it?” De Quincey plucked the menu up from the table and began to look over it as he spoke. Alec snorted.

“You could say that. Hard to be a fan of someone who thinks you’re disgusting.”

“Alexander, darling, perhaps we should order?” Magnus reached out and lay a hand over his on the table, making a show of trying to deflect and soothe his anger. Under the table however, Alec’s hand was still relaxed as it rubbed along Magnus’ thigh.

He may not be able to dance to save his life but Alec Lightwood sure could act, Magnus thought, pride swelling in his chest. It was intriguing to see Alec in his element, even if he was faking most of his current mood.

“There is a wonderful jamón iberico pork fillet that comes highly recommended from the chef.” De Quincey chimed in before Alec could answer. Magnus hummed pleasantly.

“That sounds fantastic, Alexei. Alexander and I will share, I think. Sound good, darling?” He nudged Alec’s side gently. The man made a disinterested noise in response, his eyes focused on De Quincey, who was busy murmuring their order to a waiter. When he finished, he looked up and met Alec’s unwavering gaze with an equally intense stare.

“I’m going to be frank with you, Alec , because I feel like we can both be honest men here. I trust your father. I really do. And so does Val. What I don’t understand is that... you should be on the same side as us. After all, you run the family business, don’t you? An old mob family, the Lightwoods are. Surely you’re a...traditionalist.”

Okay, I know you told us to keep quiet but this doesn’t sound good, Alec. What if he knows something is up?” He ignored Jace’s voice, frowning and drumming his fingers on the table.

“If by traditionalist, you mean to suggest that I enjoy and take pride in harming innocent people or preying on those less fortunate than me, Alexei, then I assure you, I’m no traditionalist. But from what I can tell, you, my father, and Morgenstern have no such gray morals to speak of. You see, I took over Robert’s mess years ago and quadrupled profits in just 14 months without doing anything like what you three do. I pay for the medical bills of anyone harmed in my line of work, I provide daycare for my associates, I cover funeral costs and financially support the unfortunate families of men like you that I have to put down-”

“Alexander!” Magnus cut him off, slamming his hand down on the table with a little more force than necessary. Alec’s jaw snapped shut and he tilted his head up in challenge at De Quincey, not even sparing his boyfriend a glance.

“No, Magnus, my friend, it’s quite alright. I hit a nerve with our dear mob boss here and I apologize. Perhaps we should speak of more civil subjects until we all have a bit of food in our stomachs, yes?” De Quincey drank the last of his wine and smiled warmly at Magnus. “How have you been? I hear you had to take an unexpected trip? I was shocked to hear you were back in New York and...well. Alive.”

Magnus laughed brightly, sipping his scotch. Alec’s fingers drew slow patterns on his thigh beneath the table.  “I imagine so. Many people were, in fact. Though, Alexei, I have to ask. How did you hear about all this? I did my best to keep the majority of it completely under wraps.”

De Quincey waved a hand, eyeing his empty glass as his smile waned. “Camille, of course. Her and I had reconnected over the past few months but you know her.  You showed back up and I was worth nothing more than the pavement beneath her feet.”

Magnus reached out to pat his hand in comfort. “You wrongly assume she treats me any better, my friend.”

De Quincey sighed and the two of them turned toward lighter subjects, with Alec tuning out the moment Magnus steered the conversation clear of Camille. When he finally deemed he was being ignored enough for him to survey the rest of the restaurant without suspicion, he let his gaze wander. The men behind De Quincey kept their eyes forward but Alec took them into account as he glanced around.

He’d already placed the host and three waiters, as well as at least four different men sitting at various tables in the general seating area. De Quincey had picked his table as a focal point, allowing him to easily maintain all of his hidden associates in eyeline and Alec was taking full advantage of that. Every single person he had pegged as undercover had glanced at their table nothing short of four times over the past thirty minutes and the fake staff’s outfits allowed him to clearly make out the shape of a gun. Either De Quincey was too cocky for his own good or the people he’d hired were expendable and poorly trained.

Probably both.

“Ah! Our food has arrived, gentlemen.”

A waiter had appeared, silently setting their plates down in front of them before refilling their respective drinks. He nodded to De Quincey. “Anything else I can get for you, Mr. De Quincey?”

“No, that will be all, thank you.”

The waiter nodded again and disappeared back toward the front of the establishment. Magnus didn’t hesitate in picking up his knife and fork to slice off a piece of iberico, popping the bite of pork into his mouth and closing his eyes with a pleased hum.

“Melts in your mouth, doesn’t it? Absolutely astounding. I was incredibly excited that you picked this place for our dinner meeting.” De Quincey began to dig into his own food, a complicated looking dish with a lobster tail in it.

“Alexander, here. Try some. It might make you feel better.” Magnus held a piece out on his fork in front of Alec’s face, arching a brow expectantly. Alec pretended to look hesitant, sipping his wine with a vaguely irritated expression. Magnus bat his eyelashes. “Please?”

Alec rolled his eyes, eating the piece off the fork and grumbling under his breath as he chewed. “I’d feel better if our company wasn’t a complete ass-”

“Alec.” Magnus cut him off sharply again, setting his fork down on the plate with a clang. He eyed Alec disapprovingly and shook his head, looking over at De Quincey. “Again, Alexei, I apologize. Perhaps it would be best if we just get to the point of this meeting so that we can all go home and relax.”

De Quincey wiped his mouth with a napkin and nodded, setting his own silverware down. “I agree. So. You tell me you have Camille. I take this to mean that you have her in your custody? Did you kidnap her?”

Magnus shook his head and took another bite of food. “Not exactly. She was causing some... unnecessary trouble for me and I thought it best that she not have any unsupervised communications. She’s in a safe house.”

“You give her to me and I’ll tell you whatever it is you want to know, Magnus. Plain and simple.”

“Why do you think I want something in return?” Magnus pushed his plate over to Alec so he could eat the rest but the man made no movement to do so, and kept his hand on Magnus’ thigh.

De Quincey hesitated, leaning back in his chair again and crossing his arms. “Well, why else would you be willing to pass her over to me if not in exchange for something?”

Magnus shrugged, fingers playing with the edge of his bowtie. “I told you, she’s been nothing but trouble for me since I returned. And even before that, I’m sure.”

“Ah yes. That was an interesting situation, wasn’t it? Just why did you have to disappear into the night, Magnus? Step on the wrong toes?”

Alec’s grip on his thigh tightened. Magnus cleared his throat and lay his own hand over Alec’s, rubbing his thumb back and forth over the man’s knuckles. “I may have been a little careless in my actions. It took a fair amount of time to get things fixed.”

“Word on the street is that things aren’t fixed at all, my friend.”

Magnus cocked his head. “Do you have something you want to ask me, Alexei? Rather than us continuing to dodge around one another so cryptically?”  

“Is it true that you tried to kill Jonathan Morgenstern?”

Magnus forced a sardonic grin. “Asking for yourself or a friend?

The tension was building in the air and Alec’s fingers twitched against the stem of his wine glass, mind flashing to his gun and eyes darting over the men behind De Quincey.

“I’m not here to threaten you, Magnus. But if there is something that Valentine needs to know-”

“Valentine doesn’t need to know anything. What happened is between myself and Jonathan. He’s not gone whining to father now, has he?” Magnus snarked, arching an eyebrow at De Quincey, who’s expression closed off.

This wasn’t going the way it was supposed to.

“Is it so wrong for a father to want to know who placed a kill order on his son?”

“I don’t divulge information about my client base. Why exactly does Valentine care about all of this? I was under the impression he wasn’t a fan of his first born.”

De Quincey narrowed his eyes, a deep frown set into his features. It was the first honest emotion Alec had seen on his face all night. “If you would just tell me what I need-”

“We’re here to talk about Camille, Alexei. Not Valentine or my dealings with his son.”

De Quincey sighed heavily, dropping his napkin on the table. “I had hoped this would be a civil dinner, Magnus.”

“It would be, if you’d trust him and stop interrogating him for your boss’s sake.” Alec cut in, pulling his hand away from Magnus and leaning forward over the table.

Alec, what are you doing? We need De Quincey to walk out of there so we can catch him as he’s leaving. Don’t drag this out any longer than we have to.” Jace spoke low in his ear but Alec ignored him again, watching De Quincey’s face morph in irritation.

“It’s not a matter of trust, my boy, it’s just the business.”

“I’m not your boy. And Magnus has trusted you , enough to come here unarmed. You just can’t resist trying to dig up information for your boss, can you?” Magnus hadn’t come unarmed but he wasn’t about to tell De Quincey about the two guns strapped to his boyfriend’s ankles.

“Alexander-” Magnus reached out to place a hand on his arm, confusion lighting his features but Alec just shook his head. De Quincey was staring him down, cold blue eyes meeting his own with a restrained glare.

“I don’t think I like what you’re insinuating, Mr. Lightwood. And honestly, inviting you was a courtesy I didn’t have to extend. This business is between Magnus and I.”

“Please, Alec. Perhaps you should go get some fresh air.” Magnus voice had Alec turning to look at him, narrowing his eyes at the odd tone in his voice.

“Yes, perhaps you should.” De Quincey gave Alec a smug smile and crossed his arms. Alec sat back in his seat, matching his expression.

“I’m fine where I am.”

Magnus sighed heavily, draining the last dregs of whiskey in his glass and running a hand through his hair. “Alexei. Do you want Camille or not? I’m not here to deal with you as Valentine’s right hand man, I’m here to deal with you as an old friend. So, I believe it to be in both of our best interests if we make arrangements to meet again or we split the bill and part ways amicably. Your choice.”

De Quincey drummed his fingers against his arm, looking both of the men over. He looked over his shoulder at his bodyguards and motioned with his hand. They both stepped forward as De Quincey stood from his seat.

“I’m afraid I’ll have to choose option number three.” He grinned at Magnus as he adjusted the cravat around his neck. “Come quietly. Let us not make a mess of this place, hmm?” De Quincey arched a brow and looked pointedly at Alec as the bodyguards each made a show of revealing the guns at their hips.

Alec snorted. Magnus shot him a wide eyed look.

Alec, what’s going on? Option three? What is he talking about? Come on, man, give me something. We can’t see in there.”

“Something funny, Mr. Lightwood?” De Quincey watched him carefully as the bodyguards discreetly drew their weapons. Alec just shook his head, laughing under his breath. Magnus was still looking at him like he’d lost his mind.

“How many people do you have here, huh, De Quincey? I’ve counted ten, not including your bodyguards, which makes twelve. Judging by the lack of the smug smile on your face, I’d say that’s all you’ve got.”

Magnus’ eyes narrowed as he caught onto what Alec had said. They’d been expecting a cavalry, at least twenty people on De Quincey’s side. Twelve was nothing in comparison. Confidence replaced any uncertainty that had remained throughout dinner and an excited thrum began under his skin. He couldn’t deny he’d been itching for a good fight since he’d gotten back.

De Quincey sneered. “Twelve against two says the odds are in my favor. I’ll give you five seconds to stand and follow me before my men start shooting and that's it.”

“Oh Alexei, only five seconds?” Magnus flashed the man a blinding grin, removing his napkin from his lap and tossing it toward the table. It missed and fluttered to the floor, making Magnus frown and quickly reach down for it. When he sat back up, he threw it onto the table and turned his attention back to De Quincey, who was glaring. Magnus’ fixed him with the same beaming smile from before. “Surely Camille told you I take longer than that?” He winked, watching De Quincey’s face turn red.

“You son of a bitch!” The man lunged forward, jerking abruptly to a stop in surprise when Magnus casually lifted one hand from his lap, brandishing the pistol he had pulled from his ankle holster just moments before, and aimed it directly at one of the bodyguards. Alec quickly pulled one of his own handguns from beneath his suit jacket, his aim centered in between the eyes of the other guard. De Quincey appeared momentarily frozen before he glanced around the room behind them, lips slowly twisting into a satisfied grin. “You two are drawing a lot of unwanted attention.”

Magnus shot Alec a side eyed glance and the two smirked at one another. De Quincey watched, his lip twitching.

“Alec? If I hear gunshots-”

“Now.” Alec’s command cut his sister off and Magnus moved, standing up quick enough to knock his chair back as Alec used his free hand to flip their dinner table up, catching De Quincey and both of his men off guard. Plates went flying, shattering on the ground as Alec shot the left bodyguard twice in the chest, sending him stumbling backward into the wall.

“Jesus christ, we really can’t handle a covert operation. I’m clearing civilians and coming in.” He barely registered his brother’s voice in his ear as he watched Magnus take the other guard down with a well placed shot between the eyes. Alec glanced around as the man hit the ground with a heavy thud and caught sight of De Quincey headed quickly toward the crowd of panicking restaurant goers. He could already tell that neither he nor Magnus would have a clear shot to incapacitate him without injuring a civilian and he grit his teeth.

“Jace! De Quincey is on the move!”

“Got it. Don’t let the fancy looking asshole get away. You two good in there on your own?”

“We’re fi-” The loud echo of gunshots cut him off as the host he had spotted earlier came out of the crowd, firing in his direction. One shot grazed his upper arm and he flinched, darting quickly out of her line of sight as three more bullets sunk into the drywall where he’d just been standing.  

He crouched behind a nearby half-wall as one of the waiters came out of the kitchen, shooting wildly in their direction. He cursed under his breath and looked around for Magnus, who was crouched behind their flipped table, a few feet away from him. They were too isolated in the back of the restaurant and unless they moved fast or killed faster, they’d be screwed.

“Can you see if there’s civilians in the way?” Magnus asked, hastily pulling his suit jacket and bowtie off. A bullet splintered the edge of the table just above his head.

“Too many for us to fire blind, if that’s what you’re asking!” Another bullet hit a potted plant nearby and Alec peeked out from behind the edge of the wall.

He could clearly see four of De Quincey’s people, the waiter and two of the plain clothed men that he’d spotted earlier eating dinner together, as well as the host that had shot him moments ago. The rest were either hiding or lost in the remainder of the crowd that was flooding toward the front of the restaurant, trying to escape the gunfire. He ducked back behind the wall.

“I can see four. One in the open, one behind the pillar to your far right, the other behind a flipped table near the center. And the host too, next to the kitchen doors. ”

Magnus shifted to his right, looking around the edge of the table. He quickly aimed and fired two shots, dropping the waiter and luring the one behind the pillar out enough for Alec to catch him in the leg and then again in the neck, not waiting to watch him hit the ground before he ducked back into cover. Magnus grinned at him, looking mussed but no worse for wear. “Lacking finesse but definitely skilled, Mr. Lightwood.”

Alec scoffed and rolled his eyes, not bothering to answer. “We need to get out of this corner.”

“Agreed. Cover me?”

“Cover you? I don’t even know where-Magnus!” Alec balked as the man darted out from behind the table, quickly sprinting to a pillar twenty feet away. “ Damnit .” Alec cursed, looking around quickly before he followed, managing to take the host out as he did. He shoved another table over and knelt behind it. Magnus was just off to his right, back braced against the pillar as he tried to see which direction the shots were coming from. Alec spared a glance around the edge of the table and paled.

There was a lot more people with guns pointed in their direction than there had been a few moments ago.

“Uh, Magnus?” He shouted, checking the clip on his gun and hastily counting under his breath.

“Yes, darling?”

“I know you love attention but even this might be a little excessive!” Alec growled, creeping close to the edge of the table and taking aim, hitting one of the shooters in the chest. He hit the floor, blood blooming on his white uniform shirt. Magnus stuck his arm out from behind the pillar and dropped two more with skilled shots to the head. Alec grimaced. “There’s at least fifteen now!”

“I’ll be worried when it’s double that!” Magnus responded, firing a few more shots around the pillar. Another man fell, his gun tumbling across the carpet. Magnus shot Alec a worried look. “Your arm!”

Alec shook his head. “It’s fine! I barely feel it!” He glanced around the table again.

Eleven people still shooting at them. Great. Alec rolled his eyes to himself.

“How many are there? I’m coming in.” Isabelle’s voice crackled over his earpiece and he breathed a sigh of relief as the familiar loud crack of her favored M9 filled the room. Three of De Quincey’s people hit the floor, the rest turning in alarm as Izzy ducked behind the host podium, just a flash of her dark ponytail visible before she was out of Alec’s line of sight. He moved out from behind the table and snuck up on the nearest man, wrapping an arm around his neck and pulling him quickly out of sight. He struggled, gasping for air and dropping his gun to the ground.

“How many more of you are there?” Alec hissed in his ear, his back hitting the wall as he tightened his grip even more. The man wheezed.

“Th-there’s no...more…”

“You lying?” Alec asked, eyes darting over to where he could see Magnus and Izzy still locked in the shootout. There looked to be about six of De Quincey’s people left and the restaurant was already destroyed, plates smashed along the carpet, windows cracked, tables flipped, and numerous bullet holes littering the walls.

“N-no, I swear!” He choked the words out, hands still scrambling to rip Alec’s arm from his neck. Alec frowned and cut the man’s air supply off completely, waiting until he went limp before dropping the body to the floor.

“Alexander, a little help, perhaps?”

He looked up sharply at the sound of Magnus’ alarmed voice to see the man fighting one of the waiters and the waitress from earlier, the one who looked nervous at the sight of De Quincey’s bodyguards.

She didn’t look nervous now, Alec grimaced, watching her land a solid looking punch to his boyfriend’s abdomen as the waiter stumbled back into a wall from what was most likely the broken nose Magnus just gave him.

“Coming!” Alec called, taking out another gunman before darting as quick as he could across the room, hitting the waitress in the back of the knees and catching her around the neck as she went down. He swiftly shot her in the temple as Magnus managed to pick up his gun from the floor and shoot the waiter twice in the chest.

Silence had settled over the restaurant and Alec huffed out a sigh, sinking to the floor against the pillar. “Iz, we good?”

“All clear from what I can tell, hermano. Quick and easy." The familiar thud of her boots approached the pillar and she rounded the corner, holstering her gun at her hip and tightening her ponytail. Magnus unbuttoned the top two buttons of his white shirt and ran a hand through his hair, which still looked good despite the firefight.

“Ugh. I love a good gun fight but it is not my activity of choice for sweating.” He sighed and shoved his gun into the waist band of his slacks, leaning back against the wall. “We lost De Quincey, didn’t we?”

“This the one you wanted?” They all looked up to see Jace walking slowly toward them, dragging an unconscious body across the floor by the tie. He let it flop to the floor at Magnus’ feet. De Quincey’s face was swollen, eyes black and dried blood surrounding his nose. Magnus turned to Alec with an arched brow.

“The golden retriever can fetch. Who knew?”

“Oh fuck you, Bane.” Jace scoffed, his lips twitching as he fought back a smile. Magnus only winked at him in response.

“Jace, secure De Quincey and then you and Iz go home. I’ll call the cleanup crew. And someone send Mom a thank you note. It’s undoubtedly her that kept this place from being swarmed with cops.” Alec heaved himself off the floor, wincing at the sting from the graze on his arm. As he did, something fell out of his jacket, tumbling to the floor at Magnus’ feet.

A little velvet box.

Alec closed his eyes, taking a deep breath.

“Alexander-” Magnus began but Alec held a hand up, biting his bottom lip and silently cursing himself in both Spanish and English.

“That’s...our cue. See ya at the office tomorrow, buddy.” Jace cast a glance at Magnus. “At least, I hope I do.” He gripped De Quincey by the collar and slowly dragged him away, Isabelle following as she cast a worried glance back at her brother. Alec opened his eyes, nervously casting a look at Magnus, who looked equal parts shocked and furious.

“You have...a lot of explaining to do, Alexander Gideon Lightwood.”

Alec sighed again, a headache building in his temples. He looked out over the mess of the restaurant, bodies littering the floor and blood staining the carpet. His phone was buzzing in his pocket. “Yeah. Trust me, I know.”

Chapter Text

“And then, I shit you not, the engagement ring just fell out of his pocket.” Jace gestured to the floor as he took another swig of his beer, chuckling. Izzy nodded next to him, looking sympathetic. The four other people at the table stared, their faces a range of emotions from shock to exasperation.

The group had finally decided to get together at The Hunter’s Moon, celebrating a successful operation, not dying, and a rare opportunity to enjoy each other’s company all at the same time. Maia had gotten the night off thanks to Jordan, who felt guilty for how often he called her in, Simon was always given the day off when there were big operations or undercover missions, Raphael had been reluctantly dragged along with him, and Clary had finished the last batch of her most recent forged paintings. 

“You have to be kidding me. Why the hell would he bring that with him?” Maia shook her head, looking bewildered. Jace shrugged in response.

“Don’t ask me. Even I don’t know where his head is at these days.” He set his empty beer bottle aside and rested his chin on his arms, which were folded over the back of a chair he had flipped around to sit on.

“God, that must have been so awkward. What did Magnus say? I mean, a small velvet box is kinda hard to misinterpret.” Clary was sitting on the other side of Jace, drinking a half empty vodka cranberry and already looking flushed, her cheeks a soft pink in the dim light of the bar.

“Honestly, he looked...pissed?” Isabelle frowned, her perfectly filled in brows drawing together with uncertainty. She drained the last dregs of her drink and propped her elbows on the table, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. “Not totally enraged or anything but definitely not happy. But then again, it was hard to tell. You know Magnus, it’s impossible to get a read on him.”

Simon was surprisingly quiet as everyone nodded in agreement, spinning a spare coaster around in his hands and staring down at it with a far away expression. Raphael was equally silent next to him, although his exasperated expression stated clearly what he thought of the whole situation.

“So, to recap, it was supposed to be a simple grab and go, turned into a gunfight that destroyed literally the whole restaurant, and at the very end of it, as you’re all preparing to go on your merry way, an engagement ring falls out of Alec’s pocket.” Maia raised her eyebrows at Jace, who nodded firmly.

“Yep. Landed right at Magnus’ feet.”

She shook her head again, smirking into her glass. “Sounds like a bad rom-com.” 

Jace snorted. “You’re telling me. I practically sprinted out of there the moment it happened, I’ll tell you that. Alec got himself into that idiotic situation and judging by Magnus’ expression...I’d already seen my fair share of blood spilled that night, so I wasn’t sticking around. Still had to drop De Quincey off though, which is why I was late tonight.”

“Uh huh, sure.” Clary said sarcastically, rolling her eyes at her boyfriend.

“Magnus couldn’t have actually been angry.” Simon cut in, looking irritated.

 Everyone turned toward him, abruptly going silent. Raphael shot a look at his fiance, noting the  angry twitch in his jaw, the way he tore at the coaster in his hands. Slowly, he draped his arm across the back of Simon’s chair, one hand lightly squeezing his shoulder. 

“Simon is right. If Magnus was angry, it wasn’t about the prospect of marriage. More likely it was the poor timing of it all.” He gave Simon a reassuring smile but the man ignored him, turning toward the rest of the group. 

“And don’t call Alec an idiot. He’s the reason you all have jobs. And you should all know better than to be sitting here, making jokes and- and laughing at him! You saw what losing Magnus did to him. And they’re having a hard enough time as it is. I’m sure that bringing the ring was an accident or- or a comfort of some sort.” Simon stammered, his frustration making it harder for him to think and speak clearly. Raphael could see it building and opened his mouth to try and calm his fiance but Simon continued quickly, his voice raising in volume. “What happened to giving him advice and trying to help them be happy again? You guys are supposed to support each other and all you do is tease and make fun without ever thinking that maybe, maybe it hurts people! Some fucking family you are.” Simon scoffed and tossed the torn up coaster down, shaking Raphael’s arm off his shoulders. He shoved back from the table, his chair screeching loudly across the floor, before standing and leaving the bar without another word.

The group shared baffled looks before glancing at Raphael, who was rubbing the bridge of his nose, staring down into his glass of water. He looked resigned and made no move to follow his fiance.

“Uh...want to explain to everyone what the hell that was about, Santiago?” Jace asked, shooting a look at the door of the bar. Raphael leaned back in his chair, sighing before he spoke.

“We...recently had dinner with Simon’s family. Sparing the details, it didn’t go so well. His sister has been supportive and kind since she reconnected with Simon but his mother…” Raphael shook his head. “Simon was hopeful it would work out, after the issues he had with her in the past but it didn’t.” He stretched and stood from his chair, slowly pushing it in politely as he grabbed his suit jacket from the back. He fished in his pocket for his wallet, pulled some bills out and neatly set them on the table next to his water. He straightened up and glanced around the group with an unreadable expression. “Alec is his family. He’s spent almost everyday in the man’s presence for over a year and a half and just as much with most of you. Not Becky or his mother. And he’s heard plenty about Magnus through me. All he wants is for the people around him to be happy. For his family to be happy, even if he isn’t. El vínculo que une a tu verdadera familia no es uno de sangre, sino de respeto y gozo en la vida de los demás.” He gave them a polite smile and left the bar, following after Simon. The bond that binds your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in the lives of others.

Maia chewed her lip, all signs of teasing gone. “I had no idea about his mom. I knew that he didn’t really have a relationship with her but…”

“She always had an idea of what kind of son he would be and when he didn’t live up to it, she got angry. Not to mention her alcoholism. Simon couldn’t take it and left. But I didn’t know that his mom had recently contacted him. But his reaction makes sense now. I’ve no doubt she probably had a problem with him being with a Catholic man . She always was bigoted.” Clary grit her teeth and set her drink on the table a little harsher than necessary.

“I didn’t know any of that.” Jace mumbled, looking down at the beer bottle in his hand, his brow furrowed. Isabelle leaned against his shoulder. 

“It’s okay, Jace. Raphael wasn’t trying to guilt trip anyone. But he’s protective of Simon and he can come across a little harsh sometimes. He doesn’t spare anyone’s feelings when it comes to the truth.” 

Jace looked toward the door of the bar again. “Yeah. Yeah, I guess you’re right.”





“Magnus. Magnus, listen to me!”

“Alexander, I thought we agreed that we should go slow and focus on work. I can’t believe you would even think of-” Magnus cut himself off with a shake of his head and frowned as they left the restaurant, slipping past the clean up crew as they went. He strode quickly to the valet booth and ducked inside, searching the wall for his keys. Alec followed, standing next to the booth and fidgeting nervously with his hands. 

“We did! And I wasn’t going to propose. Okay? Why would I do that during an operation? You know I’m a romantic and that- that would be stupid!” He stammered the words out, the box in his slacks weighing him down where he stood. Magnus stepped out of the booth, clutching the keys to his Maserati with a stern expression on his face.

“Then why the hell do you have that?”

“It was an accident. I didn’t mean to bring it with me.” Alec frowned, reaching for his left jacket pocket when he felt his hands shaking. He caught himself just as Magnus narrowed his eyes and hastily tried to pass of the gesture as adjusting his clothes.

“I didn’t ask why you have it here , I asked why you have it at all . Did you think that that would fix everything?” Magnus asked, brown eyes boring into his. “Because it doesn’t. And have you seriously been smoking again?” He turned away from Alec with a disgusted scoff, heading toward the parking lot and not even sparing a glance behind him. Alec followed, easily keeping up with Magnus long strides and remaining only a few steps behind him. His phone started buzzing in his pocket again and he growled in frustration, pulling it out and answering it as he kept a close eye on where his boyfriend was going.

“Goddamnit, what?!” He snapped.

“Alexander Gideon Lightwood, don’t take that tone with me.”

Alec’s irritation dissipated at the sound of his mother’s voice and he stopped walking, running a hand through his already mussed hair.

“Mamá, ahora no es un buen momento.” Mom, now is not a good time.

“Sólo te llamé para decirte que la policía no sabe nada, hijo.” Her firm tone had softened at the sound of her son’s distress and Alec let out a sigh of relief. I just called you to tell you that the police don't know anything, son.

“Gracias, mamá. Pero realmente necesito ir. Magnus es-” Thank you, mom. But I really need to go. Magnus is-

He looked up, realizing he’d lost sight of the man while he was speaking and caught sight of Magnus climbing into his car, halfway across the dark lot. He cursed, pulling the phone away from his ear. “Magnus, wait! Por Dios!” For God’s sake!

Magnus halted just before he shut the door, gritting his teeth and shutting his eyes before opening them to see Alec suddenly standing there, trying to catch his breath. 

“I bought it... before you left. A year and a half ago. We’d been together for 2 years at the time and I...I wanted to marry you. So badly. And yes, I still do but I swear, te prometo que no lo iba a hacer esta noche.” I promise you, I wasn’t going to do it tonight.

Magnus looked down at the ground as Alec spoke, unable to handle the raw emotion in the man’s face coupled with what he was saying. When he finally looked back up, a long silence filling the air between them, Alec noticed the slight shimmer to his eyes. He smiled softly and continued.

“Magnus, I’ve been carrying it for comfort since you got back. More so lately, with all that’s been going on between us. But tonight, I just...I just forgot. I must have grabbed it out of habit. Please, don’t be mad, God, don’t let this ruin all the progress we’ve made so far. I couldn’t handle it.”

“Oh, Alexander, I…” Magnus trailed off for a moment, moving to climb out of his car and shut the door behind him. “I was just irritated at the thought of being proposed to during a kidnapping mission, okay? And I thought you might be trying to use it to fix the things between us and I just jumped to conclusions and-”

“It’s okay. I understand why you might have thought that. It certainly sounds like something I might do, especially when I’m not thinking straight. And I have done something similar before, if you remember. Trying to fix our first fight with dozens of roses and a candlelit dinner?” Alec chuckled humorlessly, his pulse still thrumming nervously from the panic. He suddenly realized he was still holding his phone and quickly lifted it back to his ear. 


“No hay necesidad de explicar. Pero por favor, llámame mañana. Te amo.” No need to explain. But please, call me tomorrow. I love you.

“Te amo también.” I love you too. 

“Y no dejes ir a ese hombre, Alejandro.” And don’t you let that man go, Alexander.

Alec grinned at Magnus, who was eyeing him with an unreadable expression.

“No lo dejaré ir, Mamá.” I won’t let him go, Mom.”

He hung up the phone, a smile lingering on his face as he pushed it back into his pocket. Magnus was looking at him with a soft eyes now, all the anger from earlier long gone.  “It did kind of work, you know.”

Alec crunched his brows in confusion, having forgotten exactly what they’d been talking about. “What did?”

A smile tugged at Magnus’ lips, as he stepped forward and began straightening Alec’s loose tie, just for something to do with his hands. “The dinner and the roses. It kind of worked.” He paused. “But this time is different. We’ve been over that.”

“I know. I know it is but we’re getting there.” Alec murmured, his tone almost begging.

Magnus nodded firmly, his voice reassuring. “Slowly. Just don’t go pulling that ring out just yet, okay?”

Alec exhaled in relief, reaching out to wipe away some slowly dripping blood from a small gash on Magnus’ forehead. “I guess I can wait a little longer.” He pulled his hand away to wipe the blood off on his own shirt, still smiling, before he moved to cup Magnus’ jaw, thumb stroking across his skin. “You know, you looked good in there.” 

Magnus arched a brow, hands stilling on Alec’s now secured tie. “You weren’t so bad yourself, darling.”

Alec cleared his throat, glancing off to the side and licking his lips slowly before he spoke again. The words came out rough, his voice low as if to avoid anyone else hearing it but Magnus. “No...I mean you looked good in there.”

Magnus made a soft tsking noise, a smirk on his lips. “Now, Alexander, you know better. Flattery will get you nowhere.”

“No?” Alec asked, arching a knowing brow. 

Magnus rolled his eyes, exhaling a soft laugh. “Okay, maybe it will get you everywhere. But…” Magnus gave him a pointed look. “We have a lot of work to do, I’m sore as hell, and you have a gunshot wound.”

Alec pouted, grumbling his response. “It’s a graze.”

“A wound nonetheless, and one that needs medical attention.” 

“Magnus, it needs some gauze and a bandage wrap. My mom took care of the cops, Izzy called the cleaning crew and Jace locked up De Quincey for tomorrow. We don’t have anywhere...else... to be.” Alec pressed closer, his last words falling slow and deliberate from his lips as he moved, stepping forward until Magnus was pressed firmly between his body and the car behind him. Magnus cleared his throat, avoiding Alec’s eyes even as he slid his hands higher up the man’s chest, toying with his collar. “But if you really are objecting…” Alec trailed off and made a blatant move to step back but Magnus’ hands instantly tightened on his shirt, holding him where he was. A smug smile spread across his face as he watched Magnus’ Adam’s apple bob, a soft flush creeping into his cheeks as he spoke.

“And just how did your mother stop over 50 civilians from alerting the police?” He struggled to keep his voice casual, dancing around Alec’s suggestion.

“Well, she didn’t. She just made sure that they had no idea it was us. Anonymous tips, a few bribes to not look too closely, and an appalling lack of security cameras chalk it all up to an unfortunate gang shootout with no suspects. And eyewitness accounts are very unreliable.” Alec hands wrapped around Magnus’ hips, a few fingers sneaking their way under his untucked and bloodstained dress shirt to stroke lightly across his skin, just the barest hint of nails sending a shiver down the other man’s spine.

“Oh, that’s...good.” Magnus’ voice came out breathier than he meant it too and he cleared his throat again, watching Alec’s eyes darken. “About the police, I mean.”

“We did really good in there together, you know. I really think that maybe...we could move forward a little more from here." Alec murmured, his hands sliding further up his shirt, warm and calloused palms dragging across his sides. He gazed at Magnus, a clear question on his face.

“Yes, Alexander?” Magnus’ reached around to cup the back of Alec’s head, fingers sliding into the hair at the nape of his neck. Alec exhaled.

“Please tell me I can kiss you.” 

Magnus only response was to lean up ever so slightly, pulling Alec’s head down as he did and crashing their mouths together, relishing in the feeling of his lips, smooth and plush against his own. Alec immediately tightened his grip, pressing Magnus back further against the car and slotting a leg between his as he did so. Magnus tugged lightly on his hair, letting out a soft exhale that gave Alec the perfect chance to catch his bottom lip between his teeth, pulling on it faintly. The kiss was heated from the beginning, the adrenaline still pumping through their veins from the gunfight and all the tension they’d been dancing around only making them more needy for one another, and it quickly devolved into something with no finesse, all teeth and saliva slick lips.

Magnus refused to admit it to himself but he let out a whimper as Alec’s tongue dipped into his mouth, his hands grasping in his hair as large hands slid up his back, pushing his dress shirt halfway up his torso. Alec’s nails dug into his skin and Magnus arched into the feeling, completely lost in the taste of Alec , the way he surrounded him entirely, overloading all his senses. It was only the cold shock of metal against his newly bared skin that brought Magnus back to the present enough to mumble a soft protest against Alec’s mouth.

“Alexander...parking lot…” He could barely get the words out as Alec pressed hot, open mouthed kisses along his jawline, stopping only to nip lightly at spots he knew made Magnus weak in the knees.

“Alexander-” Magnus tried again as warm breath wafted across his ear, teeth tugging on his earlobe and making him shudder.

“So? No one’s here and last I checked…” Alec chuckled softly and pressed a kiss along Magnus’ jugular as his hands trailed along the line of Magnus’ slacks and stopped at his belt, playfully tugging it open. “You didn’t mind someone seeing you fall apart beneath me.” 

Magnus gave a broken moan, craning his neck to give Alec better access as his cock throbbed at the suggestion. Alec sucked a hard mark along the slope of his shoulder, not stopping until he was sure it would be visible the next day. He pressed his leg further against Magnus’ crotch, growling when he felt the hard line of his cock through the layers of their clothing. He abruptly yanked Magnus away from the car, one hand reaching around to throw the back door open before he was insistently pressing the man into the backseat.

“But on second thought, I really don’t feel like sharing.”

Magnus let himself be pushed into the car, ducking to avoid hitting his head and tumbling back onto the leather seats. Alec was hovering over him moments later, maneuvering himself carefully so as not to crush Magnus as he turned to pull the door shut behind him. He planted one foot onto the floorboards, his other leg bent and knee resting between Magnus’ legs on the seat. Magnus was reaching up to pull Alec’s mouth back to his, irritated at the momentary loss, when Alec leaned back, breath heavy as he pinned Magnus down firmly with a hand on his chest.

“Let me just..let me look at you.” Alec licked his lips, eyes raking across the pliant form of his boyfriend beneath him, looking relaxed and breath-taking even in the cramped confines of the dimly lit Maserati. He cursed under his breath, cock aching in his tight slacks at the sight of Magnus’ swollen lips and flushed cheeks. His makeup was smudged around his eyes, his clothes were rumpled and stained, he had blood on his knuckles, and yet Alec had never wanted him more.  

“You have no idea how much I missed you, do you?”

Alec asked as he slid his hands along the inside of the Magnus’ thighs, pushing them open as much as he could and digging his fingers into the taut muscle there. 

“Why don’t you show me?” Magnus quipped, reaching out and snatching Alec’s tie before he could respond. He yanked on it, dragging Alec down on top of him and pressing their lips together in another rough kiss. Alec grinned into it.  “If you insist.” 

Magnus had a witty response ready on his tongue until he felt the front of his dress shirt get ripped open, buttons clicking against the console as they disappeared somewhere throughout the car. Alec’s mouth was on his chest moments later, tongue hot and laving against spots that hadn’t felt attention in almost two years. Magnus groaned and rolled his hips against Alec’s, seeking friction as the heat pooling in his stomach flared.

“These still as sensitive as they used to be?” Alec asked, licking delicately around the edge of Magnus’ nipple ring and relishing in the shiver that ran through the man beneath him.

“If you’d stop talking and put your mouth to better use, maybe you’d find out.” Magnus huffed, unable to resist trembling when Alec blew a soft exhale over his nipple and watched it pebble quickly in the cool air of the car. 

“Suppose you’re right. But later, when my patience isn’t already thin... I think I’ll remind you what happens when you get snippy with me.” Alec wrapped his lips around the pierced nub, sucking hard and smirking when Magnus let out a breathy noise. 

Shit, Alec, be nice!” He whimpered again as Alec rolled his other nipple between his thumb and forefinger, pinching it a little harsher than necessary to elicit the reaction he wanted. He pulled away from the one he’d been abusing with his mouth to speak, noting how puffy it already looked.

“I thought you wanted me to shut up and get on with it.” Alec murmured. Magnus only whined in response and Alec turned back to the task at hand, swirling his tongue around the piercing. He delicately flicked the other nipple, feeling Magnus jolt beneath him and watching his hands scramble to get a grip on the leather seats.

Alec continued for a minute or so, waiting until his boyfriend’s chest was heaving and his nipples were dark red before he pulled away, leaning back to quickly unbutton his shirt and tug it off along with his tie. He tossed them both aside somewhere in the front seat and moved to unbuckle his belt when dark hands reached out, palming along the hard line of his cock. He groaned, his head tipping back as Magnus’ deft fingers popped the button of his slacks open, sliding the zipper down with a soft murmur. “Allow me.” 

He kneeled up on the seat, untangling his legs from beneath Alec and, with some clever maneuvering, had the man’s pants off and tossed on top of the backseat moments later. Magnus’ tongue darted out to wet his lips as he caressed the prominent bulge in Alec’s boxer briefs, swiping his thumb across the damp spot on the front of them and feeling his mouth water. He squeezed his boyfriend’s clothed cock one more time before he turned away, reaching back alongside the passenger seat for something. The seat racked forward suddenly, the sound jarringly loud in contrast to their low voices and heavy breathing. Magnus shot Alec a wink before he slid to his knees on the floorboard, beckoning with two fingers. 

Alec’s blood rushed in his ears, his eyes instantly flickering to Magnus’ lips, glistening and lush and oh so welcoming. He was settling in front of him before he knew it, muscles moving of their own accord as he spread his legs around broad shoulders and leaned back against the leather seat. Alec let his eyes slide shut as smooth hands wandered up his legs, fingers slipping underneath the edges of his underwear, teasing just shy of where he wanted them.

“Magnus…don’t play with me.” He warned, pushing his hips up insistently. Magnus took this as an easy opportunity to slide Alec’s underwear off, leaving them pooled around his ankles as he leaned in and pressed a kiss to sharp cut of the man’s pelvic bone.  

Alec’s thighs quivered beneath Magnus’ hands, his abdomen flexing as Magnus’ lips traced a scorching trail across his skin while deliberately avoiding his cock, which was laying hard and aching against his stomach. Magnus watched him through thick lashes, a wicked gleam in his dark eyes. Alec held his gaze, lips parted and breathing heavy as those long, talented fingers encircled him and stroked once, the slow drag of skin making his cock twitch. Precum beaded at the tip and Magnus ran his thumb across it, gathering it up on his finger before deliberately pressing it into his mouth and licking it clean, keeping eye contact with Alec the whole time. 

“Normally, I’d drag this out even longer,” Magnus mumbled, resuming his slow stroking of Alec’s cock. “But a year and a half is a long enough time already, don’t you agree?” He didn’t wait for Alec to respond, just leaned forward and wrapped his lips around the head of his cock, eyes slipping shut as he did so.

“Holy shit…” Alec groaned, his hand sliding into Magnus’ dark hair as the man quickly swallowed down the rest of his length. “Magnus, you…” Alec tried to speak, cutting himself off with a sharp moan as he felt his cock hit the back of his boyfriend’s throat. His hand flexed, fingers scratching across Magnus’ scalp.

Magnus whimpered around his cock, his free hand sliding down to press against the front of his pants, aiming to ease the throbbing ache there. Alec’s hand tightened in his hair, pulling, and Magnus’s whole body jolted, a shudder running through him. Alec grinned smugly as Magnus’ throat contracted, a strangled moan vibrating around his cock. He gently pushed his head down, waiting to see if he resisted, and when he didn’t, Alec pressed down harder, twisting his hand through the soft locks to force another delighted noise from Magnus.

“God, yeah, that’s good. Just like that…” Alec thrust in and out of his mouth at a leisurely pace, pulling Magnus’ hair and watching his eyelids flutter. The feeling of saliva dripping down his balls and smearing on the leather seats beneath him had Alec groaning low in his throat, still unable to tear his eyes from Magnus’ face. His cheeks were flushed a feverish red, brown eyes glistening with tears, the lightest sheen of sweat shining across his dark skin. His makeup wasn’t just smudged now but smeared beneath his eyes, jaw and neck littered with the marks of Alec’s possessive nature. And that mouth , Alec thought with a low moan. Soft lips stretched tight around his cock, swollen, bruised and slick with spit. Magnus met his gaze, eyes bright and hazy with pleasure.

The whole car had become stiflingly warm, windows fogging up and the air full of only Magnus’ desperate whining and Alec’s satisfied praise. He took his time, dragging the blowjob out for almost twenty minutes, pumping his hips and enjoying the wet slide of Magnus’ tongue, the tight grip he had on Alec’s thigh. Magnus slowly devolved into a quivering mess, his mind stuck on a track of nothing but Alec and the thick size of him stretching his jaw, his fingernails leaving deep crescent shapes in the man's leg as he lost himself to the feeling. He pressed his free hand clumsily against the hard outline of his own cock, the friction of the cloth dragging across it in a delicious burn with every undulation of his hips. He breathed deeply through his nose as he slid Alec's cock back into his throat over and over again, knowing full well his voice would be completely shot for at least a day after this and not caring one bit as the salty taste of precum bloomed on the back of his tongue. His whole body was alive with pain and pleasure, muscles eager to feel more, to be closer, to please even as the exhaustion of the night's earlier activities weighed him down. The knot in his stomach was almost unbearable now, desperate for relief as his balls ached. He pressed harder against his hand and swallowed around Alec, keening as he strained to push himself over the edge. Alec noticed, saw the glazed over look in Magnus' eyes and began murmuring in Spanish, his voice rough.

“Fuck, papi ...fuiste hecho para esto…” You were made for this. He gently untangled his hand from Magnus’ thoroughly debauched hair, cupping his face and tracing a thumb along his cheek. “Te ves tan bonito con una polla en la boca.” You look so pretty with a cock in your mouth .

Magnus’ made a strangled, broken noise as soon as the words left Alec’s lips, the tight tension in his gut snapping as his orgasm suddenly rolled through him. He whimpered with each wave of pleasure, stomach clenching and unclenching as he rutted against his own hand with stilted motions, his cock pulsing in his pants. 

Alec fucked into his now slack mouth, still cradling his face with a tenderness that didn’t match the harsh pace of his hips. Magnus didn’t make any effort to help, simply letting Alec use him as aftershocks shivered down his spine, the tears in his eyes finally spilling down his cheeks. It only took a moment before Magnus felt Alec’s cock throb against his tongue, his movements stilling as he came down his throat in hot spurts, a low growl falling from his lips. Magnus swallowed reflexively, moaning weakly at the familiar bitter taste on his tongue. 

“Fuck, Magnus...eres tan bueno…” You’re so good. Alec pressed into his mouth a few more times, savoring the feeling until it got to be too much and slowly slipped his cock free.

Magnus swayed slightly on his knees, leaning forward to rest his head on Alec’s thigh, muscles blissfully weak and relaxed. Alec stroked his cheek again, wiping the tears away as he gazed at Magnus, a disarming look of reverence in his eyes. It was the look Alec had given him from day one, like he was something holy, made to be worshipped , and it never failed to make Magnus feel laid open and raw, especially during times like this, when he was already vulnerable, already giving all of himself to Alec. 

“Come here.” Alec murmured, keeping his voice quiet in the sudden stillness of the car. He reached down, easily tugging Magnus up and into his lap. Magnus went willingly, straddling Alec’s hips and pressing his face into the man’s neck. Alec cradled him around the waist with one arm, the other hand rubbing up and down his thigh in soothing motions. “You were so good. So fucking good for me.” Alec pressed a kiss into his hair, concern tinging his voice when Magnus didn’t respond immediately. “You still with me, bebé?"

Magnus gave a small nod, his brain sluggish and struggling to find the right words. “That was...hmm.” He gave a satisfied hum as he slurred the words against Alec’s skin, voice fucked out and jaw aching pleasantly. Alec seemed to understand, a low laugh rumbling in his chest. 

“Yeah. I know what you mean.” 

They sat in silence for a while, with Alec stroking Magnus' hair as he lay against his chest, listening to Alec's heartbeat even out and struggling not to drift off. He felt safe, the untouchable kind of safe that he'd only ever felt with Alec, and a year and a half without that had taken it's toll, both on his mind and on his body. For the first time since that night Jonathan had shown up at his door, Magnus relaxed

Alec shifted beneath him, trying to get more comfortable and Magnus jumped. Alec shot him a curious look but he just cleared his throat, fighting against the feeling that his mind had slowly but surely been slipping into to. Without a word, he pressed closer to Alec and sighed heavily, flexing his fingers and wincing as they twinged. The heavy weight of his arms and the stiff strain in his knees helped him focus, drawing his attention completely back to the present. He'd been worried for just a moment that he'd slipped too far, had felt just the edge of that floating bliss and almost let himself be tossed into it, but Alec had pulled him back at the right time, whether he knew it or not. Magnus knew he should move before he got too tired to do so and knew he should tell Alec that he’d gotten too close, shockingly and dangerously close to that particular state he hadn’t been in for a very long time but he shoved that thought to the back of his mind, opting to force himself into a sitting position, eyes still bleary.

“We should…” He gestured vaguely to the front seat with a mumble when he noticed Alec smiling at him, an odd expression on his face. Magnus arched a brow. “What’s…what’s that look for?”

“I just...I was thinking that I don’t remember what my life was like before you. It must have been boring because you showed up and suddenly, it was like I knew you were what I’d been missing the whole time. You light up rooms, Magnus. You light up everything. You make me feel giddy and young and like I have no idea what I’m doing.” He laughed to himself, fingers tracing patterns on Magnus’ legs where his hands rested. Magnus’ breath hitched in his throat as Alec continued. “I do know that my life without you was hell. It was absolute hell and I never, never want to experience that again. You’re everything to me, you’’re my whole goddamn world. And I know that things haven’t been like they used to be between us but maybe that’s good. There’s no secrets, no lies or pretending and you’re still the same person I met that night at the bar. You’re just even more of a badass now. But still the same man I fell in love with, drunk on your balcony and staring at the stars.” Alec’s eyes softened at the memory and Magnus leaned in, fresh tears spilling down his cheeks as he pressed a tender kiss to the other man’s mouth. The heated, desperate passion from before was gone, soothed by their previous activities, and all that was left was something intimate and delicate, something that they’d almost let slip away due to pride and stubborn stupidity. 

Magnus kissed him until he was breathless and even then, he only pulled away enough to rest his forehead against Alec’s, eyes focused on his. “That sounded a lot more like a proposal than pillowtalk, Alexander Gideon Lightwood.” 

Alec huffed out a laugh, cradling his face and wiping away his tears again. “No proposals yet, I promise. Just... something I’ve been needing to tell you for a while now. And you know I get sappy after sex.”

Magnus sniffled haughtily, trying to look unaffected despite the tear tracks on his face. “Well. I’d say something just as profound if you hadn’t completely ruined me just a few minutes ago.”  

Alec’s soft smile never left his face. “I know. But I think that this ,” he murmured, dragging his hands down Magnus’ back and brushing another chaste kiss across his lips, “says much more than anything. You trusted me, Magnus.”

Magnus fell quiet for a moment, his fingers absentmindedly playing with the hair at the nape of Alec’s neck. When he spoke, it was a mere whisper. “I suppose I did.” He wiped at his eyes for what felt like the hundredth time that night and forced a smirk onto his face. He was far too exhausted to be thinking clearly about emotions like this. “But you trusted me too. Proves you don’t believe I was sent to kill you after all or you wouldn’t have risked dying with your pants off, darling.” Magnus teased. Alec rolled his eyes fondly as he quipped back.

“I don’t know, that mouth might just be worth the risk.” 

Magnus tossed Alec a wink and reached behind him, grabbing something off the back seats and pressing it to Alec’s chest. “Well, Alejandro , this mouth says you should drive us home.”

“Yeah?” Alec asked, raising his brows. Magnus nodded and slid off his lap, wincing at the slowly drying mess in his slacks. He settled into the seat next to Alec and put his seatbelt on, not bothering to button his shirt. He tossed Alec a sleepy smile as he relaxed into the comfortable leather.

“Mmhmm. And maybe, after I’ve had a fairly long nap, we can see if you missed the rest of me as much as you missed my mouth.”

Alec grinned, sliding his pants on. “I could give you that answer right now.”

“Drive the car, Alexander.”




Raphael stepped out of the bar, frowning when he didn’t see his fiance waiting outside for him. He glanced around, wondering if Simon had walked further down the sidewalk to cool off but all he saw were some giggling drunk girls and a couple making out. He sighed heavily and reached into his pocket, pulling his phone out and adjusting the arm carrying his suit jacket. 

Simon, where are you? I know you’re upset but try to ignore Jace’s bullshit, mi amor. He has no idea what he is talking about half the time. Did you catch a cab home? 

He sent it off and locked his phone, looking around again with a furrowed brow.

As he stood there waiting for an answer, the bar door opened next to him and Jace stepped out, running a hand through his hair. He glanced around and caught sight of Raphael.

“Hey. Raphael. Uh. I just wanted to apologize. To Simon. I had no idea what he was going through and I don’t want him to think that we don’t care. The dude might annoy the shit out of me sometimes but, he really is family. Where…?” Jace arched a brow, gesturing with his hand. Raphael shrugged, though he looked more concerned than his body language let on.

“I don’t know. I texted him. I’m hoping he took a cab home, rather than a walk to cool off. Jonathan is still hanging around and Simon’s already been stalked beforehand.”

Jace nodded, chewing on his bottom lip. “Have you tried calling him yet? I know he sometimes forgets to turn his phone off vibrate for like, days.”

“Suppose you’re right.” Raphael muttered, unlocking his phone and tapping redial.

He leaned against the outside of the bar as it rang.

And rang.

And rang.

“Hi there! You’ve reached Simon Lewis’ voicemail. Sorry I’m not available right now, but if you leave a message, I’ll get back to you A.S.A.P! Also, if this is Raphael, I love you. If this is Alec, please don’t fire me. Okay, anyway, here’s the beep!” 

A loud beep filled Raphael’s ear and he hung up, shaking his head.

“Nothing. He must have-”

“Wait, no. Call it again?” Jace interrupted, turning away from Raphael and cocking his head slightly. Raphael arched a brow but did as he was asked, tapping Simon’s contact name again.

“Listen. Isn’t that his ringtone? Binary Sunrise or whatever?” Jace started walking away, toward the alley next to The Hunter’s Moon. Raphael reflexively corrected the man under his breath as he followed.

“Binary Sunset…”

They turned the corner as Raphael dialed Simon’s number again, the song getting louder as they moved further into the alleyway. Dread pooled in Raphael’s stomach as Jace bent over and plucked something off the ground. 

“It’s his phone.”

The screen was cracked but you could still read Raphael’s contact name clearly on the screen. Simon had jokingly set it as ‘My Immortal’ with a vampire and black heart emoji next to it when they’d first started dating and he’d found out Raphael was overly polite, only drank red wine, and was far more awake when it was dark outside.

Jace frantically pulled his own phone from his pocket and cursed, unlocking it when he saw the notification.

“He sent out an SOS and I had my damn phone on vibrate. Damnit!” He cursed again, tapping on the automatic photo Simon’s phone had sent him. It was just a blurry black square.

“An SOS?”

“You know the preprogrammed SOS feature on certain phones? Simon has it set up to alert me, Alec, and Izzy if anything happens. The only reason you aren’t on it is because he set it up way before you were involved in this stuff. Izzy must have left her phone in her purse but Alec...Alec should have answered. He always has his phone on him and always has it turned up. Precisely for things like this.”

Jace held up his phone, hitting play on the audio file.

Well, well. If it isn’t little Simon Lewis. The protected ward of the Lightwood family.” 

Now is literally the worst time to try and kidnap me, you know, because I’m- I'm  pissed off and my friends are right inside and-”

“Jesus Christ, shut up .” 

There were some muffled noises of protest following the voices and then a thud as Simon’s phone hit the ground and the audio file cut off.

Raphael didn’t notice his hands were shaking until his phone slipped out of his grip and clattered to the concrete. He stared at the phone in Jace’s hand, mind racing as he felt the phantom itch of his scars beneath his shirt. The simple gold band he wore, half of the matching set Simon had just bought them yesterday, weighed heavily on his ring finger. Jace looked up at him, teeth grit with frustration and bicolored eyes hard with restrained anger.

“That slimy son of a bitch has Simon.”

Chapter Text

Magnus sighed in relief as Alec locked the door to the loft behind them, stumbling his way to the couch and sinking down into the plush cushions. He carelessly toed off his dress shoes and kicked them away, his muscles still protesting being woken up from the short nap he’d managed on the ride home. A part of him was concerned that one little gunfight had taken this much out of him.

But a larger part of him just wanted steak, vodka, and a very long nap.

Alec was busy setting his guns and holster aside neatly on the table next to the door, tossing aside his ruined suit jacket and slipping his shoes off. He double checked each gun, ensuring that it was loaded and the safety was on before he turned to his boyfriend.

"Alright, let's-" He cut himself off with a fond smile when he caught sight of Magnus. The hitman was already beginning to doze off again against the arm of the couch, his head slowly falling forward as he fought hard to stay awake. Having already woke him up once that night, Alec wasn't keen on doing it again. It was clear Magnus needed the rest, and as much as Alec did too, he had enough energy to make his way across the room and pick the other man up. Magnus mumbled something unintelligible but settled against Alec's chest, his eyes slipping completely closed as he was carried to the bedroom. 

Alec’s shoulders ached like hell, the dull throb of forming bruises echoing across his ribs with every step he took across the loft. He knew they should both shower but there was no guarantee that he wouldn't fall asleep under the warm spray of water and Magnus didn't seem like he'd be standing up on his own anytime soon. Instead, Alec lay him gingerly on the bed and went to grab two wet washcloths and the first aid kit from the ensuite before returning and slowly undressing his boyfriend, taking care to not wake him up. He took a long time to clean up the remaining evidence of their activities in the car earlier that had thoroughly ruined Magnus' underwear before he switched washcloths and began inspecting his body.

Thankfully, his injuries were mostly benign, bruises across his ribs much like Alec's own, courtesy of that 'nervous' waitress, as well as his knuckles and knees. Double checking nothing was fractured or broken, Alec wiped the dried blood from his hands and wrapped the particularly injured one, hoping the compression would reduce the swelling overnight. 

When he was done, he moved up the bed to Magnus' face, frowning when he saw the bruises that had bloomed on his cheekbone and jaw. He hadn't realized how many hits De Quincey's people had gotten in while Alec wasn't looking. 

The cut on his boyfriend's forehead didn't need anything more than a butterfly stitch after being cleaned and disinfected and Alec was an expert at applying those so he made quick work of it and stood, tossing the washcloths into the dirty laundry and returning the first aid kit to the bathroom. He stopped to grab a few makeup wipes before heading back to the bedroom, sitting back down next to Magnus carefully removing the remainder of smudged eyeshadow and liner. The man didn’t so much as move, a testament to how exhausted he was. When Alec was done, he tossed the wipes aside in the wastebasket by the bed and stripped off his own pants, taking his phone out of his pocket and setting it on the charger. Alec grimaced when the screen lit up with a drained battery symbol.

Normally, his phone was on and at full volume 24/7. Tonight had been a rare exception and he'd meant to turn it off vibrate as soon as the operation was over, had he not gotten distracted by being shot at. It was a necessity when you had a job as dangerous as he did and as he stared at the screen, hoping it would turn back on before he went to sleep, Alec berated himself for not realizing how low the battery was when his mother had called earlier that night. 

His focus had been entirely on Magnus for the better part of an hour afterward and his phone had wound up somewhere discarded under the passenger seat, a fact he'd only realized when he pulled into the parking garage of the loft.

With a tired sigh, Alec shoved back the blankets more and crawled under them, pulling them over Magnus as well, who had since rolled onto his side in a more comfortable position. He curled up around his boyfriend, silently thankful for the man's natural ability to be a space heater, and buried his face in his hair with another sigh of relief. Soothing sandalwood filled Alec's senses and before he could begin to think about all the work he had to do tomorrow, he was asleep.



In what seemed like seconds later, Alec was awake again, blinking owlishly around the dark bedroom as the loud noise of someone pounding on the front door pulled him from sleep. It barely took him a moment before he was reacting on instinct and reaching for the gun he kept on the bedside table, noting the time on the alarm clock as he did. He'd only been asleep for about an hour and a half and his muscles protested as he climbed out of bed and walked quietly out of the bedroom toward the foyer. The pounding knocks sounded again, even more insistent.

"Alec, goddamnit! Open the fucking door!" 

Relief flooded his system only to be instantly replaced by irritation at the sound of his brother's voice and he lowered his gun, unlocking the door and throwing it open.

"I've been asleep for not even two hours-"

"I tried calling you, I tried calling Magnus and yet nobody could fucking reach you two for some stupid reason-" Jace growled. Alec frowned deeply, his brows drawing together as he realized how aggravated his younger brother seemed to be.

"Jace, what the hell is going on?" He asked, turning his head when he heard the bedroom door slide open behind him. Magnus stepped out looking rumpled but wide awake, a robe wrapped around his body and a gun in one hand. If Alec wasn't already concerned, he might have smiled at how similar they were.

"It's Jonathan. Earlier tonight, we were all at the bar and- and Simon got really mad at all of us, I guess some stuff happened with his family and he just stormed out and we all gave him some space and-"

"Jesus Christ, Jace, what are you-"

"Simon's gone! Jonathan took him." Jace breathed out, running a hand through his hair. There was a beat of silence before Alec spoke, instantly shifting into work mode as he shoved his gun into the waistband of his underwear and waved Jace inside. 

"How long ago?"

"Uh, half hour? I've already had Underhill send me the camera footage. They only caught the car. No plates. Regular sedan. Jonathan didn't even bother hiding his face. He knows we don't have shit on his location and God only knows how long it will take to get access to the cities traffic cams so we can track the car." Jace followed Alec inside and Magnus shut and locked the door behind them. Alec hesitated in the living room for a moment before he gestured for Jace to follow him again and headed toward the bedroom. Magnus trailed behind them, silent and watching Alec worriedly.

They entered the bedroom and Alec walked to his closet, opening it and pulling out articles of clothing, tossing them on the bed as he spoke. "I want a team ready for debrief by the time I get to the office. I don’t care that it’s almost 2 AM. And I want De Quincey and a room prepped, is that clear?” Jace nodded silently and was pulling his phone out before Alec had finished speaking. Alec searched out a pair of socks before he paused and turned to Magnus, frowning. “You don’t have to come right now. You’re exhausted.”

Magnus gave him a wan smile. “Aren’t we all, darling? I’ll go get dressed.” He set his gun aside on the bedside table and disappeared into his walk in on the far side of the room. Meanwhile, Jace was murmuring into his phone and pacing in short strides as Alec pulled on his clothes.

"Yeah. It doesn't matter what room. I want Andrew, Aline, Helen, everyone available ready for briefing. Yes, Iz, I get that but...just...I don't know, okay? Put him in Alec's office. Try and get him to sleep. We'll figure this out." Jace sighed heavily and hung up the phone, slipping it into the pocket of his jeans. Alec glanced at his brother as he laced up his boots.

"Raphael?" He asked.

Jace shook his head. "Not doing well. He's really worried and honestly, it freaks me out seeing him like that. I don't know him all that well but Izzy tells me the dude is supposed to be a grumpy hard ass. Not a mess."

Alec straightened up and grabbed his phone off the charger. "You said the same thing about me when Magnus disappeared."

"And it still stands. I never want to see you like that again."

"And you won't." Magnus interrupted as he stepped out of the walk in closet. He was now fully dressed, but in a way Alec had never seen before. A black cowl neck hoodie, comfortably form fitted. A pair of dark grey utilitarian pants tucked into heavy black boots that reminded Alec of his own. There was still the signature swipe of kohl around his eyes and his hair was tamed enough to keep it out of his face. 

"Wow. You look…" Alec trailed off and cleared his throat. Behind him, Jace rolled his eyes. Magnus offered Alec a knowing smile. 

"Sometimes function is fashion, darling. Full range of motion, nothing that could get caught on something, and no worries about bloodstains. The whole criminal package."  

"I'm think Alec wants to give you his criminal pac-" A pillow hit Jace directly in the face with a surprising amount of force, cutting him off with a muted thump. He caught the pillow before it hit the floor and was met with Alec's unimpressed glare. Magnus hid a snicker behind his hand at the exchange and Jace tossed the pillow back on the bed before raising his hands in mock surrender. Alec shook his head in disapproval and turned to his boyfriend.


"Almost." Magnus made his way to the painting on the wall and slid it open to reveal the stocked hidden shelves. The hitman plucked up a tactical belt and clicked it around his waist, sliding two spare magazines into the available pockets. He grabbed a small black unlabeled bag as well and winked when he caught sight of Jace’s shocked expression.

"Magnus, I really don't think you'll need all that." Alec said, trying not to look at the other man too much. The last thing he needed was to be even more distracted by Magnus’ well fitted clothing. 

"Alexander, this is casual compared to how I usually look on jobs." Magnus shoved one gun in his waistband, another two in his shoulder holster and flashed both men a bitter smile. "Now, let's go see if Alexei wants to chat, shall we?"

Alec nodded as he ran a hand through his sleep ruffled hair, trying to make it presentable enough as his mind raced through various scenarios. He tried to shake the worst of them from his head. Emotions might help at times, Alec had taken a long time to learn that particular lesson, but worry and fear wasn't going to save Simon right now. He steeled himself and took a deep breath.

“Yeah, alright. Let’s go.”


"Alec, thank god." Izzy pulled him into a quick hug as soon as he stepped out of the elevator, flanked by Jace and Magnus. 

"Hey, Iz. Anything new?" 

"No, but everyone's set up in the main center for a debrief. De Quincey's in room 4. Raphael's asleep in one of the apartments a few floors up." She shook her head as they walked along. "I don't understand how this happened. He was only outside alone for like, five minutes and we-"

"It doesn't matter now. Our main focus is getting him back . He's already been with Jonathan for an hour. Who knows what's happened by now." 

“Best not to think about that, darling. Now, if anyone could direct me toward Alexei?” Magnus asked, looking around the small group. 

“Jace, take him up there. I’ll meet up with you in 15.” Alec said over his shoulder, not even slowing his pace toward the operations room. Isabelle gave them both a forced smile and followed after her brother, her ponytail swinging behind her. 

“Come on, then.” Jace gestured back toward the elevator. They both stepped inside and he pressed the button for the 30th floor. A long, tense silence filled the space between them. Jace fidgeted with his hands, something Magnus had never seen before and a testament to how anxious the man was.

“When was the last time you slept?” Magnus asked, causing Jace’s head to jerk up, eyes wide.

“What? Oh, uh. I woke up around 5 AM. But I’ve had coffee, I’m fine.” 

“That’s almost 20 hours straight, Jace. You shouldn’t even be here.” Magnus shot him a look that reminded him of a stern parent. “Is there somewhere here you can sleep?”

“I’ve got my own office couch, but really, Magnus, I’m fine. You’re the one who looks like you need sleep. And an ice pack or two. And maybe even some Dayquil. Are you getting sick or something?” Jace asked, looking confused. Magnus frowned.

“No, why do you ask?”

“Your voice. Sounds like your throat hurts or something.” 

Realization dawned on Magnus and he turned away from Jace, clearing his throat as a slight flush warmed his cheeks and hoping that, like many things, the realization might go over Jace’s head. He was busy thinking up a charming response when the elevator doors dinged open and interrupted him, just as Jace seemed to connect the dots.

“Oh. So that’s why you guys disappeared? Okay. Um-"

“Jace?” Magnus cut him off as they stepped out of the elevator, glancing at the other man, who looked like he had suddenly forgotten how to speak. “I appreciate your concern about my wellbeing but perhaps we should avoid any small talk from here on out.”

“Right. Yep. Got it.” Jace nodded firmly and walked ahead of Magnus, not able to meet the man’s eyes. He might enjoy teasing his brother to no end but his brother’s boyfriend was a totally different ballgame and he did not need to imagine what kind of things the two of them got up to in their free time.

They walked down a long deserted hallway in silence and by the time they’d approached a metal door with the number 4 on a plaque next to it, both men had forgotten the awkward encounter and entirely focused on the situation at hand again. Jace pulled a set of keys from his pocket and unlocked the door, swinging it open and moving aside.

“Have at him. I’ll wait out here for Alec.”

Magnus hummed in response and stepped inside, kicking the heavy door shut behind him. He glanced around the room, noting the bare concrete floors and spare furniture. De Quincey was strapped to an uncomfortable looking metal chair in the center of the room, directly across from a cheap wooden desk which Magnus tossed his bag on. De Quincey didn’t even look up from the floor as Magnus hopped up on the desk and leaned back on his arms casually.

“Alexei. I’m sure you know how these things go, but I’m going to explain it anyway. In 15 minutes, Alec is going to walk through that door,” He nodded toward the entrance of the room and smirked when De Quincey raised his head, a sneer on his lips and blonde hair hanging limply around his bruised face. “Which means you have roughly five minutes to tell me everything you know about Jonathan Morgenstern and his wonderful father.”

“And if I don’t?” De Quincey spat. Magnus’ grin widened.

“Then you’ll have the remaining ten minutes to think about how you want to beg for your life.”

De Quincey scoffed. “You think I’m afraid of that soft hearted kid you call a mobster? What kind of criminal pays for the funerals of the people he’s killed? He’s a damned fool if he thinks he holds any sway in this industry with that kind of personality.” He flexed his tied hands behind his back, another futile attempt to loosen the tight ropes around his wrists. Magnus watched in amusement, drumming his fingers on the desk beneath him.

“Alexander is no child, Alexei. And if you thought he didn’t hold any sway then you wouldn’t be so worried, now would you? Yet…” Magnus slid off the desk, walking a slow circle around De Quincey. “You’re sweating. Tell me, is it too warm in here, dear friend?”

De Quincey’s jaw twitched. “You couldn’t break me if you tried, Magnus. You’ve lost your touch. Camille’s doing, wasn’t it? One of the most infamous hitmen taken down by a measly con artist. She abused you-”

Magnus grabbed De Quincey by his hair suddenly, yanking his head back to a painful angle. The bound man choked out a pained noise, blue eyes boring into Magnus’ dark brown. 

“You’re down to three minutes now. Is this really how you want to be spending your time?” Magnus hissed, tightening his grip on his hair.

“Fuck you, Bane.” De Quincey said through gritted teeth. Magnus sighed, the flare of anger instantly dissipating, and released his hold to resume his slow pace around the room.

“I’m doing you a favor. If you think Alec isn’t going to rip you to pieces until he gets what he wants, you’re sorely mistaken, Alexei. Telling me might gain you a less painful death.”

“I don’t know shit about Val’s spoiled brat. Why would I?”

“You told me yourself that his father wanted to know who tried to kill him. That leads me to believe that Valentine and his son aren’t as estranged as they want everyone to believe.” Magnus checked his watch. “One minute.”

“If Jonathan has done something recently, how the hell would I know about it? I’ve been here all night.” De Quincey shifted, his back aching in the metal chair. Magnus paused in front of him.

“Where does he operate? Where might he take a hostage?”

A slow grin spread on De Quincey’s face. “Oh, that’s what this is about? One of Lightwood’s precious associates get kidnapped? Serves him right. Why they’d go after him though, when you’re the one who pulled the trigger, I don’t know.”

Magnus shook his head and turned away, grabbing his bag off the desk and unzipping it. He pulled out a few various tools and set them aside on the desk. A taser, a pair of pliers, a few various knives. He finished laying them out and spun back around, clasping his ring free hands together. “I’m going to be honest, Alexei. I don’t think I’ll get a chance to use any of these on you. From what I’ve heard, Alexander really only needs his own two hands to make men stronger than you talk. So if you have anything you want to say to me…” Magnus arched a brow as he trailed off. De Quincey’s smirk didn’t waver.

“I don’t know what Camille sees in you. Other than the fact that you’re nothing but a punching bag for her. You’re a poor excuse for a man, Magnus. Letting her push you around, hit you, supposedly force you to have s-”

He was cut off suddenly by the metal door slamming open and before De Quincey could register what was happening, his chair was kicked backwards and he tipped over, striking his head hard on the concrete floor. Almost immediately he was hauled back into an upright position and a large hand was wrapped around his throat.

Alec Lightwood’s furious expression filled De Quincey’s vision, his hazel eyes dark and all previous signs of professionalism from earlier in the night long gone. Magnus stood behind him, still as a statue with his arms crossed and a blank expression on his face.

“I’m impatient tonight, De Quincey. So here’s how it’s going to go. From here on out, for every question you refuse to answer, every question that you respond to with ‘ I don’t know ’,” Alec mocked, his grip unwavering on De Quincey’s throat. “I’ll break a bone. Nod if you understand.” 

De Quincey managed a slight tilt of his head and Alec let go of him, watching as he desperately drew in lungfuls of air. Alec turned away from him, making his way over to his boyfriend, who was hugging his crossed arms tightly, staring off into the distance. Alec narrowed his eyes.

“What did he say to you?”

“Not now, Alexander. Focus on Simon. I can handle myself.” He fixed Alec with a shockingly cold glare before turning his attention back to De Quincey. Alec swallowed harshly, confusion flashing across his features. Magnus’ reaction only served to fuel his rage at the man strapped to the chair and he grit his teeth as he turned back around. De Quincey watched them with a defiant expression.

“Jonathan Morgenstern. Where’s his hideout?” 

De Quincey shrugged. “I don’t know.”

Alec rolled his eyes. “You must not have heard me earlier.” He stepped forward and pulled a knife from his pocket, moving around De Quincey to cut one of his bound hands free. Alec tossed the knife aside and snatched up his right hand, instantly snapping one finger sideways with enough force that an audible crack resounded through the room. 

De Quincey dug his teeth into his bottom lip but didn't make a sound.

“Let’s try an easier question, maybe it will jog your memory.” Alec kept a firm hold on De Quincey’s hand, crouched in front of him with an almost kind smile on his face. “Simon Lewis. Heard the name before?”

De Quincey refused to meet his eyes. Alec grabbed another finger, slowly forcing it sideways as he waited for an answer. “Simon. Lewis. Come on, De Quincey, don’t you want to make this less fun for me?”

“Valentine might have mentioned it in passing a few days ago. Something about 'a nobody being caught up in the wrong business.’ That’s it.”

Magnus watched silently from his spot where he was leaned against the desk, a multitude of feelings swirling around in the pit of his stomach, De Quincey’s earlier words making him feel more unsteady than he liked. Just minutes ago, he'd been itching to draw this man's blood. Now he felt the exhaustion creeping back in, all the excitement ripped from him with just one reminder of things he'd long thought he'd gotten over.

“And what of Jonathan’s relationship with his father? They close? Visit often?”

“No. No, I haven’t seen Jonathan at all lately.” 

"He's lying." Magnus said boredly. De Quincey's eyes shot to his, a look of poorly disguised panic in them. Alec gave a curious hum and snapped De Quincey’s middle finger without so much as a question. The man sucked in a breath through his grit teeth. Alec waited, arching a brow at him.

“Try again.” 

“I swear. I haven’t seen him. Valentine mentioned seeing him last week but I wasn’t there for that. Their meetings are private. Family business he says. And I'm not lying!" He growled, glaring daggers at Magnus, who ignored him in favor of examining one of his knives.

"You have a tell, Alexei. Remember the reason you don't play poker with me anymore? You always gulp before you lie. I've told you that before. That's why you started wearing cravats, yes?"

De Quincey said nothing. Alec gave Magnus an impressed look over his shoulder before turning back to the restrained man.

"How often do they meet?"

De Quincey made an irritated noise. “I don’t know, twice a month?”

Alec nodded as he spoke and released De Quincey’s hand, standing up and crossing his arms as he looked up at the ceiling in thought. Magnus watched him closely, trying to decipher his body language. This was a version of Alec that was entirely foreign to him and it was as unsettling as it was attractive. Watching the man go from furious to apathetic in seconds was jarring, evidence of Alec’s familiar struggle with his temper which was being used to unnerve the people he was questioning. 

Smart, Magnus thought. But worrisome.

“Jonathan’s hideout. Where is it?” Alec asked again, breaking the silence that had settled over the room. De Quincey shot him a glare, to which Alec arched a brow in challenge. 

“I told you, I don’t-”

Alec stepped forward abruptly and grabbed De Quincey by the hair, yanking his head up just as he landed a solid punch to the man’s stomach, knocking the wind out of him. “What did I fucking say?” Alec growled. He snatched up De Quincey’s hand again and in quick succession, broke his ring finger and pinky before squeezing all four of his broken fingers together harshly. The man gasped in pain and struggled to yank himself free from Alec’s grip.

“Even if I knew, I wouldn’t tell you, you weak-”

Alec dropped his hand and punched De Quincey in the face, not even wincing when he felt the man’s nose break beneath his knuckles. Blood began to seep from his nostrils down his lips and he gave Alec another weak glare. The mobster looked on unapologetically.

“I told you what would happen, De Quincey. You have 206 bones and I’ve already broken five. It’s only been…” Alec trailed off and glanced at his watch. “Four minutes. How many do you think you can handle? Especially once I start on your ribs?” Alec took a step forward and planted one booted foot between De Quincey’s legs on the chair, pressing it firmly against his crotch until the man whimpered in pain. 

“He has more than one hideout, you prick!” Alec merely shrugged at the response and pressed his boot own harder.

“So start listing them.”

“It would take you and your people hours to search them all. I’m sure by then your little friend will be unrecognizable. What you plan to do to me is nothing compared to what Jonathan will do to him."

Alec held out his hand toward Magnus, who pressed the knife he'd been fiddling with into his boyfriend's palm. He knelt down in front of De Quincey again as Magnus made his way to the desk and grabbed a set of pliers, clicking them with a mildly amused expression as he moved to stand behind his boyfriend.

De Quincey’s eyes darted between the two of them, cradling his mangled hand in his lap.

“You have no idea what I plan to do to you.” Alec’s lips twisted into a sadistically delighted grin and he flipped the knife over in his hand, plunging it into De Quincey’s left knee in one swift movement. 

Outside the room was Jace, sitting on the ground across from Izzy and watching the traffic camera footage on his phone. He looked up at the sound of the ear piercing scream, meeting Izzy’s eyes with a wry smile.

“So it begins.”

Chapter Text

Simon had seen a lot of shit in his mere 23 years of life. Most of it in the past year and a half, of course, thanks to his job. Admittedly, at first, he wasn’t sure he could stomach it. The casual air surrounding things like multiple felonies, torture, and straight up murder had almost sent him running on multiple occasions and even to this day, Simon couldn’t deny the fact that Alec Lightwood was downright fucking terrifying .

But he was also the one person in the world Simon would give anything to see walk through that door right now.

“I want to know his next moves. You give me that, and I’ll stop hitting you. It’s simple, kid.”

Jonathan Morgenstern paced in front of Simon, examining his bruised and split knuckles with an irritated expression. Simon only groaned in response, slumped over on the small bench as blood dripped from his mouth. He barely registered the sharp taste of iron from his bitten tongue and split lip, his head throbbing like it was being struck repeatedly with a sledgehammer. Out of the corner of his non-swollen eye, he caught sight of the glint from his engagement band and suddenly it wasn’t just his broken nose that made it hard to breathe. He spit blood onto the ground at Jonathan’s shoes and summoned the strength to look up and meet the man’s cold eyes, the thought of Raphael's scars causing bile to rise in his throat.

“I told you already. I’m not...telling you...anything.” Simon panted. Jonathan rolled his eyes and punched him again, striking him across his already bruised cheekbone. Simon bit his lip, whimpering but doing his best to hold back any more noise. It only seemed to spur Jonathan on. The man struck him again in the stomach and Simon retched, more blood and saliva dripping from his mouth.

“Don’t you understand how worthless you are, you idiot?” Jonathan roared, grabbing Simon by the front of his stained t-shirt and yanking him forward before unceremoniously dropping him onto the floor and kicking him once in the ribs, watching in smug satisfaction as the younger man curled into a fetal position with a soft pained sound. “They aren’t coming for you! Nobody is!” Jonathan laughed, gesturing around the room. “Look around! You’re all alone here. So why don’t you be a good boy,” He paused and grabbed Simon by his bound hands, dragging him into a sitting position on the floor. He knelt down in front of him and pushed his sweaty hair away from his forehead with an almost tender touch. Simon flinched away. “And tell me what I want to know.”

Simon shook his head. The pain was starting to get overwhelming, black spots clouding his vision and his consciousness threatening to abandon him. Despite that, he could hear Alec’s gruff voice in the back of his head, a memory from long ago making itself clear through the haze of pain.

“Hey, Lewis.” Alec said, causing Simon to glance up from his phone where he’d been organizing Alec’s schedule for the following day.

“What’s up, boss?”

“Can you do me a favor?” Alec asked, leaning back in his office chair and giving Simon a look he couldn’t quite decipher.

“Sure. I mean, it’s literally my job to do things for you-”

“No, like, personally. Can you promise me something?”

Simon furrowed his brows in confusion. “Uh...I guess?”

Alec cleared his throat before continuing. “If you ever get...captured. For any reason. And they hurt you,” Alec paused and swallowed, meeting Simon’s perplexed gaze with dark, serious eyes. “Forget where you are. Forget what’s happening. Forget whatever they’re saying or asking you and focus on the people you love. The past moments in your life that are important to you. I know it sounds...stupid, but trust me. Think of the smells, colors, peoples’ voices, what they look like. Think about anything but where you are.”

Simon nodded slowly. “Right. Got it. Like some sort of Sherlock mind palace thing to deal with the shock and the pain.”

Alec cracked a small smile, something so uncharacteristic that Simon blinked rapidly to make sure he wasn’t seeing things. “Yeah, sure. Whatever that is.”

“Any uh, reason for this discussion? Should I be worried about someone coming after me?” Simon asked, looking over his shoulder with a nervous chuckle. Alec shook his head, already back to his usual stoic demeanor.

“No. It’s just something I thought you should know, what with working in this business now.”

“Well, thanks for the tip.” Simon looked back down at his phone, assuming the conversation was over and set on resuming his previous task.

“Oh, and Simon, if you ever do get taken?” 

He looked up at Alec again, namely in response to being addressed but more so in utter shock at the use of his first name. In all the six months he’d been working with the man, Simon couldn’t remember ever being called that by Alec himself, only his siblings and other various coworkers like Underhill who knew him well. 


Alec leaned forward and folded his hands on his desk, staring directly at Simon with a grave expression. “I will always find you. And I’ll kill every bastard in my way until I do.”

Simon gaped at him, floundering for words. Was he supposed to thank him? Was he part of the family now, was this some weird way of inducting him into the mob officially? Before Simon could formulate a response, Alec had turned back to the files on his desk, leafing through them casually. “Can you go grab me the paperwork Izzy was supposed to bring up an hour ago? I need to go over it before the meeting tomorrow morning.”

“Uh, of course. Yeah. Sure.” Simon stood up from his chair stammering before heading toward the door. He opened it and slipped out, almost bumping into Jace on his way. The blonde man arched a brow at his bewildered expression.

“What’s with the face?”

Simon stuttered. “I uh...I think I was just sworn in? Alec got sentimental? If that’s what threatening to kill a bunch of people for me is…” He trailed off, a confused frown on his lips. Jace laughed and clapped him on the shoulder as he moved past Simon and set a hand on Alec’s office door. He paused before opening it, still grinning.

"You're an honorary Lightwood now, Simon. Welcome to the mob.”

“Are you even listening to me? Hey!” Jonathan’s hand slapped Simon across the face, shocking him back to the current moment with a sharp sting. His gaze refocused on the hard expression of the man in front of him, his lips pressed in a thin aggravated line and blonde hair slowly slipping free of it’s perfectly slicked back state. 

A sudden hysterical laugh bubbled up from Simon’s throat. Jonathan’s face twisted in a snarl.

“What the hell is so funny?”

Simon exhaled and coughed, still chuckling as he spoke through blood stained teeth. “You’’re gonna die. And you say I’m...I’m the idiot.” He coughed again and shook his head, eyes wide. “Holy shit, they’re gonna kill you. They all are.”

Jonathan scoffed. “You think Lightwood really cares about you? He’s got one thing on his mind and that’s that bastard Magnus Bane. You’re just a pawn, kid. A nobody. Those people aren’t your friends.” Jonathan grabbed him by his hair and forced him back up on the bench, shoving him hard enough that the back of his head struck the bare concrete wall.

Simon squeezed his eyes shut and tried to take a deep breath, focusing as much as he could on what Alec had told him. He pictured Raphael, curled up next to him on the couch and grumbling about how many crimes the various Avengers were committing as the movie went on. Isabelle, who would roll a chair over to Simon’s desk in their free time and play Mario Kart with him. Clary, still his best friend and confidant, the person who saw him through every up and down in his life. Maia, laughing next to him as they made up dialogue for movies in languages they didn’t understand, quickly getting them kicked out of the theatre. Even Magnus, instantly welcoming him with open arms and making him feel oddly comforted just by being around. Maryse Lightwood herself, who mothered him like he was one of her own.

And Jace, who made it his mission to try and hit Simon with bags of candy as he passed by him in the office, acting as if he wasn’t using it as an excuse to gift him snacks. 

He thought back to earlier in the bar, their fallen faces when he’d accused them of not caring.

“You’re right.” He murmured, prompting Jonathan to smirk at him and punch him once more in the abdomen. Simon let out a weak cry as he felt a rib crack, pain instantly radiating through his chest.

“Of course I am. About time you realized it.”

Simon shook his head, gasping. “They aren’t m-my friends...they’re my family.”




The door to the interrogation room flew open, jolting Izzy and Jace to attention as Alec stalked out, quickly followed by Magnus. Both men wore irritated expressions and Jace couldn't help but notice the dark stains on Alec's shirt, the stressed out state of his hair, and his blood covered hands. Magnus looked far less messy, clothes still seemingly spotless, or maybe just too dark to see any stains Jace thought, and not a hair out of place. 

He wasn't sure which one of their appearances unnerved him more.

"How's it going?" He asked hesitantly, shooting a look at Izzy as Alec sunk down the wall next to him and tilted his head back to stare at the ceiling. Magnus was the one who answered instead, crossing his arms as he glared at the door.

"9 fingernails, 5 teeth, 6 broken fingers, two broken ribs, multiple accounts of near suffocation and one knee injury impossible to recover from…nothing. We've got nothing." He shook his head and began twisting the one ring he wore on his right hand. "He knows Jonathan has hideouts but no actual locations, let alone an idea where Jonathan would have taken Simon."

"Shit." Izzy whispered, glancing at her older brother's face with a worried expression. Alec's hands were shaking, the muscles in his jaw twitching noticeably. Magnus stood against the wall next to him and ran a hand through his hair. Alec leaned into the touch unconsciously and took another deep breath before he spoke, trying to quell the tightness in his chest, the nauseating worry in his stomach. 

"It's been two and a half hours. Two and a half fucking hours and I don't even have a location, Simon could be-" 

"Alec, don't. You know we can't afford to think like that in these situations." Jace said, swallowing back his own fear. 

"Who else could possibly know? It's not like we can ask Valentine. Or even Robert." Izzy's phone beeped as she spoke and she pulled it from her pocket, frown deepening as she read the message. "The city's traffic cams lost them four blocks down. Underhill tried nearby shops but no dice. Jonathan could be anywhere in New York at this point."

The news seemed to snap something in Alec and he slammed his head back against the wall, hands clenching into fists. "Fuck!" 

"Alexander-" Magnus started, moving his hand to create a barrier between Alec's head and the wall but Alec stood up, pushing his arm away with a less than kind shove.

"Not now, Magnus. It's our fucking fault Simon's gone in the first place." He began pacing in the hallway, hands threading through his hair and tugging as he cursed under his breath. Magnus looked like he'd been slapped, his jaw slack and eyes wide as he stared at Alec. Jace and Izzy shared another concerned look.

"You don't actually believe-" Magnus began, only to be cut off quickly by Alec, who stopped his pacing and turned to Magnus, cheeks flushed and eyes livid.

"Yes! Actually, I do! If we hadn't been so busy fucking then I would have gotten that goddamn SOS message and maybe stopped Jonathan from taking the only one of us who doesn't deserve to be punished! Simon's fucking innocent! Christ, Magnus, he's just a kid. He's just a goddamn kid."

Magnus didn't respond, gritting his teeth as he tried to stop the feeling of shame welling in his chest. Alec choked out a bitter laugh.

"God, I preach about loving and protecting my family when all I actually care about is myself." He shook his head and scrubbed at his eyes, smearing blood across his cheekbones. 

"Alexander, that's not true. You know that. There isn't a selfish bone in your body." 

"Then what do you call earlier tonight? Hmm? I got so distracted by you that, that I threw my own rules, my own protocols out the window and for what? For us to, to try and fuck our problems away?" Alec ran his hands through his hair again as he stammered the words out in frustration. 

Magnus bit his tongue, expression immediately closing off and hurt flashing in his eyes. Alec didn't even look at him, having gone back to his stressed out pacing. Magnus spun on Izzy.

"Camille. We thought she didn't know anything else. But she must have met Jonathan somewhere. Where is she?"

Izzy shot a wide eyed look at Jace, who was still looking between his brother and Magnus in shock. She looked back at Magnus. "We uh, we set her up in a safe house three floors up."

" Where ?" Magnus spat.

"Apartment 6."

He turned on his heel, shoving past Alec without so much as a glance at him. Alec paused in his movements and watched after him, confusion and frustration warring on his face.

"Magnus, what are you doing?" He demanded.

"I'm going to fix this, Alec. "

Alec continued to watch as Magnus made his way down the long hallway and entered the elevator, jamming the button and keeping his head down as the doors closed. 

"Aren't you going to go after him?" Izzy asked, standing up from the floor and confronting her brother. Alec turned to her, still fuming.

"I don't have time for this right now, Simon is missing, Izzy, and it's my faul-"

"For God's sake, Alec, not everything is about you! You're really going to stand here throwing yourself a pity party while Magnus goes to face her? And after what you just said to him?" Izzy shook her head and stalked past him. "I'll go. There's no way I'm letting him deal with her alone."



Seeing Camille was the last thing Magnus wanted to do right now. Alec's words were ringing in his ears, De Quincey's careless jabs about his past forcing open old wounds and making him nauseous as he watched the elevator numbers rise. He nervously twisted his ring around his finger, bitterness tinging the usually comforting feeling that came with the act. 

The elevator dinged, doors sliding open to reveal Izzy, slightly out of breath. Magnus stepped out and eyed her in confusion.


"I'm going in with you." She stated, tightening her ponytail and glancing down the hallway. Magnus sighed and waved his hand dismissively as he moved past her.

"Isabelle, I appreciate the concern but I can handle Camille. If anyone knows her best, it's me. We did, after all, date for a fair amount of years."

Izzy shook her head. "It doesn't matter. I'm going with you." She crossed her arms and gave him a pointed look. He cracked a weak smile.

"You Lightwoods are terribly stubborn, you know that?" 

She smiled back, taking his arm in hers and leading the way down the hallway. "It's one of our many great qualities."

Magnus snorted and rolled his eyes fondly, despite the growing trepidation in his stomach. They stopped in front of a heavy locked door and Isabelle knocked four times, paused, and knocked three more. The locked clicked and swung open, revealing a neat looking man in a suit.

"Isabelle." He greeted with a nod.

"Hey, Raj. How's it been?" 

He glanced back over his shoulder with a grimace. "Not great. You here to give me a break?" He asked hopefully. 

"Go ahead. Magnus and I have some business to attend to with her. Hopefully it will be quick but send Adrian up in a half hour if I don't call by then." Raj let out a relieved sigh and moved aside to let them in.

"Of course." He nodded politely at Magnus. "Mr. Bane. Good to meet you." 

Magnus offered him a charming smile but didn't respond and Raj closed the door behind him as he left. Isabelle locked it and stepped into the foyer, followed closely by Magnus. She turned to him, looking hesitant.

"You sure you're okay?"

"As okay as one can be, my dear." He responded, adjusting his tactical belt and shoulder holster. She gave him one last worried look and made her way into the living room of the small apartment. Magnus followed, looking around as he went. 

It was an open floor plan, no door on the kitchen to their left and a short hallway leading to what he presumed to be the bedroom and bathroom on his right. The living room itself was small, bare of anything but the necessities. A simple black futon, one side table, a cheap tv and a thin looking blanket. The walls were a blank white, the floor a cheap looking vinyl. Nothing that could be used as a weapon, not even a spare lamp or cord, was in sight. Magnus wrinkled his nose.

"Not exactly luxurious."

Isabelle arched a brow at him. "Alec isn't about to fork out money for the kind of people we keep on this floor. The safehouses for victims are much cozier, trust me."

Magnus pursed his lips. "I do suppose the likes of Camille don't exactly deserve more than this. Frankly, this is generous compared to a prison cell."

"Exactly." Isabelle turned her attention back to the room, slowly walking a circle around it, scanning for anything out of the ordinary. 

"Speaking of Camille…" Magnus turned in a half circle, looking around the room. "Where is she?"

"Right here, Maggie." 

Magnus turned toward the kitchen just as Camille walked out, her voice already grating across his ears. She looked no worse for wear, though her face was bare of any makeup and she wore nothing but a plain t shirt and jeans. Her hair was down, cascading in dark waves over her shoulders. She sipped water from a paper cup, eyeing him up and down hungrily. "Well, don't you just look good enough to eat. I haven't seen you all dressed up like that in a long time."

Magnus tipped his chin up slightly, staring her down. "There's good reason for that. Regardless, I'm not here to play any of your games, Camille. I want information."

She barked out a laugh, striding past him into the living room and curling up in the corner of the couch. Magnus followed, keeping his distance and moving to stand next to Izzy on the far side of the room. Camille ignored Isabelle entirely, her gaze pinpointed on Magnus as if the other woman wasn't even there.

"Information doesn't come free, Maggie, you know that."

His lip twitched. "You aren't in any position to bargain."

"On the contrary. I'm the only one with the info you want. That's why you're here. You wouldn't come to me unless I was your last resort, isn't that right? After all those terribly mean things I did to you?" She mocked, making a pouting face as she set her cup of water aside. Magnus' kept his expression blank and said nothing, crossing his arms to keep his hands from shaking. Camille's smirk grew. "I always did love when you'd do that. Play tough guy, cross your arms and show off those wonderful biceps. Act like nothing could touch you. Make everyone think you weren't just a weak little boy."

Magnus ground his teeth together, taking a deep breath as he tried to let the words roll off his back. 

Seven years was a long time to deal with trauma and truthfully, he thought he'd made peace with the 4 years he spent under her control. 

But everytime he heard her voice, it tugged some forgotten and ignored pain from the back of his mind and made it fresh, something he'd thought he'd gotten past made new and forcing him to deal with it all over again. It was like a line of dominoes, one bit of defense she managed to break through sending the whole wall crumbling down with bad memories. 

"Jonathan. I want his location." Magnus swallowed, keeping his voice level as he clenched his fists, hidden by his crossed arms. Camille's eyes glinted, flipping her hair over he shoulder with the grin still plastered on her face.

"Jonathan? Does Lightwood have you doing his dirty work now or are you trying to clean up the mess you made last year?"

"Location, Camille." 

"Can't we have a friendly conversation, Magnus? Like old times?" She stood up from the couch, unfolding her long legs and taking a few deliberate steps in his direction. She was four feet away when Isabelle stepped in, half blocking Magnus' with one hand on her gun.

"Back up." Isabelle commanded. Camille turned to her, the smile dropping off her face and being replaced with a nasty sneer. 

"Or what? You'll shoot me?" She scoffed and gave Magnus a cold look, one he had seen so many times, the one that said she was disappointed in him, the one she made when he tried to talk about how he felt and she didn't care. "Still can't take care of yourself? Still need someone to cater to all your fragile feelings? Has Lightwood gotten sick of wiping away your tears for you yet?"

Magnus shifted his weight from foot to foot. Isabelle shot him a concerned look over her shoulder but he just shook his head, gesturing for her to move aside. She did immediately, stepping behind him as he approached Camille. He stopped a foot away from her and met her eyes.

"Jonathan's location, Camille. His safe houses. All of them."

She rolled her eyes. "I already told you no. Not without a price."

"Which is what ?" He ground out, jaw starting to twinge from the clenching and unclenching he'd been doing. She looked him up and down again and he resisted the urge to physically recoil, the disgusted feeling of being looked at like a piece of meat slowly twisting a knot in his stomach. It was how she'd always looked at him.

"Would it be too forward of me to say 'you'?"

"Not a chance in hell, you skank." Isabelle spat, her tone hard like glass and reminding Magnus instantly of Alec. 

"Anything else?" Magnus asked tiredly. He thought he'd been exhausted earlier but he felt completely drained now, both emotionally and physically. Less than five hours of sleep after various rigorous activities, an hour and a half of torturing and then a fight with Alec had his head feeling like it was about to split open. 

"No. I want you. At least a kiss. And then I'll give you Jonathan's location." She smiled, slow and prideful, like she knew she'd won. It looked just as unsettling without her signature red lipstick. 

"This is bullshit. Let's go, Magnus. Alec can get it out of her easy enough." Isabelle shook her head and turned toward the door but Magnus didn't budge, not even looking away from Camille. Isabelle frowned at him. "Magnus?" 

In front of them, Camille snickered. Isabelle shot her another glare and turned back to Magnus, moving to stand in front of him. He seemed to be staring off, his eyes unfocused and fixed ahead of him. She lay a hand on his arm, worry tightening her throat. 

"Always so caring. That bleeding heart of yours and the feelings you still have for me will keep you from hurting me. Tell her, Maggie. You won't let your precious Alec lay a finger on me, will you?"

Magnus met Isabelle's concerned gaze, his Adam's apple bobbing as he swallowed. "I don't want her tortured."

Isabelle's expression turned bewildered. "What? Magnus, she has information we need. She's a criminal. And Simon is...we need to know where Jonathan's locations are." She turned back to Camille. "This is your last chance. Give it up, Camille. My brother won't ask so politely."

The other woman shrugged and spun around, walking away from them to pluck her cup of water up from the table. "I'm not worried about little Alexander . I already told you. Magnus will protect me. After all, I saved him. I'm the reason he's even alive." She perched on the arm of the futon, watching them both with a self assured grin.

Magnus looked down at the floor, unable to deal with Isabelle's pitying gaze anymore. He rubbed his thumb and forefinger together, lips pressed together in a thin line. "She's right. She was the only one who cared enough, all those years ago." 

"Magnus-" Isabelle cut in, about to argue the statement. Magnus held up a hand.

"There's no reason to torture her. She's willing to give the information up easily enough, for me. It's fine." 

"See, Lightwood? He's fine with it. It's just a little kiss. And then I'll tell you all you want to know." Camille shrugged, examining her nails. 

Isabelle was shaking her head vehemently before she'd even finished speaking. "No. Absolutely not. Magnus, you can't. You can't let her control you anymore."

His head jerked up, dark eyes meeting hers with a chilly glare. "Does it look like we have a choice? I will not have Simon's death on my shoulders, Isabelle. Not when I could have done something about it."

"But Alec-"

"Alexander has no say in what I choose to do. And if he is half the man I think he is, he'll understand."

Isabelle fell silent, her eyes scanning over her friend. Magnus was still as a statue, his crossed arms clutching at himself, his whole demeanor screaming discomfort and pain. She'd heard him say before that Camille and the things she had done no longer affected him and now, looking at him, she couldn't believe she had ever believed that without question.

"Clock's ticking, you two. I'm sure Jonathan's already had plenty of fun with Simon, do you really want him to have more?"

Magnus cast Izzy one last hollow eyed look and turned his attention back to Camille. She stood from the futon arm and beckoned to him with one finger.

"Come here, Maggie."

Nausea swirled in his stomach as he stepped toward her, knowing fully aware how much she was enjoying this, pushing him around, toying with him, commanding him. He gripped his arms tighter, nails digging into the thin fabric of his long sleeve and biting at his skin.

Camille's smirk dissolved to an almost caring smile as she raked her eyes over him again, a familiar glint in them that had bile threatening to rise in Magnus' throat. She reached out one hand to slide up his chest, toying with the hem of the collar. "You always were the prettiest I ever had, Magnus. And so delicate, so needy for me. We had a good time, didn't we? All those nights when you said you didn't want me, you were always lying. I could tell. You always wanted me, your body told me so. Even now, Maggie. I can feel your heartbeat, all sped up and fluttering. We still love each other, don't we?" 

Magnus flinched as she cupped his jaw, grinding his teeth so hard he could hear it reverberating in his skull. She moved closer, mouth hovering just inches from his as she pulled his face down to hers. He closed his eyes, squeezing them tightly and trying desperately to control his breathing, which had slowly began to lose rhythm.

"Lightwood could never give you the things I gave you." A whisper before she pressed her lips to his, forceful as she'd always been, instantly taking control and digging her nails into his neck as she did so. It seemed like an eternity before she pulled away, rather than the mere seconds it had been.

Isabelle was instantly between them, shoving Camille back with a fiery look in her eyes. 

"Jonathan. Location. Now."

Camille looked over her shoulder, the predatory smile still on her face as she basked in the sight of Magnus, almost visibly quivering, his Adam's apple bobbing as he repeatedly swallowed, eyes glued to the floor, chest heaving with shaky breaths. He looked smaller, hunched in on himself with a hollow expression on his face. Camille looked back at Isabelle.

"Of course."


Magnus shot out of the apartment the moment Camille had finished speaking, the door slamming behind him. Isabelle went to follow immediately and stopped, cursing under her breath when she realized she couldn't leave the woman until she got another agent to come stand guard. She made a quick call, tapping her foot impatiently as she watched the door, occasionally shooting death glares in Camille's direction.

Camille said nothing, simply going back to lounging on the futon with a smile on her lips. 

Isabelle's relief appeared within minutes and she didn't say a word before she was practically sprinting past him and out the door. She hesitated in the hallway, glancing back and forth and trying to figure out where Magnus might have gone. He wouldn't have taken the elevator to any other floor, she knew, because he'd run the risk of seeing Alec. Her eyes landed on the private bathrooms nearby, reserved for employees so they didn't have to use the ones in any of the safehouses. She shoved the door open and took a few slow steps inside.


Isabelle had spent enough nights taking care of Max and hungover Jace that she knew the sound of vomiting when she heard it. She made her way to the largest stall in the room, noting the fact that it wasn't latched and gently pushing it open. 

Magnus was hunched over the toilet bowl, shaking, his knuckles white where he gripped the edges of it. His breath was nothing but ragged sobs, choked up like he couldn't draw in enough air. He gagged again, a dry retching sound that had Isabelle's chest tightening as she approached him. 

"Magnus…" She murmured, kneeling down on the floor next to him. He held up one hand to keep her from saying more, fingers trembling much like the rest of him. He dropped it back down and used the other to shove his hair back, head still bowed over the bowl. There was a long moment where neither of them moved, silent except for the sharp inhales as Magnus struggled to maintain his breathing pattern. After a while, he gestured weakly toward the wall.

"Can you…?" His voice was barely above a whisper, cracking halfway through the first word.

Isabelle nodded in understanding, even though he couldn't see it, and stood, grabbing and folding up some toilet paper. She held it out to him and he took it, slowly wiping his mouth clean and tossing it into the toilet. 

He still hadn't looked at her. 

She moved to sit against the wall just off to his right, folding her legs criss cross and watching him closely. He flushed the toilet and made no move to stand up or move away from it. Quietly, Isabelle removed her phone from her pocket and unlocked with a soft schick .


Magnus spun around and made a move as if to grab the phone from her, but lost his balance on his knees and caught himself with one hand against the wall, ring clinking against the tile. Isabelle stared at him with wide eyes.

His makeup was smeared, a mess of streaks across and around his eyes as if it had been rubbed at viciously. His eyes were already tinged red, still glistening with tears, his skin pallor and hair hanging over his forehead.

"You can't...can't call Alec. Please. Isabelle, he can't see...he can't see this. Please ." Magnus choked up again as he begged, his eyes bright with panic, and despite knowing it was a bad idea, she couldn't help but listen.

"Okay. Okay, I just need to tell him what we found out about Jonathan's possible locations. They'll need to start checking all of them as soon as possible."

He gave her a jerky nod and shifted, slowly drawing himself up to lean back against the wall and matching her criss cross position. His breathing was still too uneven for her comfort and only getting worse, a signal of what was to come if she didn't do something quickly. As soon as she'd sent the text, she set her phone aside and moved closer, sitting in from of him.

"Magnus, hey. Can you do something for me?"

He met her eyes, looking blearily through the tears. She reached out to grab one of his hands between her own and squeezed.

"I want you to try a breathing technique with me. Alec...Alec has bad anxiety attacks, I'm sure you know and I taught him this when we were kids to try and use to calm himself down. Okay?" 

Magnus gave her the barest hint of a nod.

She nodded back, taking a deep breath. "Okay. You're going to breathe in through your nose for 5 seconds. Then exhale through your mouth for 7. Very slowly, okay?" She squeezed his hand again, whether to calm him or herself, she wasn't sure. "I'll count for you." 

She slowly counted, up and down as Magnus tried to focus on her voice and the firm grip she had on his hand. The minutes dragged on and when his chest finally rose and fell in a steady motion, Isabelle fell quiet. Magnus swallowed, wincing at the taste in his mouth. As he began to refocus on his surroundings, he realized that his body was aching from sitting on the hard tile floor, his eyes felt swollen and his head was still pounding, the fluorescent lights of the bathroom only making it worse.

Isabelle didn't say anything, just watching him in the familiar intense way Alec always did when he was worried. Magnus was too exhausted to even bother giving her a fake smile, so he settled on patting her hand weakly. She offered him a sad smile in return.

"How long have we been in here?" He asked, his voice raspy. She checked her phone.

"About 15 minutes. Alec's already asking where we are." 

Magnus sighed and rubbed at his eyes with one hand, the other still clutched between Izzy's. "I don't suppose there is any place I could clean up before he sees me?"

"Magnus, you need to tell him. You need to talk about this. What Camille did-"

"What Camille nothing compared to what she once did to me. I'm overreacting. Even I'm taken aback by how much its affecting me. But I am overdramatic, aren't I?" He gave a humorless laugh, which looked off when no sarcastic smile accompanied it. "I saw what you were thinking. I should be over it, right? Her and I haven't been together since I was 23. I'm supposed to be able to stand up to her. It's been 7 years for me to deal with it and yet…" Magnus clenched his jaw, fighting back another sob threatening to break through. 

"Magnus, no. It doesn't matter how long it's been. There is no time limit on healing. None. Some people never quite get past it. You don't have to face her or stand up to her to be valid. Would you say any of this to Raphael about Jonathan? Would you tell him he was overreacting?"

Magnus shook his head. "No. Never."

Isabelle leveled him with a firm stare. "So why is it different for you?"

Magnus said nothing, casting his gaze to the floor. He examined the smooth surface of the clean tiles, ignoring her words as best he could.

The quiet was interrupted by Isabelle's phone, the ringing echoing loudly in the large bathroom. She checked the caller ID and grimaced.

"Shit." She shot Magnus a look and hit ignore. "Come on. My office is on the middle sector. I'll get Jace to keep Alec busy. His office is across the floor from mine but it doesn't hurt to be careful." She stood and held out a hand for Magnus to take. He gripped it tightly and she carefully hauled him to his feet, grabbing his elbow to steady him when he swayed. 

As they headed toward the elevator, Isabelle pulled out her phone, tapping the screen twice and holding it to her ear.

"Jace, hey. Listen, I need you to keep Alec busy." She paused, listening. "I don't have time to explain. Just trust me, please? Keep him in his office until I give you the okay." Another pause as Jace responded. Magnus watched her as they stepped into the elevator and she jammed the button for her floor. "Yes, it's...Magnus just needs a moment, okay? No, Jace, leave Camille alone. We got what we needed from her, let's just be done with that bitch." Her eyes drifted to Magnus, who was standing next to her, nervously spinning his ring around and around. 

"Jace, we can talk about this later. Just keep Alec off the floor and away from my office." She hung up and shoved her phone away as the floors counted down. When the doors dinged open, she grabbed Magnus' hand and pulled him quickly down the hallway, shooting a glare at anyone who dared to look twice. Thankfully, they only passed three people before Isabelle got to a door with her name next to it and punched in the code for the lock. It clicked open and she gestured him inside.

It didn't look anything like Alec's office, smaller and less messy with a fair amount of scientific equipment covering a nearby table. She beelined for her desk and opened the top drawer, pulling out a black makeup bag. She gestured toward one of the chairs while she dug around in it. 

"Go ahead and sit."

Magnus did as she said, crossing his legs and waiting in silence. The nausea in his stomach had died down and it felt painfully empty now, which made sense considering he'd barely had any food in his system to begin with. His headache hadn't eased at all and he let out a relieved sigh when Izzy set a bottle of pills on the desk. She also set out some makeup wipes, black eyeliner, and a small tin of what he assumed to be mints. Without a word, she headed over to the table of her equipment and knelt down, drawing Magnus' attention to a small fridge and freezer combination he hadn't noticed before. She grabbed a bottle of water and two small cold compresses before snagging a plastic cup from a nearby rack and turning back to him. She sat down in the chair in front of him and offered a genuine smile. He stared at her wide eyed. 

"Isabelle, you don't have to-"

"It's nothing you wouldn't do for me. Now here." She grabbed the bottle of water and cup and held them out to Magnus. "Swish, spit. I'm sure your mouth tastes like death." 

He huffed, the closest to real amusement she'd seen from him today, and did as she said. She set the cup aside and shook two of the Tylenol into her hand, holding those out to him as well. Magnus tossed them back with a gulp of water and sighed in relief. He hoped it would work sooner rather than later because it was getting to a point where he barely wanted to keep his eyes open.

"I'm going to wipe your makeup off. I know you could do it but I can see where the smudges are easier." She grabbed a wipe and made quick work of removing the remaining traces of black liner before she tossed them it in the wastebasket next to her desk. She then grabbed the two cold compresses, which Magnus now recognized as being for his eyes to no doubt reduce the swelling. He had a pair similar in his loft. 

"The swelling isn't actually that bad but I figured it would at least feel nice." Isabelle shrugged as Magnus held the small compresses to his face, relaxing back into the chair and closing his eyes. He had to admit, he already felt a bit better physically, and as long as Isabelle kept talking and distracting him, he could manage to avoid triggering himself with thoughts of Camille.

About five minutes passed before he set them aside on the desk. She slid the tin toward him and grabbed the eyeliner pencil as he popped two mints into his mouth, holding it up with a question on her face.

"I know you can do it but I don't have a mirror…" She trailed off, the lame excuse hanging in the air. He glanced down at his still tremoring hands and back to her. He knew she had a compact mirror, someone as prepared as Isabelle wouldn't be caught dead without one in her makeup bag, and was simply trying to avoid stating the obvious about his current inability to even hold the pencil straight.

He gave her a nod and closed his eyes. She scooted closer and smoothly lined his eyes, matching it as close as she could to what he had done earlier. When she was finished, she leaned back with a satisfied smile. “There.”

Magnus met her eyes, managing a smile. “Thank you, my dear. I really appreciate it.”

“Like I said, you would have done the same for me. Besides, you’re family, Magnus. Family takes care of each other.”

She grabbed his hand again and he caught sight of her nail polish, a deep red contrasting with the gold on his own nails. He looked back at her, his smile widening.

“OPI’s Malaga Wine ?”

She beamed back, fluttering her fingers to show off her manicure. “Yes! I bought it after I saw you wearing it two years ago at Max’s birthday party and it is still my absolute favorite. A reminder of my favorite fashion icon.” She winked and Magnus felt a lump form in his throat. 

He squeezed Isabelle’s hand in response, smile still on his face, and for a moment, Camille was forgotten.

Chapter Text

"You're stalling." Alec said bluntly, interrupting Jace's third explanation on how their teams were checking Jonathan's safehouses. Jace's eyes flicked toward the door.

"What? No, I'm not."

Alec sighed, pushing himself back from his desk and standing, cracking his neck with a wince. "Yes. You are. We already agreed we'd stay here until we were alerted to Simon's actual location, that way we weren't halfway across New York at another safehouse when he is found. And yet you've been standing there repeating the same thing for the last fifteen minutes." He narrowed his eyes at his brother, who looked shockingly similar to a deer caught in the headlights. Jace sputtered.

"I am not stalling. I just think that we should be really prepared-"

Alec ignored him with a roll of his eyes and started toward the door. Before he could even touch the handle, Jace was sliding in between, barring Alec from leaving. Alec's lip twitched.

" Jace. Why won't you let me leave?" 

"Listen, Alec, Izzy asked me to keep you here and wouldn't tell me why and you know Izzy does everything for a good reason. So just-"

"Is it about Magnus? Camille? " Alec asked, crossing his arms when Jace made no move to step aside. He knew he had hit the nail on the head when Jace's gaze dropped to the floor for just a moment before he met Alec's eyes again.

"No, it's not, Izzy just said-"

" Move ."

Jace frowned, his eyebrows pulling together as he planted his feet and held up his hands. He recognized the look in his older brother's eyes, had seen it time and time again throughout their lives. It was steely resolution, the face of a man who wanted something and would get it regardless of what he had to do. Only this time there was something darker just beneath the surface, a dormant rage born from already thin patience that was only waiting for an excuse, a reason, to be unleashed on someone.

He just hoped that someone wouldn't end up being him.

"Alec, please. 

"Jace, get the fuck out of my way." Alec hissed, stepping closer. His jaw was clenched as he towered over his brother, sparing not even a moment to listen to his begging.

"Alec, goddamnit-" 

Jace watched something flash in Alec's eyes as he raised a fist, but both men were interrupted by the office door swinging open and smacking Jace in the back. He stumbled forward, almost colliding with Alec, who stepped aside at the last second. Jace regained his balance just in time to avoid landing on his face and glared daggers at his older brother's back. 

"Hey... What's going on?" Isabelle entered the room, glancing around in confusion at the tense environment and her siblings' faces. Alec turned his murderous expression on her.

"What happened? How did Camille give up the information? And where is Magnus?"


"And don't even think about it. No me mientas, Isabel Sofía Lightwood." Don't lie to me.

Isabelle glared. She was still pissed about earlier, sick of Alec's attitude and the fact that he seemed to think nobody else was just as stressed out as him about what was happening.

"Magnus is taking a moment. And Camille gave us the information easily enough." She skirted around the truth, avoiding lying but leaving out the exact details that would send Alec off the deep end.

He didn't let up, of course. Alec wasn't one to back down. 


"Where is he? And what do you mean ' easily enough '?" His arms were still crossed, stance wide and intimidating, the one he typically reserved for meetings with people he hated. Isabelle barely resisted rolling her eyes. This wasn't the first time she had been at the receiving end of one of Alec's infamous withering stares and it wouldn't be the last. It also wasn't going to get him anywhere.

"Alec, it's not my place to tell you."

"Then tell me where Magnus is so he can tell me." Alec demanded. Isabelle said nothing, shooting a glance at Jace for help. Her brother moved to stand next to her, creating an even bigger block between Alec and the door. He narrowed his eyes at the two of them.

"So what? You're going to keep me trapped in here?" Alec laughed sardonically, throwing his hands out. "What the hell is this, an intervention?"

"If that's what it takes for you to stop being a dick, then yeah. Call it an intervention." Jace answered, raising a brow. Alec's eyes shot to his, gaze challenging.

"If you have something you want to say to me, Jace, then say it."

Jace stepped forward, sneering, but Isabelle stepped between her brothers just in time, holding her hands out.

"We don't have time for your egos to argue right now." She snapped, looking back and forth between the two of them. Alec shook his head and moved to step past her, still seething. 

"You're right. And if you aren't going to tell me, I'll go find Magnus myself." He shoved past the two of them, determinedly headed to the exit.

He got within a foot of the door before his little sister was determinedly shoving him backwards, slamming her hands into his shoulders. 

"¡Maldición! ¡Escúchame!" Damnit, listen to me! She growled. Jace stayed quiet in the background but stepped closer to the pair of them, eyeing Alec warily as he glowered down at Izzy. She continued, meeting his eyes with an equally hard stare. 

"You need to get your head out of your ass and do it real fucking quick or you aren't going anywhere near him. Magnus does not need Alec the 'murderous, pissed off, major asshole' mob boss right now. In fact, nobody does! This thing with Simon has you flying off the rails and lashing out at all the wrong people. Magnus, especially. What he needs right now is his boyfriend. Plain Alec. Normal, calm and caring Alec. So you need to let the job go, for your sake and his. We," She paused, gesturing between herself and Jace. "can find Simon. And when we do, we will tell you. But if you want me to tell you where he is and let you past this door, then you need to put down the guns, shed the metaphorical suit, and get over yourself!" Isabelle was shouting by the end of her rant and as soon as she stopped speaking, she seemed surprised by her own outburst, uncertainty flickering across her face. 

But Alec's expression had softened, the rage draining out of him as her words sank in. She dropped her hands from his shoulders as she watched his rigid stature slump. There was a long stretch of silence as she continued to stand resolutely in front of the door, waiting for Alec to respond. When he finally did, the hard edge was gone, and his voice, instead of coming out strong, wavered, like it was just about to crack. "Is it really that bad?"

Isabelle gave him a sad look, pressing her lips into a thin line as she debated what to say. "It's not good." 

Alec was quiet for another moment. "Is he in your office?"

"Yeah. You know the door code."

Alec cast an apologetic look over his shoulder at Jace. Something unsaid passed between them before Alec spoke."Keep me posted?" 

Jace gave a firm nod in return. "Always."

Alec muttered a soft thank you and apology as he passed his sister and slipped out the door. 

He made his way quickly through the halls, ducking his head and silently hoping he didn't run into anyone that might need his attention. His mind was racing, wondering what had happened upstairs with Camille, wondering how angry Magnus was with him, wondering just what Izzy meant when she said it wasn't good. Before he knew it, Alec was standing in front of the door to her office. He worried his bottom lip between his teeth and took a deep breath as he typed in the door code. It signalled it was unlocked but still, his hand hesitated over the door knob.

Loathe as Alec was to admit it, he wasn't sure he knew how to let go of the job anymore. He'd spent two years pretending for Magnus and there had been an odd sort of relief when he'd no longer had to. But with it came the fact that everything in their lives suddenly revolved only around their careers. Alec couldn't remember a single conversation he had had with Magnus since he'd been back that didn't involve mention of his disappearance, work, or Jonathan. 

But Isabelle was right. Her words rang in his ears, leaving him feeling confused and tense. How could he set it aside? If Camille had done something, if Magnus was hurt in any way, how could he possibly let her get away with that? 

He turned away from the unlocked door and began to pace, wringing his hands together as he walked. The irritation at his siblings for hiding things from him had already burned away and left in its wake was a hollow worry, an intense fear of not knowing eating away at his ability to plan, to prepare for the situation accordingly. Alec hated acting on instinct, hated walking into something blind. It went against the very grain of his being, everything he was taught growing up, everything he had learned in his adult life. 

But being with Magnus had always challenged that. Alec found himself consistently blindsided by their relationship as it developed. More specifically, by Magnus himself. The man was an enigma, waltzing into Alec's life and flipping it on its axis in every way. Before him, Alec would have never considered himself a romantic. Never saw himself as sharing a space with another person so intimately as he did their loft. Never before Magnus had Alec ever entertained the idea of marriage. He didn't have the time, his position didn't allow for those kinds of relationships and he'd always told himself he was fine with it.

Then he met Magnus. And learned quickly that no amount of preparation or overthinking would help Alec navigate the experience that was them

Magnus always said Alec continued to surprise him. 

Alec wondered if he knew he was surprising himself just as much.

Alec stopped just in front of the door again and managed a calm exhale. 

He needed to do this. For himself. He had been stumbling every step of the way since the very first fight they'd had, desperately trying to fix it while dealing with everything else and things had been going so well, he'd been legitimately happy and relaxed going home last night, for the first time in a very long time.

Finding out about Simon had been like a bucket of cold water over his head.

And then he'd made the mistake of dropping everything and turning into his mother, the way she was when he'd been growing up.

Emotions were nothing but a distraction .

The only emotion she had ever cultivated in Alec was rage. Pure, seething hate with an untamed temper. All to prevent him from accepting help from others, all to ensure he would push people away.

He'd been doing so well. He hadn't snapped like this since he met Magnus and now he had and Magnus was stuck right in the middle and Alec had no idea how to make him understand, how to explain why this was happening, why Alec flipped like a coin and Magnus was probably sick of it, sick of the sudden whiplash, fed up with Alec for being toxic, for not being the man he thought he knew-

Alec inhaled sharply, realizing he hadn't been breathing, and cut his thoughts off with a determined clench of his jaw. 

He stripped off his suit jacket, rolled up his sleeves, and removed both of his gun holsters, shoulder and hip. Another deep breath and he opened the door, unceremoniously dumping the items beside him just inside. 

And then, he looked at Magnus.

His makeup was still impeccable, hair still perfectly tamed, and outfit still arranged as carefully and stylishly as they always were. Magnus was sitting in one of the chairs in front of Isabelle's desk, hands clasped in his lap as he twirled Alec's ring around his finger. He looked up as Alec closed the door behind him, a smile on his face already.

If Alec had been anyone else, he would say that Magnus looked no different from earlier. 

But Alec wasn't someone else. 

Magnus' smile was hollow, not even a shadow of genuine happiness in it. No joyful crinkling at the corners of his eyes. His usual leisurely posture, legs crossed and shoulders loose, was replaced with something worse than even tension. He was making himself as small as possible, legs pressed together and head bowed even as he gazed at Alec. 

He looked lost, held together with the barest amount of composure. 

And when he stood from the chair and spoke, Alec felt his heart break.


Absolutely steady. Unsettlingly normal. Not quivering, not cracking, just a perfectly balanced statement of a word his lips had formed a million times over.

"Oh, Magnus ." Alec's own voice was barely a murmur, as tender as it was distraught.

And just like that, the dam broke.

The only warning Alec got was a gasping inhale before he was moving, three long strides forward that had him in front of his boyfriend just as Magnus' knees buckled out from beneath him. Alec caught him with ease, one arm windly tightly around his waist and the other slipping around him and upward to cup the back of his head as Magnus buried his face in Alec's shoulder. In mere seconds, sobs wracked his body, leaving him shuddering in Alec's embrace and clinging to him for dear life, fingers twisted into the fabric of his shirt. He was whispering things against Alec's chest between gulps of air, quiet apologies over and over again, mixed with soft pleading. 

"I've got you. I'm not going anywhere." Alec found himself repeating the same few comforts as he held the man, gently threading his fingers through his hair and focusing on holding him up, taking almost all of Magnus' collapsed weight against him.

"I'm sorry, Alec...please. I'm sorry. I tried, I swear-"

"It's okay, bebé. It's okay. I'm here." The pet name slipped out naturally, something Alec only called him in the privacy of their bedroom, when Magnus was vulnerable or when Alec felt particularly sappy. 

"It's not...not okay. Alec, I-" He cut himself off with a ragged hiccup, shaking his head where it was nestled into Alec's shoulder. 

"You don't need to apologize. I do. I shouldn't have said what I did earlier. It's not anyone's fault what happened, especially not yours. I was an asshole. A huge asshole and I'm so sorry, Magnus." Alec whispered the words, cradling Magnus' head close and pressing a kiss to the top of it. 

"I know. I know." Magnus sniffled, a fresh round of tears soaking into Alec's shirt as another cry spilled from his lips. Alec swayed back and forth ever so slightly as he held him, willing himself to focus, focus on the here and now , rather than how much he wanted to find Camille and rip her limb from limb. Alec closed his eyes, burying his face in Magnus' hair as he tightened his arms around him to ground himself, almost smiling at the familiar smell of sandalwood and whatever hair product Magnus had used to perfect his style that morning. 

Alec wasn't sure how long they stood there. He wasn't sure when Magnus' cries subsided to occasional hiccups and shaky inhales. He just held on, continuously running his fingers through Magnus' hair and shushing his broken apologies, assuring him over and over that nothing was his fault, that things were going to be okay. It felt like an eternity before Magnus' breathing returned to a semi normal pattern, interrupted periodically by sniffling. 

Alec stayed quiet, biting back the hundreds of questions on his tongue. He wanted to know,  wanted to demand answers so he could go about exacting retribution the way he always did, but Magnus was clearly in no state to be interrogated just to satisfy Alec's cruel vengeance streak. 

Alec himself wasn't in much of a state to be fighting anyway. His bruised ribs and sore shoulders were aching like hell from holding Magnus up, especially after exerting so much energy earlier on De Quincey. Normally, Alec could go for hours when it came to a torture session like that but he was running on barely any sleep, food, and still dealing with the unexpected events at the restaurant and even he had to admit he was looking and feeling more than a little rough around the edges.

He felt Magnus yawn into his neck, which had him pulling back slightly, just enough to see his face, and cupping his cheek with a gentle hand. Magnus met his gaze, eyes red and puffy. His makeup was nearly gone and Alec suspected most of it had wound up on his white dress shirt. Not that he cared.

“Let’s go back to the loft, alright? I'll drive. Come on.”

Magnus made a soft noise of protest. “But Simon-”

“My team has everything they need. And Izzy and Jace agreed to contact me as soon as they find him. Catarina is upstairs with Raphael and he's being kept up to date on everything.”

The name seemed to shock Magnus out of his current emotional state. He almost immediately stepped out of Alec’s arms, wiping at his still teary eyes frantically. 

“Shit, Raphael . I have to go see him, he must be-” Magnus shook his head, running one ringless hand through his hair and starting for the door. Alec caught him firmly by the arm.

“Hey, hey, Magnus, wait. He’s fine. I checked on him while you and Izzy were…” Alec trailed off, swallowing hard before continuing. “He’s doing surprisingly well. And besides, he has already said he ' doesn’t want to be babied .’ He barely agreed to us calling Catarina.”

"Alec, I'm his father. What kind of one would I be if I didn't even go check on him? He's more important than...than this." Magnus voice broke as he gestured to his tear stained face. Alec shook his head, intense brows furrowing as he stared at Magnus.

"You know he wouldn't want you neglecting your own health for him."

"That's what parents do."

"Do I need to call him so he can tell you to take care of yourself?" Alec asked, pulling his phone from his pocket in challenge. Magnus hesitated, unsure, before he fixed Alec with a stare that Alec assumed was meant to be firm, but fell flat amidst the exhaustion and empty look behind his eyes.

"You're positive he's okay?"

"As okay as he can be. And perfectly safe here."

Magnus still looked unconvinced and Alec sighed, pulling him close again. He cradled Magnus' cheek with one hand, swiping his thumb soothingly over his skin. "You need food. And sleep. We both do. For me, cariño ?" Alec murmured, eyes pleading but voice stern.

Magnus leaned into him, wrapping his arms around Alec's middle and burying his face in the man's neck again. He mumbled into the exposed skin above the collar of Alec's shirt. "Okay."

Alec sighed in relief and rubbed his hands up and down Magnus' back. "Thank you." He held Magnus for another beat before stepping back, laying a hand on his lower back and gently steering him toward the door. He opened it and was about to step out when Magnus halted in his tracks. Alec shot him a confused look. “What?”

“Aren’t you going to grab your things?” He gestured to the pile Alec had dropped by the door. 

Alec chewed on his bottom lip, Izzy’s words in his mind. “Right. Yeah.” He leaned down and snagged his hip holster, latching it back onto his belt. He double checked the gun was loaded before replacing it in it’s rightful spot. 

"Where's the one I got you?" Magnus asked, lines of confusion forming across his forehead.

"I don't use it for work. I uh... I didn’t want it to get damaged. I mean, sometimes I bring it with. With me, I mean. As a comfort. I started doing that after you left." Alec shrugged, as if it was trivial information. Magnus gave him a dim smile.

“A comfort?”

“Yeah. It was like having a piece of you with me all the time. And using it to shoot people kinda seemed disrespectful. After all, for a long time, I wasn’t even sure you were…still around.” Alec cleared his throat and turned away, grabbing Magnus’ hand and intertwining their fingers. He gestured down the hallway. “Home?”

Magnus squeezed his hand. "Home."




The entire ride to the loft was made in dead silence. Unable to stop it, Magnus’ mind drifted back to Camille. The demanding press of her lips, the small cuts from her nails still stinging at the back of his neck. He couldn’t shake the taste of her, the stench of her too floral perfume and the smug satisfaction in her voice as she beckoned him forward. She’d toyed with him like she always did, cutting straight to the things she knew hurt him the most, made him the most ashamed. He should have known what he was walking into, should have known she'd use him as a bargaining chip. People like Camille never changed, they only learned to hide their nature and use it to seek out more victims. 

He could feel Alec's eyes on him with every minute of quiet that ticked by. Magnus knew he was on the lookout for another breakdown, his worry palpable even in the expansive space of his Escalade. Magnus was almost thankful he didn’t have any more tears to cry and that the nausea had fled for the moment, leaving him feeling empty and exhausted.

He knew he had to tell Alec. Not only because the man wouldn’t stop until he found out why Magnus had broken down in his arms but because Alec was the love of his life and he deserved to know what Magnus had done. 

But protective was a word that came nowhere close enough to accurately describing how Alec felt when it came to the people he loved. 

Alec would kill Camille. He'd already expressed a desire to, multiple times throughout their relationship, even before when Magnus didn't realize Alec actually could and frankly, Magnus was shocked he hadn't done it yet. But this would push him over the edge.

Camille was cold and cruel, yes. But Alec's merciless nature came from a place of caring, fueled almost entirely by his dedication to the people around him. It's part of the reason Magnus believed they worked so well. Both of them were far too willing to risk themselves for the sake of others and neither of them were willing to let the other risk themselves for each other.

It was an endless cycle.

But unlike Camille, De Quincey, or even Jonathan, Alec wasn't afraid of getting caught or getting punished, not by the law or anyone else, when it was something personal. 

His lack of self preservation was as much a strength as it was a weakness.

And Magnus couldn't bear to see him lose everything he'd worked so hard for over a rash decision blinded by hatred. He already had to worry what the man would do to Jonathan now that Simon had been dragged into this and he was loathe to add Camille to Alec's list. He didn't know why, after everything she'd done, that the thought of her dying made his chest hurt. 

And as much as he wanted to make Jonathan suffer for what he did to Raphael and so many other innocent people, his forced exile had taught him more than enough patience.

He couldn't afford to make the same mistake twice.

Lost in his thoughts, Magnus hadn’t even realized Alec had parked the car and got out until his door opened and his seatbelt was undone for him. He looked up from his hands to see Alec watching him with a concerned expression, hazel eyes wide.

“Sorry. I tuned out for a moment…” Magnus murmured. Alec only nodded and Magnus climbed out of the car, shutting the door behind him. He started toward the main doors of the building, with Alec following just a step behind.

The doorman’s face flickered with worry as he opened the door, no doubt taking in Magnus’ red eyes and blank expression. Magnus did his best to give him a reassuring smile as they passed noting how fake and unnatural it felt. 

As they entered the elevator, Alec lay a hand on his lower back and pressed a kiss to his temple. "Anything in particular you need once we get up there? A shower?" 

Magnus nodded wordlessly, leaning into Alec's side. Alec's hand curled around his hip, holding him steady as the elevator slowed to a stop and opened. 

Alec unlocked the door with one hand and pushed it open, kicking it closed behind him. Magnus stood in the foyer, looking around with a relieved sigh. The loft had always made him feel more at ease. It was a place with very few bad memories and more than one reminder of all the good ones.

“Go sit down for me, okay? I’ll bring you some water and something to eat and then we'll shower." Alec spoke as he set aside his weapon and knelt down to unlace his boots, making quick work of the criss cross pattern and tossing them aside where they wouldn't be tripped over.


“Just...let me take care of you. Please?” Alec held up a hand, cutting him off with a pleading tone. Magnus closed his mouth, too tired to argue, and left to the bedroom. 

He entered, set aside his gun holster and stripped off his shirt, tossing it onto the floor with a wince as the fabric dragged over the wounds on his neck. Camille had always liked to sharpen her nails to points, said it made everything more fun, and despite the great amount of discomfort and pain Magnus suffered, she refused to file them down. 

It took longer than he cared to admit to figure out she didn’t do it for vanity. She did it to hurt him.

He sat down on the bed and slowly removed his boots before laying back, ignoring the fact that he was still wearing his tactical belt and pants. He stared at the ceiling, a deep set frown marring his features as he struggled to relax. 

It only took five minutes for Alec to come sweeping in with a cold bottle of water and a small mason jar with a spoon stuck in it.

“I forgot to tell you but yesterday morning, before the operation, my mom brought over some of those overnight oats she makes that you like so much. The strawberry ones?”

Magnus’ lips twitched into a small smile as he forced himself back into a sitting position, watching Alec set the items on the bedside table. “Your mother always seems to know what people need.” 

Alec chuckled a bit, stripping off his ruined shirt and throwing it against the far wall. He tossed his pants into the pile of Magnus’ clothes and sat down next to him in just his underwear, still smiling. “Yeah, well, no one could ever say Maryse Lightwood doesn’t pay attention.”

Magnus grabbed the jar from the side table and popped a spoonful in his mouth, closing his eyes with a pleased hum. “I don’t understand how you don’t like these.”

Alec grimaced.  “The chia seeds are just...weird.”

Magnus rolled his eyes and took another few bites as Alec watched over him before he set it aside. He didn’t want to risk upsetting his stomach with too much food too quickly. He took a drink from the water bottle and sighed, rolling his shoulders back. Something caught Alec’s eye as he did so and he shifted on the bed, moving until he was sitting behind Magnus. Light fingers skimmed the area around Camille’s nail marks.

“What are these?” Alec questioned, keeping his voice as calm as possible despite the intense flare of anger that struck him at the sight. He had a fairly good idea of what they were. 

What he couldn’t figure out is how they got there. 

Magnus’ tired shoulders tensed, muscles bunching under Alec’s fingers. He opened his mouth to answer but his tongue felt too heavy in his mouth, refusing to move and speak the words he knew he needed to say. Alec didn't press him.

“I’m going to clean and bandage them. No reason to risk an infection.” Magnus didn't look up as he felt Alec's weight disappear from the bed. He heard a cupboard open in the bathroom, the running of water as Alec washed his hands and moments later, he returned, taking his place behind Magnus again. The sound of the first aid box clicking open and then the tearing of a package. The cool antiseptic wipe swept across his skin, quick and thorough as Alec ensured the wounds were clean. 

He'd always taken injuries seriously, from the time that Magnus rolled his ankle and Alec would barely let him get up from the couch, to the time he cut himself with a kitchen knife and Alec insisted on stitching it up. It made sense that something like this, something Magnus would have just left alone, would make Alec pull out the first aid kit.

"I know you hate the fabric bandages, so I'm just going to use one of the large waterproof adhesive pads to cover all of them at once." Alec said, ripping open another package behind Magnus, who simply nodded. He went back to spinning his ring in his lap, desperately grasping at the right words to tell Alec what happened. 

"There." Alec finished pressing the bandage in place, sliding his warm hand down Magnus' spine and resting it on his lower back, thumb tracing small circles on his skin. "Drink some more water and I'll go get the shower ready." 

He stood without another word, gathering up the empty packages and the first aid kit and disappearing back into the bathroom. 

Magnus automatically sipped from the water bottle and stood up, unclipping his tactical belt and moving to place it on his vanity. He shucked off his pants and ran a hand through his hair, wrinkling his nose as the greasy feeling of it. 

He lingered in front of the mirror, examining the bruises scattered across his body. The ones along his jaw had yellowed already, barely aching even when he prodded at them with his fingers. His ribs, on the other hand, throbbed with every twisting motion he made, the purple splotches looking far worse than he'd originally thought when he'd spared them a glance as he was getting dressed this morning. 

Pursing his lips, he leaned closer to the mirror, eyebrows furrowing at the sight of his exhausted and puffy eyes, the light traces of remaining makeup just along his waterline, and the blotchy state of his skin. 

"Shower's ready." 

Alec's voice cut through his thoughts and Magnus ripped his gaze from the mirror, turning to find his boyfriend leaning in the doorway of the bathroom, arms crossed and waiting. 


"Mmhmm. Come on." Alec straightened up and gestured Magnus toward him. Magnus followed wordlessly, his reflection forgotten.

Inside the bathroom had already begun to fill with steam, clouding the mirror as Alec shut the door behind them to trap it all in. The air was stifling and warm but not uncomfortable, already beginning to make Magnus feel sleepy. He inhaled deeply and lavender filled his senses, sweet and calming. He turned to Alec with an unspoken question, and the man just gave him a half shrug.

“I used one of those shower bombs you like so much. Figured it would help you relax.”

Magnus couldn’t help the soft smile that curled at his lips. “That’s very sweet of you, Alexander.”

“And I promise the shower isn’t as hot as I like mine.” Alec gave him a fond look, eyes twinkling in amusement. Magnus arched a brow in disbelief and stripped out of his underwear, pushing aside the curtain and testing the water with his hand before stepping in. Alec followed, sliding the curtain back into place.

“I prefer to be able to feel my skin when I get out, thank you. Not everyone likes to bathe in boiling water.” Alec snorted in response as Magnus tilted his head back, letting the water rush over him and exhaling a relieved breath. The pressure from the showerhead was doing it’s job quickly, soothing aches he hadn’t even realized he’d had until they were gone. Alec watched him with a patient expression, leaning against the tile wall.

It was a relatively spacious shower, large enough to fit the two of them comfortably. Magnus had meant to have a plumber install a second showerhead a long time ago when Alec moved in but had simply never gotten around to it. Alec didn't seem to mind sharing.

Magnus finished fully wetting his hair and looked back at Alec, meaning to ask him to pass over his shampoo only to find him already holding it and pouring a small amount into his palm. He capped it and set it back on the shelf.

“Turn around.” 

Magnus did as he requested and let out a low hum as long fingers begin to scrub through his hair, nails lightly scratching his scalp in just the way he liked. Alec took his time, working through every strand as the tension eased it’s way from Magnus’ body. 

When he was finished, he let Magnus rinse his hair clean before grabbing the clean washcloth draped over the shower bar and soaking it under the spray, pouring a small amount of body wash onto it from one of Magnus' many expensive bottles of product.

Silently, Alec began to rub the cloth over his boyfriend's skin, making sure not to put too much pressure or stay in one place too long and risk scrubbing him raw. Magnus let himself be turned and guided wherever Alec needed him so that the man could thoroughly wash his body, enjoying the innocent intimacy of it all. By the time Alec was done, Magnus was sure there wasn't a part of him that hadn't been touched by gentle and caring hands.

It made his pulse flutter, reminding him of a time with less problems, the newness of their relationship untainted by kidnapping, murder, grudges, or revenge. They'd been lying to each other about the very nature of their lives but it hadn't mattered in the moment. Curling up on the couch to watch movies and eat take out with Alec had been the first time he had felt truly normal in years. 

A light touch brought Magnus back to the present as Alec slid his hands up his shoulders and gently dug the pads of his fingers in, working his thumbs in slow circles over the knots in the muscles. Magnus made an appreciative noise and tilted his head forward as Alec carefully continued to massage, skirting around the bandage on his neck. 

When Alec was satisfied that Magnus’ shoulders were relaxed, he dragged his hands down the man’s back, alternating between his palms and knuckles as he soothed the tissue alongside his spine. Magnus continued to exhale soft and pleased noises as Alec worked, swaying under the warm water and slowly leaning back against Alec’s chest as strong hands eased more tension from his hips and lower back. 

“You’re spoiling me…” Magnus mumbled, tilting his head back on Alec’s shoulder. A kiss was pressed to his temple.

“You deserve it and I enjoy it. It’s a win-win.” Alec responded as he looped his arms around Magnus' waist and held him close, smiling when Magnus turned his head to kiss his cheek.

"Can't argue with that, I suppose."

"Do you want me to condition your hair?" 

Magnus turned around in his embrace, giving him a warm look, brown eyes shining from under wet lashes as he slung his arms around Alec’s neck.

"That would be wonderful but remember-"

Alec interrupted him. "Only apply it to the ends, I know. ¿Crees que no escucho?" You think I don't listen? He muttered the last part under his breath with an eye roll. Magnus lightly pinched his side, eliciting a soft squeak and a heatless glare from his boyfriend.

"You've clearly been spending too much time with Raphael if you're backtalking me under your breath in Spanish."

"That was not backtalking." Alec argued. Magnus arched a brow pointedly.

"Oh, it wasn't? Podrías haberme engañado." You could have fooled me.

An impish smile curled at Alec's lips. Magnus returned it with a playful look. 

"Tienes suerte de ser lindo, Alejandro ." You're lucky you're cute.

Alec's smirk widened at the comment, licking his lips as his eyes darted downward. Magnus knew the signs when he saw them and he leaned up, just in time to meet Alec's lips as they descended on his.

Lightwood could never give you the things I gave you.

Camille’s words came back to him like he'd been shocked, ringing loudly and so suddenly in his head that he jerked away, stepping out of Alec’s arms and almost slipping on the tile beneath him. Alec caught his forearm to steady him, his face instantly concerned.

“Magnus?” He asked, confusion lacing his voice. 

Magnus brought a hand up to his mouth and rubbed at his lips, trying and failing to shove the feeling of Camille’s against his own from his mind. Alec's expression tightened and Magnus shook his head frantically before he could say anything.

“It’s not you, darling. I…” He choked on the words, hand going to the back of his neck to touch the bandage. It felt like the water pouring over him had turned ice cold, the easy relaxation that had eased through his body ripped away in seconds by the memory.

Alec watched the motion with narrowed eyes, realization giving way to poorly hidden anger.

“Is this about Camille?”

Magnus managed a nod.

“Magnus...what did she do ?” Alec took a small step forward, reaching out to pull him into his arms again. Magnus hesitated, refusing to meet Alec’s eyes.

“She gave us the information on Jonathan. For a price. And God, Alexander, it’s so stupid, I know it shouldn’t be bothering me like this but I just…” He trailed off again, swallowing the lump in his throat. “Alec, you have to promise me you won't hurt her." 

Alec clenched his jaw. "Magnus, I can't. I can't let her keep getting away with causing you pain."

"It's not your responsibility to punish her."

"You're right. But taking care of you is my responsibility, and taking care of you involves making sure that everyone who hurts you or even dares to try , gets what they deserve." Alec stated, already itching with the desire to find Camille and show her first hand exactly what he did to people like her, people who violated others for their own personal gain and fun.

Magnus relented, stomach twisting, his voice barely audible over the spray of the shower. "She kissed me. She made me kiss her. The cuts on my neck, those… those were her nails.” He paused and dragged in a ragged breath, still staring resolutely at the floor of the shower, watching the water swirl down the drain. “I didn’t want to, of course. And I thought I'd be able to handle it just fine. I couldn’t let Simon die if I had the chance to do something about it. I couldn't, Alexander. And I know I should be stronger, I know I should have faced her and I understand you're mad but I really can't deal with that right now.” 

He spat the last sentence in frustration and Alec deflated instantly. Magnus finally looked up to meet Alec's eyes, expecting pity, betrayal, more anger or all of the above.

Instead, he found nothing but concern and adoration, the familiar look of wonder that Magnus both hated and enjoyed. He never felt like he deserved to be looked at that way but at the same time, it made his heart flutter, made him feel a way Camille had never quite managed to make him feel.

Completely and unconditionally loved.

" Cariño… " Alec murmured, voice soothing in it's quiet awe, reaching out to pull him close again. He went easily and Alec cupped his face, resting their foreheads together. "I don't think you realize how selfless and brave you are." 

Magnus gave a small shake of his head. "I'm not, I could barely stand up straight after it happened, I was so nauseous-"

"Magnus, stop. You were faced with a decision you shouldn't have had to make and you still picked the option that helped someone else regardless of the pain it was going to cause you. That's the definition of selfless. And you are brave. Not only for doing what you did to help Simon but for even going up there to talk to her in the first place." Alec paused, his adam's apple bobbing. "I should have been with you. I shouldn't have let you go at all, really. I'm sorry." 

Magnus fell quiet, his palms resting flat on Alec's chest between them. He tried to focus on the man's steady heartbeat, the pounding of the water against his back as he sorted through his thoughts. 

Alec watched him closely, hazel eyes honest and more apologies ready on his tongue. He stroked his thumb back and forth across Magnus' cheekbone as the silence dragged on between them. 

"I forgive you." Magnus finally said, meeting Alec's gaze. Alec swallowed hard, the knot in his stomach loosening just a bit. 

"Thank you." 

Magnus leaned his head into Alec's hand, eyes closing as tears pricked the back of them. He drew in a breath, trying his best to keep it steady.

"I didn't think it would be so bad. And I can still feel it, Alexander. I can still feel her there and it's-" He moved to touch his lips again when Alec caught his wrist. His eyes snapped open to meet Alec's, frowning in confusion. Alec watched him intently.

"Magnus, do you trust me?" 

Magnus brows furrowed. "What?"

Alec wound an arm around his waist, letting go of his wrist to slide a hand into his hair and cradle the back of his head. "Do you trust me?" 

Magnus nodded, still unsure of where this was going. "Of course I do."

Alec leaned in again, his lips brushing lightly across Magnus'. 

"Then let me know if you want me to stop, okay?" Without waiting for an answer, Alec kissed him, gentle and firm, catching Magnus' lips amidst his own in an achingly familiar way. Magnus exhaled, eyes fluttering closed as he leaned into it, desperate to try and chase away the lingering feeling of someone else's, especially Camille's, mouth on his own. Her words still floated at the back of his mind and he shoved them away as best he could, focusing on the feeling of Alec's mouth, the slight rasp of his five o' clock shadow against Magnus' skin.

It wasn't a fervent kiss like the ones they'd shared last night in the back of Magnus' car, all teeth and hunger for whatever the other could give and driven by desperation, but a slow one, with Alec holding him just so and ensuring he had Magnus' attention with every movement, every breath between them. It was private, something so intimate that it almost felt intrusive to think about rather than just feel

Magnus' throat tightened inexplicably, some mix of emotions threatening to overtake this perfect moment and Alec must have known, must have felt the second Magnus started to think too much because he moved, his hand untangling itself from Magnus' wet hair and dragging down his chest. Alec's palm curved around his ribs just as he thumbed lightly over one of Magnus' pierced nipples, calluses creating pleasant friction.

Magnus' breath hitched, a shiver running across his skin, and Alec did it again, catching the edge of the barbell this time. Magnus jolted, a soft noise spilling from his lips as Alec steered him toward the warm tile wall and pressed him against it, the spray of water washing over their bodies. 

"Is this okay?" Alec murmured the question into his mouth as he slotted a thigh between Magnus', earning another quiet gasp from the other man. Magnus nodded wordlessly as Alec's tongue swept along his bottom lip, deepening the kiss until all Magnus could think about was the taste of him, the hint of mint toothpaste clinging to his tongue and the soothing lavender steam surrounding them.

Something about the tenderness, the slight rocking motion of Alec's hips against his, and the grounding grip of Alec's hands on his body, had heat flaring in Magnus' belly and blood pooling to his cock, all the events of today driven from his mind with every motion, every soft graze of teeth along his jawline.

Alec continued his slow pace, fingers tracing teasing circles around Magnus' nipple as he lay open mouthed kisses on the wet arch of his neck. 

"Ah...Alexander…" Magnus breathed out, head tipping back and hitting the shower wall with a barely noticeable thud. He could feel Alec's hardening cock sliding against his, their skin occasionally catching and sending little shockwaves of pleasure up Magnus' spine. 

Alec said nothing, sucking delicate marks here and there as he reached Magnus' collarbone. 

The hand he had planted on Magnus' lower back slid down to grab a handful of his ass and Magnus outright moaned, hips jerking forward. Alec gave a low and pleased hum, palming the firm muscle as he rolled his hips in short, slow motions. His other hand disappeared from Magnus' hip, followed by the faint sound of a bottle being pumped. 

Magnus breathing picked up in anticipation and Alec couldn't help but smirk before he slipped his hand between them and encircled Magnus' cock, palm slick with lube.

"Oh, shit…" A sharp whimper fell from Magnus' lips before he could stop it, his hips pushing up into Alec's hand as the man began to stroke his cock at a leisurely pace. 

"Eres tan bonito, bebé…" You're so pretty, baby. Alec's eyes raked over Magnus' form, taking in his flushed cheeks and hazy eyes with a swell of pride. He ignored his own throbbing cock in favor of pleasuring Magnus, watching his face go slack as Alec thumbed across his leaking slit.

Magnus' knees were getting weaker by the second, held up mostly by Alec's steady grip on his ass and the shower wall rather than his own legs. 

When Alec pulled his hand away after only a few minutes, Magnus whined unhappily, the sound eliciting a soft chuckle from his boyfriend. 

"Shh. I'm not going anywhere." Alec soothed him, brushing a kiss across his parted lips. Magnus heard the bottle pump again and moments later, he was hitched off the ground and up on Alec's hips, large hands curving under the swell of his ass, lubed fingers resting just shy of his hole.

Magnus wrapped his legs around Alec's waist, back arching and cock bobbing, needy and twitching, between them. 

"Alexander, please ." Magnus exhaled, already begging at the feeling of one finger dipping teasingly into his ass, pulling at his rim as Alec slipped it back out. A kiss was swept along his jugular as Alec pressed his finger back in, sinking in completely and slowly dragging it in and out until Magnus was squirming in his grip. Alec pressed another finger in before Magnus could complain, wanting to please him more than frustrate him after everything he'd gone through today. He deliberately avoided Magnus' prostate however, a fact that didn't go unnoticed.

"F-fuck, Alec ." A high whine punctured the air, paired with a weak and glazed over glare. Alec gave him a sly smile.

"No more 'Alexander' ?" He murmured, arching a brow as he pushed his fingers back into Magnus' ass. 

Magnus groaned, nails biting into the skin of Alec's back as his eyelids fluttered. His whole body was warm, buzzing with sweet tension, the kind that had his stomach clenched but his mind floating, the kind that he knew would leave him boneless and satiated when it was over. Alec was good at that, working him up and bringing him down piece by piece until he could barely think. 

The man always seemed to know exactly what Magnus needed and right now was no different.

Two fingers turned to three, with Alec carefully and methodically working him open, whispering praise in Spanish as he pressed kisses to every bit of Magnus' skin he could reach. Magnus could do nothing but sit there and take it, pinned between the shower wall and Alec's solid body, strong arms flexing as they held him up. He knew he likely wasn't making it easy, hips twisting and shifting as Alec fingered him open, desperate noises tearing their way out of his throat, but Magnus wasn't in the mindset to care.

It felt good . The slight burn melding with the feeling of callused fingers stroking deftly along his sensitive walls and making Magnus' whole body quiver, precum steadily beading at the tip of his twitching cock. Alec was in no rush and it showed, his movements slow and deliberate as he pleasured Magnus, ignored cock sliding against his ass and dragging over the man's hole when he pulled his fingers away. 

Feeling the hot line of Alec's cock against him, thick and tempting, had what was left of Magnus' composure quickly slipping.

"Damnit, Alexander, fuck me ." He made a frustrated noise as Alec swept over his hole, gathering up lube that had dripped down and pressing his fingers back in. 

"Oh god, fuck- " Magnus cried out, his head thudding back against the wall again as Alec abruptly pressed against his prostate with a precise curl of his fingers. Magnus' cock tensed, jerking against his abdomen as he found himself suddenly teetering on the edge of his orgasm. 

Alec went still immediately, leaning in to kiss Magnus' neck, his voice rough and muffled against his skin. "Do you want more than one?"

Magnus blinked, trying to think through the fog of pleasure as the tight feeling in his balls ebbed away much to his irritation. "Wha'?"

Alec pulled back, his stare intense. "Do you want to come more than once? Can you handle that right now?"

Magnus inhaled sharply, his pelvic muscles clenching at the thought. They had played around with that before, plenty of times over the course of their relationship but it had been over a year and a half since he and Alec had been together and a blow job in the parking lot was a lot different than multiple orgasms and overstimulation.

But after today, Magnus found himself desperately wanting to remember nothing but Alec's name.

"Yes. Yes , Alexander, please. Fuck, please make me come." Magnus babbled out his response without another thought, chest heaving. Alec's fingers moved inside of him again, the tips grazing his prostate and eliciting a sharp gasp from Magnus as his cock throbbed.

"Traffic lights, okay?" 

Magnus nodded frantically. Alec leaned in and kissed him softly as he continued to run the pads of his fingers over that spot inside Magnus, making the man whine and squirm, hands scrabbling against Alec's shoulders.

"I'm going to take care of you, bebé . Don't worry." 

The sweet words were lost on him, only barely being registered in the back of Magnus' mind as the pressure mounted in his stomach, muscles tensing at the relentless onslaught of pleasure that rolled through him with every motion of Alec's fingers. He moved to reach a shaky hand between them toward his cock when Alec shook his head.

"I want you to come just like this, with just my fingers. Can you do that for me?" 

Magnus shook his head with a weak noise of protest that was quickly drowned out by a loud moan as Alec pressed just the tip of his pinky in alongside the rest of his fingers.  

"Sé que puedes. Venga. Muéstrame lo bueno que eres." I know you can. Come on. Show me how good you are. Alec quickened his pace, pumping his fingers in and out while he watched Magnus' face contort in pleasure, a sight that had lust flaring beneath his skin. 

Magnus' spine bowed away from the wall as Alec hit that spot inside of him again with slightly more force than before, his nails scraping hard enough down Alec's back to leaves angry red welts in their wake.

"Fuck, fuck, Alec- " Magnus keened, cutting off his words with a shaky moan, his eyes slamming shut as his hips stuttered and warm splashes of cum abruptly streaked across his dark skin. He rode out his orgasm with gasping breaths, fully aware that his legs were shaking from the force of it and unable to do anything about it but trust Alec not to drop him.

The lukewarm water still pouring from the showerhead washed away the majority of the mess as Alec gently slipped his fingers free to hold Magnus more securely, both large hands gripping the bottom of his thighs just as his legs lost their tight hold around Alec's waist. 

Magnus gave another weak moan, his whole body sagging into Alec's hold. He buried his head in the man's shoulder with tremble as the sensitive head of his cock brushed along Alec's stomach. Anticipation still had a hold on Magnus, the solid feeling of Alec's heavy cock sliding back and forth against his ass sending a delighted shiver up his spine. He wanted it so badly, craved it even, eager to remember how it felt to be split open and filled completely.

His breath hitched as Alec pushed his knees a little closer to his chest, hooking his elbows behind them and pressing himself flush against Magnus' body. He looped his arms around Alec's neck, head still nestled into it, and felt Alec's pulse jumping against his cheek as the head of his cock bumped against Magnus' still thoroughly lubed entrance. 

Magnus let out a needy whimper, already tightening his grip into the hard bunched muscle of the man's shoulders.

Alec chuckled at that, a low gruff sound directly next to Magnus' ear, that quickly devolved into a deep groan as he slowly sank his cock into Magnus.

"Fuck, I missed this. Missed you… " Alec sighed against his skin, hot breath ghosting across Magnus' ear as he pressed in, inch by inch. He wanted to savor this, wanted to enjoy every little sensation, from the stinging pain on his back, the sound of whimpers falling from Magnus' lips, and the tight, wet heat around his cock. 

Alec had never even entertained the idea of moving on from Magnus when he'd disappeared. The thought of it had made him sick to his stomach. Jace had tried suggesting it a few times when Alec had gotten particularly bad, throwing out the idea of a one night stand to help him, or at the very least relieve some tension. 

Alec had never done it, mostly because he refused to believe the love of his life was actually gone but also because nobody could ever compare to the man he held in his arms right now. 

Alec bottomed out with a satisfied gasp, taking a moment to enjoy the way Magnus felt around his cock before giving a shallow thrust that had his boyfriend stuttering out a high pitched groan. He kept his movements steady and unhurried, drawing out no more than halfway before sinking back in with gentle rolls of his hips.

Magnus was moaning weakly into his shoulder, drunk on the friction of his cock rubbing between their stomachs and the way Alec eased in and out of him, the burn from his large size giving way to familiar heady pleasure.

There had been so many nights in his exile that  Magnus had awoken from a pleasant dream to an empty bed, the jarring difference often stealing the rest of the night's sleep from him. He'd missed Alec, desperately and in an all consuming way that had him aching, his body yearning for the way Alec fucked him and turned him into nothing but a trembling and fragile mess like nobody else ever had. And now, with Alec spreading him open, hands grasping his pliant muscles, body solidly anchoring Magnus' as he stoked the fire in his belly with languid thrusts, Magnus realized just how much he'd needed this.

He didn't even notice that tears were spilling down his cheeks until Alec lifted him up a little higher, adjusting the position to drag the head of his cock over Magnus' prostate every time he slid inside, and a sharp sob of pleasure and overwhelming relief burst from Magnus' throat.

"I know, cariño. It's okay. We're here now, I've got you, Magnus. I've got you." Alec rambled the comforting words as he began to increase the force of his movements, his arm muscles quivering with exertion as he fought to keep the intoxicating heat around his cock from making him come too soon.

"Needed you. Needed you so bad, Alec, fuck, I..." Magnus tremored in Alec's arms, more tears blurring his vision. He could feel his body quickly reaching the peak again, cock throbbing almost painfully between them. 

"You've got me, Magnus. I'm right here-" Alec cut himself off with a grunt as Magnus clenched around him. "Sh-shit, baby, I'm right here." 

"Please, fuck, Alexander, so close. I need it harder, please. " Magnus begged, clenching around Alec again, pleasure licking up his spine when he felt Alec's cock throb against his flared rim.

Alec shook his head, hips surging forward in another smooth motion. "Wanna take you apart nice and gentle this time."

Magnus sobbed in frustration but didn't argue, instead pressing his face back into Alec's neck and threading one hand up through the man's wet hair, pulling at it with every one of Alec's thrusts. 

Alec shuddered as the slight pain lanced through his scalp and sped up slightly, grinding his hips deep against Magnus' ass before pulling back out again. His boyfriend's whole body was strung with tension as he chased his orgasm, clinging to Alec like he'd disappear if he let go. 

Alec shifted Magnus in his arms again, feeling sweat dripping down his forehead and chest as cooling water beat down against his back. He had a brief thankful thought that the loft had a decent water heater or else they'd have frozen quite a few minutes ago.

The new angle must have had Alec's cock hitting that spot inside Magnus dead on because his boyfriend jerked suddenly in his hold, and as Alec kept moving, a continuous string of breathy noises and babbling poured from Magnus' lips.

" Ah, ah, ah , f-fuck, right there!" He fisted Alec's hair, muscles locking and his balls drawing up, his release teetering just barely out of reach before crashing over him all at once. "Alec, Alec, Alec- " His cock pulsed, cum weakly splattering their chests. Magnus bit down into the meat of Alec's shoulder to muffle his shout, his hips twisting as he tried to get away from the near painful stimulation as Alec continued fucking him, not even pausing as wave after wave of intense euphoria racked Magnus' body.

"There we go, shit, so good for me, Magnus. So good." Alec pressed a sloppy kiss to the nearest part of Magnus' skin he could reach as his boyfriend's ass fluttered and clamped down on his cock, drawing him dangerously close to his own release. 

Magnus melted against him, dead weight entirely held up by being pinned between Alec and the wall. He wasn't completely out of it yet, despite the blissful feelings hazing the edges of his mind, drawing him closer and tempting him to give in. He clung stubbornly to the physical feeling of Alec against him, their warm overheated bodied contrasting with the cool shower water. He could feel Alec's muscles twitching, the now slightly rough drag of his cock in Magnus' abused hole. 

"Color?" Alec grunted, voice raspy from heavy breathing. Magnus removed his teeth from Alec's neck, barely noting the angry mark left on the man's skin that would for sure be a bruise tomorrow. His tongue felt thick and useless in his mouth. 

"Green." Magnus mumbled, little overstimulating shocks of pleasure going through him as Alec's cock filled him over and over again. 

"One more?" Alec asked, voice raspy. Magnus whimpered and gave the tiniest nod.

"Wrap your legs around me." Alec nudged him gently, slowing his hips back down to their previous languid motions. Magnus did his best, locking his ankles in the small of Alec's back.

He realized what Alec was doing when he heard a familiar noise followed by Alec's slick hand sliding between them and giving his tired cock a featherlight stroke. Magnus could do nothing but shudder and groan, shying away from the feeling, which only pushed him down further onto Alec's cock.

Alec knew he wasn't going to last much longer after watching Magnus fall apart, his fever pitch moans of Alec's name tugging on the buried, carnal feelings of possessiveness hidden underneath Alec's controlled exterior. He didn't own Magnus but Magnus was his , this was his, seeing the man be reduced to nothing but an incoherent mess by Alec's body and then bringing him back, watching his hazy eyes clear to reveal that small moment in between both states of being, just before he was aware of all the problems waiting for him, just after the chemicals in his body rebalanced and he was just there . Present in that moment with Alec where nothing else mattered but the two of them.

That was his.

The thought had him burying himself into Magnus with renewed fervor, trying to get as deep as he could with each abrupt slam of his hips. Magnus' weak overwhelmed moans filled his ears as he worked his hand over the man's cock in rhythm with his thrusts as the pressure mounted in Alec's groin, his muscles screaming from overexertion.

"Hey," Alec murmured, trying to catch Magnus' attention. His boyfriend made a noise of affirmation and managed to lift his head from Alec's shoulder. 

Alec met his gaze with a tired smile, resting their foreheads together. Magnus was making soft ah ah noises with every exhale, lips bitten red and brown eyes glassed over, tears staining his flushed cheeks.

"Just one more. One more, okay, baby?" Alec's thrusts faltered as Magnus twitched, ass squeezing around Alec as he gently twisted his hand around the head of Magnus' cock. " Fuck . Fuck , tan bueno, cariño. Te sientes increíble, I love you so much-" So good, you feel amazing. Alec rambled, Spanish and English running together as he came, pulsing and filling Magnus with hot spurts of come as his boyfriend cried out, his cock weakly jerking in Alec's hand, a few clear drops dribbling from the tip.

Magnus' blood was roaring in his ears, his vision whiting out for just a moment, all his breath whooshing out of his lungs as Alec wrung another orgasm from his body. He slumped into his boyfriend's embrace, warmth engulfing him, his thoughts feeling like they'd been submerged in syrup as he slipped into a blissful haze. Alec recognized the signs instantly and brushed a kiss along Magnus' hairline, his exhausted muscles straining to continue holding up the trembling man.

"I've got you, Magnus. I'll take care of you." 

Chapter Text

Simon was missing. 

Raphael still couldn't wrap his head around it.

His Simon. Simon, who unironically wears footie pajamas in public. Simon, who plays guitar for Raphael when he can't sleep. Simon, who cried when he came home to find Raphael setting a menorah up on the mantel, their tiny Christmas tree in the corner topped with a shiny Star of David. 

Simon was missing. He was gone, probably being tortured and there wasn't a damn thing Raphael could do about it but sit and wait and hope-


He jerked his head up at the sound of the familiar voice, blinking rapidly to shake away the thoughts he'd been lost in.

"Hmm? What are you doing here?"

Magnus settled himself on the couch next to him, arching a brow. He looked well rested, at least more so than the last time Raphael had seen him, his bruises faded and the dark circles under his eyes just a little less pronounced. 

"I'm here to check on you, of course." 

Raphael frowned, looking down at his hands where they lay in his lap. He said nothing and Magnus waited patiently as he watched his son twist his engagement ring around his finger. A beat of silence passed between them before Raphael broke it.

"It's been almost fifteen hours." 

Magnus paused. "I know."

Raphael's hands tremored. " Fifteen hours . With Jonathan. That man did heinous things to me in only one, he's had Simon for fifteen -" He cut himself off, drawing in a shaky breath. He reached up to scratch subconsciously at his scars, a phantom itch of pain going through them.

He had long since changed out of his suit, donning a pair of black athletic pants and Simon's old college hoodie instead. He was thankful that Isabelle had let him stop by his apartment before she'd herded him into the comfortably furnished safehouse at the Lightwood headquarters. That had been around 2 AM, just a half hour after they'd realized Simon was gone, and Raphael hadn't moved from his spot on the couch since, hunched over in the corner against the armrest with his legs criss crossed in front of him.

"We will find him, you know." Magnus made no move to reach for the other man, despite wanting to comfort him. Raphael would seek that contact on his own if it was something he desired. It was something they'd established when he was young, an understanding that Raphael, a young child or not, wasn't often one for physical contact. The only times Magnus had ever done it without permission was when it was absolutely necessary, such as the time Raphael had almost stepped in front of a car at age 11, or when Magnus had very nearly lost him in an unexpected crowd at age 14. 

"And when we do? What will be left of him? Jonathan doesn't just hurt people, he destroys them."

"Raphael…" Magnus murmured, trailing off as he tried to find the right words. The other man shook his head, rubbing over his scars again.

"I let him walk out of that bar. He was angry, he wasn't thinking straight, and I knew better than to leave him alone with this whole mess going on. I knew better. Soy un idiota." He growled, running a hand through his hair. I'm an idiot.

"Deja de culparte." Stop blaming yourself. Magnus responded. Raphael's dark brown eyes shot to his and found his adoptive father giving him a firm look, one that Raphael had seen many times before in his childhood. He instinctively ducked his head as Magnus continued. 

"You and I have never let each other wallow in self pity, Raphael. You can be worried. You can be angry. You can be scared." Magnus sighed. "But blaming yourself does nothing for Simon. When we find him, and we will find him, he'll need strength." 

Raphael sniffled. He was still staring down at his lap, his hands now twisting in the fabric of the baggy, worn hoodie. He made no indication of responding. Magnus stood up.

"Isabelle and Cat told me you haven't been eating. And that the only sleep you got was an hour or so around 2:30 this morning." 

Raphael said nothing. Magnus sighed and stepped away, removing his jacket and scarf and folding them over the back of the couch.

"Come, mijo. Let's get some food in you." 

Raphael startled a little at the term. Magnus had only ever called him that when he was a child, still living under the man's roof. He'd stopped after Raphael moved out and while Raphael had never quite been sure why, he assumed it was to make him feel more like an equal, an adult alongside Magnus instead of his child.

Raphael would never admit it out loud, but he'd missed the term of endearment. Hearing it again just now settled some of the anxiety that had been constricting his chest, a pressure he hadn't even realized was so intense slowly dissipating at the comforting presence of the other man.

Raphael pulled himself off the couch after taking a moment to breathe and trailed behind Magnus as he made his way to the kitchen. He took a seat at the small island and watched as Magnus began searching through cupboards and pulling out various ingredient options, humming softly under his breath as he did. Upon turning and opening the fridge, his eyes widened.

"I must say, I'm shocked at how well stocked this place is. Surely they don't use it that often?"

Raphael rested his head on his hand. "Alec had groceries sent up this morning."

A small smile tugged at Magnus' lips. "That explains it." He began pulling out an assortment of vegetables and it took a moment for him to realize what exactly Alec had in mind when he'd done his shopping. When he did, his grin widened.

"It appears Alexander bought everything necessary for me to make my tumis sayuran."

Raphael perked up at that. "Really?"

Magnus nodded, setting some eggplants and mustard greens on the counter. "I did mention to him once how I would make it on special occasions for you when you were younger. I told him it wasn't the fanciest dish but more of a comfort food, really. Not to mention, he took quite a liking to it when I made it for him the first time." 

"That's nice of him. To uh, to remember that." Raphael cleared his throat, drumming his fingers on the counter. Magnus gave him a soft look.

"He does care about you. And I know you care about him. You two are just too stubborn and prickly to show it to one another."

Raphael grumbled at that and said nothing, folding his arms on the countertop and resting his head on them. Magnus shook his head fondly as his son proved his point and turned back to the task at hand. 

Raphael continued watching Magnus as he prepared to cook, pulling out pans and bowls and resuming his quiet humming. The counter was quickly covered, everything arranged in the order it was needed, the recipe ingrained in Magnus' memory so well that he barely needed to give it a thought as he tossed a mixture of spices together, eyeballing each measurement.

Raphael found himself distracted by the knife tapping away at the cutting board, quick repetitive sounds of eggplant and peppers being sliced filling the room like white noise. 

Before long, Raphael heard the sizzling of a pan,  the scent of galangal and garlic pulling old memories from the back of his mind.


"Raphael, be a dear and grab the oil for me?" Magnus flitted a hand in the direction of the cupboard and a moment later, the bottle was set next to him on the counter.

Magnus murmured a thank you and poured some into the pan, letting it heat up before tossing in a few bay leaves and ground hazelnuts, along with the rest of the seasonings. 

Raphael had gone back to his seat at the kitchen table in complete silence, staring down at the wood grain and tracing it with his finger. Magnus glanced at him out of the corner of his eye as he sauteed the ingredients, concern growing at his son's prolonged silence.

"How was school? You mentioned that your teacher gave you some extra books on civics a few days ago. Have you been reading them?"

Raphael shrugged, looking pointedly out the window, away from Magnus. 

"School was school. And yeah. The books are good."

Magnus pursed his lips at the young boy's apathetic response as he swept vegetables into the pan. "Anything pique your interest?" He pressed, trying to engage him more in the conversation. He knew the questions were cliché, typical parent talk, but he hoped it would kickstart a more in depth conversation like they usually had.

"I guess. I don't really want to talk about it, Magnus." 

The response made Magnus freeze mid stir, confusion and concern instantly taking over before he managed to recover, hiding his reaction the best he could. Raphael didn't seem to even notice, gaze still focused outside.

Raphael never addressed him by his name. It was always 'papá', even before Raphael's mother had died, something Magnus had initially refused in part to his own young age but also out of respect for Guadalupe Santiago. She had, of course, waved away his concerns and had even been happy about it the first time she'd heard it. She was sick, barely having the energy to keep up with her son most days, and Magnus, who had unknowingly made himself an integral part of their family, spent the majority of his free time caring for Raphael. 

When Magnus had asked if she knew why Raphael had chosen that particular term, she'd mentioned that the 8 year old had probably picked up the fact that Magnus was an 'old soul', his behavior far more paternal than fraternal and his physical age nowhere representative of his actual knowledge and experience in life. 

The revelation had shocked Magnus more than he thought it would. He knew he behaved older than he actually was, perks of raising yourself in a world deadset against you, but hadn't realized it had made him adult enough to be a father in the eyes of a child.

He'd gotten used to the title over time, despite the looks it drew as his features stayed young and Raphael grew noticeably older, his teen years approaching quickly as Magnus entered his early twenties. Nobody was ever brave enough to ask questions, not that Magnus would have minded explaining, and Raphael never seemed to have any intention of stopping his use of the word.

Until now, it seemed.

He continued cooking, no longer trying to fill the silence that had fallen over the kitchen. He wondered if Raphael would tell him what was causing his foul mood and change of mind, not particularly keen on pulling the information from the boy, especially on his 12th birthday.

It only took a few more minutes before the food was done and Magnus prepared two servings, though he no longer felt the confidence that normally came along with the special occasion dish. 

Did Raphael grow to resent him? Did he realize that Magnus had never been father figure material? What if he wanted to find a different family, one that was more appropriate, with a house and siblings rather than a two bedroom apartment and a cat?

"Food's ready." Magnus said, laying the bowl in front of Raphael and taking a seat across from him at the kitchen table. The boy gave him nothing more than a polite thank you and Magnus forced a bigger smile.

"You're welcome, mijo."

Raphael picked up his fork, pushing the stir fried vegetables around. Magnus was two bites into his food when Raphael spoke up.

"Why do you call me that? You aren't really my dad and I'm not your son." The words came out sharp, almost accusatory.

Magnus felt his heart plummet. He lay his utensil aside slowly and folded his hands together in front of him. Raphael still refused to meet his eyes, glaring down at his food.

"Not biologically, no. But I've been raising you for almost 4 years, more or less. As far as I'm concerned, you're my son."

Raphael didn't respond. He continued staring down the bowl in front of him and Magnus fidgeted, rubbing his thumb and forefinger together.

"Did you want something else? I can make you whatever you'd like. Or we could go out to dinner or even order in, if you prefer-"

"I just don't get why you call me that. Why not just call me by my name?" The young boy cut him off, voice still aggravated. Magnus opened and closed his mouth, unsure of how to respond. The direction this conversation was going was really starting to unease him, knots forming in his stomach. He twisted a ring around his finger.

"Would me to stop?"

Raphael, again, said nothing. 

Thick, tense silence settled over the whole room. 

Magnus chewed his bottom lip and stood up from the table, taking his barely touched food with him. He began to put away all the leftovers, scribbling dates on each portion and setting aside some for Raphael's school lunch. When he was finished, Magnus set the dirty dishes in the sink and turned back to Raphael.

"Your gift is in an envelope next to your bed, Raphael. I have some work to finish up. If you need me, I'll be in my bedroom." Magnus gave him a weak smile and left the kitchen, picking up his laptop on the way to his room. 

Raphael dropped his fork with a clink against the bowl as soon as Magnus was out of sight, pushing his chair away from the table and standing up. He didn't bother putting his food away and stalked toward his room, slamming the door shut behind him when he entered. Typically, Magnus would chastise him for that but right now he wouldn't have even felt bad.

He didn't get it.

The man wasn't really his father. The kids at school reminded him of that every day since Magnus had shown up to parent teacher conferences, pointing out that they looked nothing alike and that Raphael was adopted, something he knew but had never been made to feel bad about until then. They asked why his 'dad' dressed funny, why he wore makeup, why Raphael didn't have a mom.

He knew it shouldn't bother him. He was Raphael Ortiz Santiago, he didn't care what others thought about him, let alone the petty insults they threw his way. That's how he was raised, by Guadalupe and Magnus both. To be strong. None of it should bother him.

But it did.

Why did his mother have to die? Why didn't he have any blood family? Why couldn't things just be normal? 

Why couldn't Magnus just be normal?

Raphael threw himself onto his bed with an angry noise, burying his face in his pillow. He tried to calm his breathing, control his temper rather than letting it control him just like Magnus taught him. 

It worked after a few long minutes, leaving Raphael breathing heavy as he curled up on his side, the uncomfortable tension in his wrists that begged for him to hit something fading away to a dull ache.

He lay there for a while, his thoughts still circling until his attention turned to an envelope on his side table, which he assumed must be the gift Magnus had mentioned.

Raphael wasn't sure he wanted to open it.

He knew that Magnus had recently come into some money. He had noticed that the man was less stressed lately, that the trips out to dinner had gotten more frequent. Raphael had even caught him looking at real estate in Brooklyn the other day. He wasn't quite sure what Magnus' new job was but he'd been around more often.

Raphael was happy for that.

With a resigned sigh, he sat up, his curiosity getting the better of him, and grabbed the item off the table.

It was just a plain white envelope. Not even sealed, with Raphael's name across the front in Magnus' complicated script.

He frowned and pulled out the papers inside.

Two airplane tickets. He narrowed his eyes as he scanned the information on them, noting that the dates were for two weeks during his summer vacation from school.

Then he noticed the destination.

Zacatecas, Mexico. The place he was born, the place he hadn't seen since he and Magnus had moved to New York when he was 10 years old, shortly after his mother died.

His birthday gift was two weeks in his hometown. 

His breath caught in his throat and he slipped the tickets back into the envelope. Tears pricked at the back of his eyes and he fought them off, blinking rapidly. He hopped off his bed and made his way to his bedroom door, creaking it open and walking determinedly down the hallway toward the master bedroom.

The door was left wide open, as it always was unless Magnus absolutely didn't want to be disturbed, and Raphael stepped inside, hesitating near the doorway.

His father figure was cross legged on his large bed, hunched over his laptop and typing away with a furrowed brow. He finally caught sight of Raphael out of the corner of his eye when he shifted to crack his neck. Instantly, his demeanor changed and he pushed the laptop away to give his son his full attention.

"Raphael. What can I help you with?"

The young boy held up the envelope. "What is this?"

"I told you. That's your birthday present. I thought it would be nice for us to go back to where you were born. It's been a few years, you're getting older, and I don't want you to miss out on being able to celebrate and explore your culture to the fullest extent. Besides," Magnus paused, shutting his laptop and standing, clasping his hands together as he met Raphael's eyes. "I figured we could attend mass at Parroquia de Santo Domingo, your old church. And then maybe...visit your mother's grave. Only if you want, of course."

Raphael swallowed. When he spoke again, his voice trembled.

"You… you want to take me to see my mama?"

Magnus offered him a small smile. "Of course I do, Raphael. I'm just sorry I couldn't give you the option before now."

Raphael opened his mouth to say something but nothing came out, the words catching in his throat. Tears flooded his vision and he dropped the envelope, running forward and slamming into Magnus, wrapping his arms tightly around the man's waist. 

Magnus jolted, clearly surprised, but wrapped his arms around the boy a moment later, squeezing him close. Raphael cried quietly into his chest, tears soaking the silk material of his shirt. 

"I'm s-sorry." He hiccuped. Magnus brushed a gentle hand through his hair.

"Whatever for, dear?"

"For s-saying you weren't my d-dad. I didn't mean it. The kids at school, they-" Raphael broke off, another sob bursting from his chest. "They say I should feel b-bad for being adopted, that I shouldn't call you papá, and they say you're weird and I just, I don't know w-what to do."

Understanding washed over Magnus. 

"Oh, mijo." He pulled away from his son, stepping back to sit down on the tall bed so they were more level with one another. He gripped Raphael steadily by the arms as the boy's tears continued to leave tracks down his face, meeting his gaze with a serious look. The boy looked back with red rimmed eyes, curls wild on his head.

"Listen to me, Raphael. I know you know there isn't anything wrong with being adopted, so don't you dare let them convince you otherwise, okay? I assure you that you aren't the only child there that is. And what you choose to call me is entirely up to you and nobody else's business. If you don't want to call me papá anymore, that's your decision." Magnus took a deep breath and gave Raphael an almost sad smile. "And if you want me to dress down for all your future conferences and events, I will. I don't want you getting bullied over me, mijo. I've never cared about what others say about me but if it affects your wellbeing then I'll gladly wipe off the makeup for a few days out of the year."

Raphael was shaking his head before Magnus had even finished, wiping at his tears. 

"No. We don't change ourselves for other people. It's letting them win." 

Magnus' eyes brightened, his smile more genuine as he pulled his hands away from the boy's shoulders. "Smart as a whip as always." Raphael sniffled, casting his eyes down.

"Earlier I was just so angry. Angry at you. Angry at those kids. I wish things were normal sometimes. I wish...that you were normal sometimes. And I'm sorry. That's not fair to you."

Magnus nodded. "No, it isn't. But I understand and I forgive you. There is nothing wrong with wanting easier or wanting different. Even I do it. And it takes strength to admit to those wishes, especially when they might come at the expense of someone else were they true. But I am who I am and I enjoy being who I am, whether I'm considered normal or not. I hope you think of yourself the same way."

Raphael wiped the last of his tears away with a nod and Magnus caught sight of the rare emotional part of his son. Raphael was always a serious boy, determined and notoriously grumpy, a no nonsense attitude and unreadable expressions making up the majority of his personality. 

Magnus knew things still got to him, Raphael was only human after all, but he also knew that Raphael was strong, just like Magnus had been at his age. 

He'd be lying if he said that he wasn't proud of the stern pre-teen. 

In front of him, Raphael shifted from foot to foot. Magnus stood up again and gestured toward the door.

"Come along, mijo. Let's go finish dinner."

Raphael followed him, sweeping the envelope up off the floor as he did. He clutched it close to his chest, excitement thrumming under his skin already at the idea of visiting Mexico in a few months. 

"Thank you, papá. For the birthday present."

Magnus grinned at him. "Anything for my boy. Now, food and then we can go watch Law & Order so you can point out the flaws to me."

Raphael's nose scrunched up immediately. "The inaccuracies are just abysmal sometimes. I'm twelve and even I know better than those writers most of the time." 

"Not all twelve year olds want to be lawyers, Raphael."

"That's no excuse for ignorance."

Magnus snorted and rolled his eyes to himself.

Yes, Raphael was far too much like him.



Magnus' voice had Raphael jerking awake, eyes flying open to find that he had dozed off with his head on his arms at the kitchen island. Reality came crashing back down as he remembered where he was and why he was there.

A steaming bowl of stir fry sat in front of him and Magnus stood off to the side, eyeing him carefully. Raphael cleared his throat and straightened up.


"Nonsense, there's no need to apologize. You're exhausted. Eat up and then you can go back to sleep. Preferably in a bed this time, yes?"

Raphael nodded and winced as his neck twinged. He pulled his food closer to him and took a bite, warmth and familiar flavors blooming on his tongue. 

He ate the food fairly quickly, sleep creeping back over him as he took the last few bites. He yawned as he pushed the bowl away and slumped in his chair.

"Alright. To bed with you."

Magnus ushered him out of the chair and Raphael begrudgingly followed him out of the kitchen, dragging his feet as his eyelids drooped. His engagement ring weighed heavy on his finger, not letting him forget the current situation, but he'd found that his hopelessness wasn't as overpowering as it had been earlier.

He slipped under the covers of the foreign bed and let Magnus pull them back over him with only a mild look of irritation, one that only earned him an eye roll.

"I understand that you don't wished to be babied but you're my son whether you like it or not and I haven't seen you in a very long time. Let me hover a bit."

Raphael grunted in response, pulling up the hood of Simon's sweatshirt as he settled against the pillow. His phone was set on the bedside table next to him, along with a glass of water. Just before Magnus turned off the lights and left, he turned back to Raphael.

"If you need anything, I'll be in the living room. I'll let you know if I get any updates."

He flicked the switch and just as he shut the door behind him, he heard Raphael's sleepy voice.

"Gracias, papá. Te quiero." Thank you. I love you.

"Te quiero, mijo. Get some rest." 




"Any news?" Alec asked, striding up to Underhill and Isabelle in the operations room. His sister was tapping away at one of the computers and gave him a silent shake of her head without turning away from the large screen. It looked like she was scanning a map of New York, marked with various red dots. Nearby, a few of his employees were wearing headsets and speaking quietly into them, no doubt communicating with the teams they had out searching for Simon. 

Alec looked back at Underhill expectantly. The blonde man sighed and set his tablet on the table.

"No. But we are getting down to the last few locations. Two in Harlem, one in the Upper East Side, and one in Brooklyn. All the recon teams so far have come up empty. No Simon, no Jonathan. Not even anything useful left behind to let us know what he's up to."

Alec made a frustrated noise, dragging a hand through his hair. "Damnit." He grit his teeth, allowing himself only a moment to process the information. He had a job to do despite his worry for Simon, and if they were coming up empty, he couldn't afford to dwell. He sucked in a sharp breath, steeling himself into work mode.

"Alright. Anything else that I should know about? Related or otherwise?"

Isabelle's fingers stopped moving, the clicking of her nails on the keyboard ceasing abruptly. She glanced over her shoulder, sharing a silent, unsure look with the head of the security. Alec's eyes narrowed as their hesitation.

"What?" He asked, crossing his arms. 

"Do you remember when Jace told you that Mom suggested we check for a mole? Because Dad somehow knew about everything you were doing?" Isabelle started, each word said slow and deliberate, as if she was trying to avoid setting Alec off.

"Yes...what about it? Do we have one?" 

Underhill chewed his lip, avoiding Alec's eyes.

Isabelle fell quiet again, pressing her lips together in a thin line.

Alec's jaw twitched.

"Spit it out. We don't have time for this." 

"It was Raj. We found out an hour ago. Helen tracked him outside of work on a hunch she had and he's been meeting with one of Robert's old contacts, who we can now only assume is also a contact of Valentine's." Underhill held his tablet out to Alec, who took it with a hard look in his eye. He scrolled through the surveillance photos and spoke without looking up.

"Any idea on how he knew about the things I was running alone? When Magnus was missing? He isn't close enough to our main operations to know any of that."

Isabelle frowned. "Workplace gossip always exists, Alec, no matter what business you're in. All it would take is for the wrong person to hear the right conversation."

Alec handed Underhill his tablet back, expression unreadable. "Where is he now?" 

"Gone." Isabelle said.

Alec's eyebrows shot up. "Excuse me? He's gone? How the hell did that happen? Andrew?" He turned on the head of security, who stared back with an apologetic look on his face.

"I don't know, Alec. We went to check on him as soon as we figured it out but he must have somehow known his cover was blown already. Blackwell, the other man at the front desk, he said Raj just up and walked off. There wasn't anything I could do."

"This explains how Camille kept getting into the building so easily back when we were looking for Magnus. Remember? Raj constantly worked the entrance." Isabelle added, already seeing the signs of her brother's flaring temper. It appeared that 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep at home with his boyfriend hadn't done as much to unwind him as Isabelle had hoped it would.

"The teams that have finished checking the safehouses, I want them to check Raj's known whereabouts. His house, his favorite bar, whatever coffee house he gets his shitty coffee from, everywhere. Is that understood?" Alec demanded, gaze focused on Underhill. The man nodded and Alec continued. "Track his cell phone. I have to-"

"Sir? We have a location on Lewis." 

Alec spun around to find one of his headset wearing employees, Ashburn, he believed, staring at him with a grave expression. Alec stalked over to where he stood in front of a monitor.

" Where?"  

"Brooklyn. Safehouse has one car out front, looks to be the sedan that Lewis was kidnapped in. Nearby traffic cameras show it pulling up roughly 20 minutes after he was taken from the bar. It was too dark to see who gets out but I counted at least four figures."

"Do we have building blueprints?" Alec asked, waving Izzy over. 

"One story facility. It looks to be an old automotive shop. 3 small rooms, probably used to be office and storage, front reception room and the garage for cars." Ashburn clicked a few buttons and spoke softly into his headset. A moment later, a live feed appeared on the screen.

"This is what Carstairs is seeing. Thermal imaging shows only 6 people. And we believe that that," He paused and pointed to a pair of figures, one of which seemed to be sitting on the ground. "is Lewis and Morgenstern."

"Why does he only have 6 people? Wouldn't he be armed to the teeth?" Isabelle asked, leaning over Ashburn's shoulder to examine the screen. Alec shook his head. 

"Too many people would draw attention. Remember, he wasn't trying to use Simon as bait. If he was, he would have served his location up on a silver platter."

"Do you think he knows we'd find out? From Camille? Maybe it's a set up. An elaborate way to bait us."

Across the ops center, the doors opened and Jace strode in, beelining toward them. Alec kept his eyes on the screen, brow furrowed.

"No. I don't think he even believes we're coming."

Jace stopped next to his brother, eyes instantly going to the live thermal imaging on the monitor. He swallowed back anger as one of the figures clearly kicked the one sitting on the floor. 

"Catch me up." He demanded. Isabelle frowned.

"Brooklyn, in an old auto body shop.  6 people besides who we assume to be Simon and Jonathan. We found out only a few minutes ago."

"Then why the hell aren't we gearing up already?" Jace snapped, turning to Alec.

"Because we need to be smart about this, Jace. We have to pull the recon team and make a damn plan."

"Alec, Jonathan is torturing him! It's been almost 17 hours! He could be bleeding out right now and the longer we stand here, the more likely it is that we'll be rescuing a dead body!"

Alec's eyes snapped to his, hard and unforgiving. 

"And if we show up, guns blazing and storming the place like some sort of shitty action movie, Jonathan could put a bullet in Simon's head before we even make it through the front door! Is that what you want?" Alec scowled, gesturing toward the screen as the standing figure yet again struck who they assumed to be Simon. "His life depends on us being smart, Jace. Not emotional. Smart . You know that." 

Jace clenched his jaw, crossing his arms and looking away from his brother back toward the screen. 

"Then let's make a fucking plan already." 

Isabelle watched her brothers with a worried expression but said nothing on the matter, instead going back to what her and Alec had been talking about before. 

"Alec, why don't you believe Jonathan thinks we're coming?"

"Something De Quincy said. He said that Valentine referred to Simon as 'a nobody caught up in the wrong business'. The Morgensterns are psychopaths. Jonathan probably can't fathom us caring about Simon, especially if he really thinks that he's just my intern." 

"So we use that to our advantage. We pull the recon team and we go in quiet. Izzy, you, me, Aline, Helen, and Mag-" 

"Magnus isn't coming." Alec cut Jace off, his tone ringing with finality. His siblings shared a look.

"Alec, you know he isn't going to stay behind." Isabelle straightened up from where she'd been staring at the computer screen and turned fully to face her brother. Alec shook his head.

"Izzy, Jonathan wants Magnus dead. I'm not letting him come with-"

"Might I remind you, Alexander, that the only one in charge of 'letting' me do anything, is myself?" 

Alec sighed heavily, pinching the bridge of his nose as he turned around. Magnus was standing there with an unimpressed look, one eyebrow arched. 

"I'm not even going to ask how you found out so fast. Magnus, you can't come. One of us going is bad enough. The Morgenstern's are out for our heads."

"I know that, darling. Regardless, I'm still going with you." 

"We don't have time for you two to argue about this, Alec. You're both stubborn but everyone knows Magnus' resolve is stronger. He's coming with. Deal with it." Isabelle's words were meant to be teasing but the impatience in her voice won out. Alec made an irritated noise.

"Fine. Gear up. Call Aline and Helen. Meet in the parking garage. Underhill!" Alec called, turning around to see the man look up from a conversation expectantly. 


"Send the blueprints to my phone. I'll call you to pull the recon team once we get close enough. Keep me updated on Raj and put out some eyes and ears to see if we can find anything on Valentine or my father." 





Gearing up was a quick and easy process. Isabelle, Jace, and Alec always kept extra clothes in the building for operations like this and Magnus had been prepared when he'd arrived with Alec that morning. Alec himself could really care less what he wore but his sister insisted there was no reason to ruin a good suit with blood, especially considering most of his suits were gifts from her. 

Within ten minutes, the four of them were convened by the elevator, waiting only on Aline and Helen. The women arrived in record time, striding in sync side by side.

"You must be Magnus. Alec's talked about you nonstop for 3 years but of course, I was never allowed to actually meet you. It's nice to finally be in the presence of Mr. 'Quite Magical'." Helen tossed a wink in Alec's direction as a flush rose in his cheeks. Magnus gave the woman a quick hug before arching a brow at Alec in curiosity.

"'Quite magical', hmm?" 

Alec grumbled something under his breath and Magnus filed that conversation away for later. 

"I'm Aline. Helen's wife. It's wonderful to meet you. Only wish it was under better circumstances." She said, offering an apologetic smile as the group of them crowded into the elevator. 

"Likewise, my dear."

Jace pressed the button for the parking garage as Alec pulled out his phone and began to pass it around to show them the blueprints as he spoke.

"There's three entrances. Jace and I will take the back one, closest to the room Simon is in. Magnus and Izzy, you'll take the front. I'll have Helen and Aline cover the side door. According to the recon team, Jonathan only has six men with him. Assume they're highly trained and do your best to keep this quiet. We don't need anything alerting Jonathan before we can get to him."

"Does this strike anyone as too easy? I mean, only 6 people? What's Jonathan's angle here?" Aline asked, handing Alec his phone back. He took it with a frown.

"Easy or not, we have to take the chance. He's had Simon for too long as it is. We just need to be careful. If we can take out or capture Morgenstern, good, but he isn't the priority here. We don't know what kind of shape Simon is in and we need to be prepared to move as quickly as possible. That means neutralizing every threat before we move to get him out of there."

"I take it we are taking the rover for space then?" Jace asked, just as the elevator dinged open. Alec stepped out, moving quickly along the line of cars toward the back of the garage.

"Yes. And before you ask, no, Jace. You aren't driving." 

Jace whined, drawing an amused smile from Magnus. Alec gave him a half hearted one in return as they approached a large black Land Rover. Helen and Aline threw open the back doors and climbed in, quickly followed by Izzy and a grumbling Jace. The four of them strapped into the inward facing seats and Alec shut the large doors behind them. He tossed the keys at Magnus, earning him a confused look. He shrugged.

"You're the better driver." 

Magnus grinned and jumped into behind the wheel as Alec rounded to the car and got in on the passenger side. Jace whined again.

"How come he gets to drive? Come on, man, you know how badly I want to drive this thing. It's a Defender 90!"

Alec rolled his eyes as Magnus started the car. 

"It's a specially modified utility vehicle, Jace. One of the few we have with inward facing seats that isn't a ridiculously conspicuous van. I'm not letting you ram it into a telephone pole."

"That was one time!"

Alec ignored him and pulled their destination up on his phone's gps.

The trip was done in tense silence, with Alec giving directions periodically as Magnus wove through traffic, occasionally taking detours to avoid getting stuck. They ended up on the outer edge of a quiet neighborhood, no cars in sight as they approached the old auto shop. Magnus pulled into a covert spot where the recon team had been, close enough to make an escape but far enough away to not be suspected. He shut the rover off and looked over at Alec, who was watching the building with his lips pressed in a firm line.

"Hey." Magnus said, reaching out to take Alec's hand. The man glanced over at him. Magnus could see the fear hiding behind the angry resolution in his boyfriend's eyes and he ached to be able to take it away.

As the self proclaimed protector of his whole family, Alec took the biggest emotional toll when things went wrong. Try as he might, Magnus could never completely erase the unnecessary guilt the eldest Lightwood placed upon himself in these situations. 

All he could do was stand by Alec and keep him from falling when he inevitably blew up the ground he stood on to make things right again.

Magnus squeezed his hand, doing his best to give Alec an unworried smile.

"We've got this, Alexander. Treat this like you would anything else."

Alec took a deep breath and nodded firmly before climbing out of the car. The rest of their group had already vacated the vehicle and stood behind it, hidden from the view of the building. Isabelle was tightening the laces on her boots, knelt over with her gun set down next to her, safety off and loaded. Jace was cracking his knuckles and rolling his shoulders out, trying to ease the tension that always built in his body when he anticipated a fight. It was something their parents had taught him when they noticed Jace overthought every move he made during hand to hand lessons. Alec could remember the exact words Maryse would recite to his brother every time he fell down.

Adrenaline and instincts are your friends just as much as training is, Jace. Trust in yourself and the things you've learned and you'll find that when something requires a deviation from technique, you'll automatically react accordingly. 

Alec only remembered the speech because she never gave it to him. Alec's encouragement was far shorter.

I don't raise failures, Alec. Get up and do it again.

"We have to assume they're watching at least the front entrance, so Magnus and I will split and approach from each side. It's too bad we're trying to be stealthy because I would have loved to roll a flash bang in there." Isabelle's voice pulled Alec from his thoughts and he looked up to see a grin on her face as she patted the canister tucked into her tactical belt. Helen rolled her eyes.

"And here I thought Jace was the theatrical one." 

Jace laughed and nodded toward Magnus, who was busy adjusting the neckline of his skin tight long sleeve shirt beneath his bullet proof vest. "No, that honor goes to him. "

Magnus flashed Helen a sharp smile. "Guilty."

"Jace, we need to get in position. Everyone have their earpieces in?" Alec interrupted, looking around the group as he received affirmative nods from each of them. "Good."

He turned away, Jace on his heels, and stopped after only a few steps, immediately doing a 180 and heading back to the group. Magnus gave him a confused look, about to ask what was wrong when Alec pulled him in by the waist for a rough kiss. His noise of surprise was lost against the other man's lips and after just a few seconds, Alec pulled back, a slight flush high on his cheekbones.

"Cuídate." Be safe. He murmured, voice low. Magnus gave him a slightly dazed grin.

"Igualmente, my darling Alexander." You too .

Alec's responding smile was small and crooked and he pressed a kiss to Magnus' forehead, a silent I love you reverberating between them. 

He shot a glance at the three women standing behind Magnus, a playfully stern expression on his face. He was clearly trying to lighten the mood, something Magnus was grateful for. Alec had a tendency to make everyone nervous with his intensity.

"Behave. Especially you, cousin." He arched a brow in Aline's direction. "There's a reason I don't pair you up with Isabelle if I can avoid it." 

She stuck her tongue out at Alec and he chuckled, shaking his head as he turned and half jogged to catch up to Jace. 

Isabelle met Magnus' eyes. "You come in right and I'll come in left?"

"Sounds good to me, dear."

Aline and Helen followed Magnus as they headed toward the right side of the building, keeping low and leaving a wide berth between themselves and the structure. Magnus tucked himself against the edge of it, peeking around the corner to catch sight of Isabelle doing the same on the other side. Helen and Aline continued down the small alleyway until they reached the side door and stopped, waiting patiently.

"Everyone where they're supposed to be?" Alec's voice crackled quietly in their ear pieces and Helen glanced down the alley toward the back of the building. 

"We are. We clear to turn out backs that way?"  

"Nobody will be sneaking up on you, if that's what you're asking."

Aline snorted softly at Jace's tone. She could practically picture his eyes rolling.

"Iz, you and Magnus ready?" Alec asked.

"Yeah, but I wish we could see through the windows. I thought they only boarded that stuff up in movies?" Magnus could see Isabelle's frown as each of them rounded the corners of the building and crept toward the front door, tension building under their skin.

"Just be ready to react quick. We go in on my signal." Alec responded.

Next to him, Jace caught his eyes with a concerned, wordless question as he pulled his silenced gun from the holster and readied it. Alec gave him a grim nod and turned his gaze back to the door.


Isabelle reached out and pushed open the door with an abrupt movement, ducking inside and followed immediately by Magnus. The room was large but relatively empty, save for the front desk and small furnished waiting area, so it didn't take long to spot the two men pacing around boredly. Neither realized what was happening until the door swung into the wall, the knob striking it with a muted thump only a few seconds after Isabelle had opened it, but that was more than enough time to put the guards at a disadvantage.

Just as he reached for his gun, Isabelle punched the first one in the throat, her main priority making sure he couldn't call out. As soon as his hands went up to clutch at it in pain, a soft wheezing noise escaping his mouth, she landed another one to his stomach to make him double over. With one more swift movement, she had her nails dug into his hair, slamming his head down just as she brought her knee up into his face, knocking him out cold with a sickening crack as his nose gave way. He hit the floor with a thud.

She spun as she heard a gurgling noise behind her and found Magnus wiping a bloodied knife off on his sleeve, a steady red pool growing around the head of the body that had just fallen at his feet. He shrugged and gave her a wink.

"I can't help it. I'm messy." 

She snorted and the two of them made their way forward, keeping to the wall as they approached a door labeled 'Employees Only'. A glance through a dirty window confirmed it was the entrance to the actual auto shop. 

"Helen, did your entrance clear the garage?" Isabelle murmured. 

"Yep. One guy, easy pickings. We're headed through the exit in here that leads to the back part of the building, I think."

Magnus waved Isabelle away from the garage door and toward another they'd seen down the short hallway nearby.

"Got it. We should run into each other soon. Alec, Jace, what have you got?"

Silence rang clear over their earpieces. She shot an alarmed look at Magnus, who grit his teeth but kept focused, nodding at her to follow him. They walked down the hallway, doing their best to keep their footsteps light and soft. Isabelle cleared a small cleaning closet to her left just as Aline and Helen came in from a door farther down on the right. 

The entrance shocked the four of them, guns quickly pulled before recognition had them sighing in relief.

"Have either of you seen Alec or Jace?" Aline asked in a hushed tone. Magnus and Isabelle shook their heads. 

"Us neither. That door leads straight from the garage into here. We have three guards unaccounted for." 

"This place isn't that big, we'll find them in no time. In fact, this should lead to the last two rooms." Isabelle headed the front of their small group and stopped with her hand on the doorknob, glancing over her shoulder. She got three nods in response and yanked it open, the others filing in behind her with guns drawn. 

Three bodies littered the floor of the small storage room, all clearly dead. One had a bullet wound to the back of his head, his face a mangled mess where it had exited. Another had a stab wound straight through the throat and the last one seemed to have managed to pull his gun, the weapon lying on the ground nearby. It hadn't done him much good judging by the unnatural angle his neck was at.

Aline gave a low whistle. "Not bad. Nice to see being behind a desk hasn't softened my cousin as much as I thought it might." 

"They must be in that back office. Do you see it?" Isabelle jerked her head in the direction of a red, metal door off to the left of the room. It sat opposite the door Alec and Jace came through, which was cracked open, revealing a view of the empty lot behind the building. Magnus' brow furrowed and he opened his mouth to comment but the three women were already making their way toward the other side of the room. He bit his lip in uncertainty as he watched them go, making a split decision to head toward the exit instead. 

He slowly opened the door and stepped around the corner quickly, gun drawn and ready. His brain registered nothing of interest in front of him and he turned around to cover the other direction, almost dropping his weapon at what he saw.

"Alec!" Before he knew what he was doing, he sprinted toward the hunched over figure on the ground, dropping to his knees with a painful thump beside it.

"I'm okay. P-promise. Fuck, I think he might of cracked a rib. That fucking bastard…" Alec coughed, hissing as the act sent a sharp pain through his abdomen. Magnus looked him over, checking for any injury that required immediate attention. He let out a sigh of relief when he saw no shiny spots of blood soaking Alec's dark clothes, nor any bullets lodged in his vest. 

"What happened? Come on, we have to get out of the open." Magnus stood and helped haul Alec to his feet. The man blew out a labored breath, his hand still holding his ribs. Magnus reached out a hand to steady him but he waved it away.

"Really, I'm okay. Just knocked the wind out of me." He headed toward the building and leaned back against the wall. His earpiece was hanging loosely from the cord on his neck, and Magnus frowned at the sight of split skin across his cheekbone. 

"What happened?" He asked again, more demanding. Alec grimaced.

"Jonathan. He got the jump on me, I don't fucking know how but he did. Jace went into the office and a second later I was being attacked from behind before I could follow. Thank fuck that asshole didn't have a gun. If he had…" Alec trailed off with a shake of his head. "Doesn't matter. We fought, he ran, I chased, and he got in a good enough punch to knock me down. Hopped in a car and took off."

"Did he say anything?"

Alec laughed bitterly, wincing when it aggravated his ribcage.

"Yeah. He said to tell you not to bring so many friends next time. He prefers not to have to 'share his affections'." A look of disgust crossed his face. "Fucking coward. If he wants us dead so bad, why'd he run?"

"Guys? Can you hear me? We need to get out of here, now." Jace's urgent voice poured into Magnus' earpiece. He responded without question or hesitation.

"I'll pull the car around back." 

"What's going on?" Alec demanded, pulling himself away from the wall and shoving his earpiece back in. Magnus shook his head, already walking backwards. 

"It must be Simon. I have to get the car. Stay here!" With that, he turned and ran toward the front of the building. Alec shouted after him.

"Magnus, wait-" 

He was cut off as the exit door burst open near him, Helen and Aline stepping through it, followed by Jace and Isabelle. Jace had a limp, dirty and bloodied figure in his arms, and Isabelle was doing her best to support its head.

Simon. Alec thought, blood running cold. Jace saw his expression and shook his head.

"He's alive. Barely. We have to get him to the hospital and we have to do it now." He said, his voice trembling, whether with anger or fear, Alec wasn't sure. 

The rover came tearing out of the alleyway, spinning and jerking to a stop in front of them. Helen jumped into action and threw the back doors open, hopping inside and clearing as much space on one side of the bench seats as she could.

"Jace, keep holding him. You've already picked him up, it's better if we don't lay him down again, we don't want to jostle him more than necessary. Izzy, keep supporting his head." Aline slammed the doors shut behind them as her wife finished speaking. 

"Magnus, go . The Brooklyn Hospital Center." Alec demanded, fishing his phone out of the glove box. Magnus stepped on the gas, trying to be quick without risking jarring Simon, hoping Jace could steady him well enough.

"Alec, how are y-" Maryse' voice answered the phone casually and Alec cut her off.

"¡Mamá, necesito ayuda!" Mom, I need help! Alec rambled off the details of the situation in rapid Spanish as Magnus weaved through side streets, silently praying they didn't pass a cop on the way. The hospital was, thankfully, only 20 minutes from their location, if they were lucky to avoid all traffic.

"I had Underhill jam some signals off the main roads so we won't hit any packed lines of cars on our route. We should be as clear as we can get the rest of the way there." Helen said, her voice surprisingly steady. 

"Remind me to buy the man a drink." Magnus muttered, taking a sharp right turn. Alec hung up the phone and tossed it onto the dash, running a hand through his hair. He glanced over his shoulder. 

"Jace?" He asked, the unspoken question in his tone of voice hanging in the air.

"He's still breathing, Alec, don't freak out." Jace paused, unable to tear his eyes away from the barely visible rise and fall of Simon's chest. The figure in his arms was barely recognizable, face swollen, glasses missing, and caked in dried blood and sweat. Jace swallowed down bile. "What are we going to tell the hospital when they asked what happened?" 

"Really bad mugging victim. I'm hoping they won't look too far into it. Mom says she knows the ER doctor and he trusts her. Plus, Catarina works there."

"So he'll be in good hands. He'll be okay." Isabelle said. It sounded like she was trying to convince herself as she watched Simon, cradling his head carefully in her hands.

"Yeah. Yeah, he will." Alec mumbled, flexing his hands over and over in his lap, unsure of what to do with them. 

"We have to call Raphael. Before the hospital does. I don't want him hearing this from someone other than us." Magnus cut in, looking over at his boyfriend. Alec nodded jerkily and yanked his phone off the dash. He was dialing just as the Land Rover screeched into the emergency room parking lot, mere feet from the entrance. Helen was shoving open the back door before Magnus had even fully stopped the car, helping Jace climb out as soon as it was stable enough to do so. Magnus yanked the parking brake but stayed in his seat, suddenly unsure of what to do.

Alec was once again speaking in Spanish over the phone, trying his best to sound calm as he stumbled over his words. Magnus could barely hear Raphael's responses through the receiver, but he sounded increasingly alarmed even as Alec struggled to soothe him.

"Te lo diré en cuanto sepa. Te prometo." I'll tell you as soon as I know. I promise.

Magnus looked out the window as a team of nurses rolled out the hospital door toward the car with a gurney, ushering Jace to lay Simon on top of it. Isabelle, Helen, and Aline all hung back, watching in silence. Isabelle held herself close, leaning into her cousin while Aline wrapped an arm around her waist. Helen was gripping her wife's hand tightly, all of them radiating anxiety. 

Jace finished placing Simon on the white padded stretcher and a short dark haired nurse met his terrified gaze.

"Maryse filled me in. We'll do everything we can for him, you have my word." 

Jace barely managed a nod as they quickly rolled Simon back into the building, shouting medical jargon that he didn't fully understand back and forth at one another. Nobody moved to follow them, knowing that six people in tactical gear would only draw unwanted attention. They would be lucky enough if the nurses hadn't noticed and each of them knew there wasn't anything more they could do for Simon at this point.

Off to the side, Alec hung up the phone and climbed out of the car, not bothering to shut the door behind him. Magnus followed, rounding the front of it to stand by his side. The man was staring hard at the door Simon had disappeared through, his rigid body language screaming anger and fear. Magnus reached out to take his hand.


Alec turned to look at him and Magnus inhaled sharply at the sight of his face, drained of blood and desperate looking, a stark difference from the firm look he'd been wearing moments ago while on the phone. Tears welled up in Alec's eyes and spilled over as he spoke.

"Magnus, is this my fault? I dragged him into this life, I swore I'd protect him, Magnus...Is he going to die because of me ?" His voice was a broken and weak whisper and Magnus was shaking his head before he'd even finished, reaching out to cup Alec's face and pull him closer.

"God, no, Alexander. Jonathan did this to him. Not you. Never you." 

Alec's chest heaved but he nodded silently, relaxing slightly into Magnus' arms. The rest of their group headed toward them, all looking equally red eyed and exhausted.

"Alec . " Isabelle cried, stepping toward him. He let go of Magnus just in time to catch her in a hug, her arms wrapping around his waist as she buried her face in his chest. He winced as the movement sent pain lancing through his injured ribs but cradled her close regardless, pressing a kiss to the crown of her head. 

Jace hovered nearby, shooting looks back toward the door every few seconds. Alec caught sight of him and held out an arm in his direction.

Without further prompting, Jace stepped into his siblings embrace, wrapping an arm around both of them and exhaling a shaky breath. Aline leaned into Alec's side while Helen rested a hand on his shoulder in comfort.

Magnus watched quietly before he joined them, laying his head against Alec's bicep and slipping an arm around his waist.

They all stood there in the hospital parking lot, sore and beaten down in more ways than one, and Alec, true to his nature, was the only one to speak. 

"He'll be okay. Everything will be okay."

It went unsaid that none of them, including himself, believed him.






Chapter Text

Remove the magazine. Rack the slide. Lock the slide. Clear the gun.

Alec had done it a million times before. 

He’d been trained on a Glock, the .40 caliber handgun becoming an integral part of his life at age 10 when his father had first placed it in his too young hands. He’d spend hours at the shooting range until he could hit his mark every time without fail, his parents keeping a watchful eye from the sidelines and ready to remind him that every mistake he made cost a life. Years later and he found himself in their position, correcting Isabelle’s stance and trying to get Jace to stop flinching whenever he pulled the trigger. 

Alec had never been as cruel as Robert or as cold as Maryse in his teachings and he liked to think his siblings came out better for it. Isabelle had learned every possible way to knock someone unconscious in a fight, often in under a minute. Jace knew just what to hit to cause the most pain and still leave the person alive to feel it.

Regardless of how many times they’d pulled the trigger or how much they might deny it, Jace and Isabelle were affected whenever they took a life.

Alec was not.

Shaking the thoughts away with a frown, he double checked that the pistol was clear before he dry fired it safely toward the direction of the open balcony doors. He felt and heard the firing pin click and moved onto the next step, field stripping the Glock down to it's four main pieces and laying them out on the coffee table in front of him. The silver inlay gleamed in the low light coming from the loft’s chandelier and Alec couldn’t help but trace the words engraved on the slide with his finger.

The gun Magnus’ had gifted him was not the most expensive one he owned, nor was it the most powerful, but Alec would be lying if he said it wasn’t his favorite. The filigree was beautiful, clearly done by hand rather than machine, and just knowing that Magnus had put in so much effort and thought for him made it far more valuable than anything he could ever buy for himself. He always saved it for last when he sat down to clean all of his weapons so he could take his time with it, making sure to detail clean and polish the engraved designs as well as the inner workings of the gun itself. He might not use it in the field but regular maintenance was necessary regardless.

Alec threaded a solvent soaked patch onto the cleaning rod from his material kit and slowly began to work the patch back and forth through the barrel, his hands going through the motions like second nature. The fumes of the cleaner bit his senses sharply as he inhaled, familiar and oddly comforting.

Normally, cleaning his weapons helped Alec wind down, the methodical steps giving him a chance to quiet his thoughts and remove himself from everything for a little while. It was cathartic for him, similar to when he worked out or cooked, but as he picked up the brass brush and moved onto scrubbing the bore clean, he found that sense of relief completely absent. 

Alec grit his teeth in frustration as he moved onto the next step, checking with a small flashlight that the bore was completely clean before turning his attention to the barrel hood. 

He'd been at this for over an hour and he still couldn't shake the unease crawling under his skin, an unexplainable feeling of apprehension that had remained after the operation was over that nobody else seemed to share. 

It was 2 AM, he was four guns in, and Alec knew that if he tried to crawl back in bed he would only succeed in staring at the ceiling until morning. His shoulders ached, tense from stress and being hunched over the table, and if he paused in his scrubbing, he could see the slight tremor of his hands that hadn't gone away since he watched Simon get wheeled into the hospital three nights ago. 

As Simon's support person, Alec had gotten the full report of his extensive injuries as soon as he'd gotten out of emergency surgery, 6 hours after his admittance.

Seven broken ribs, a broken wrist, and a broken arm that would likely all need later surgeries to place in pins and plates. Multiple bruises, lacerations, and severe internal bleeding. A punctured lung. And to top it all off, a grade 2 concussion and head trauma that had caused a brain hemorrhage. Had he not gotten to the hospital when he did, there was no guarantee he would have survived. 

Even still, Simon had almost died on the operating table.

The brush in Alec's hand suddenly slipped and scraped across his skin, causing him to curse and drop the barrel onto the floor as blood beaded up from the scratches. With an aggravated growl, he snatched the piece up and tossed it onto the table with the brush before standing and striding toward the balcony. 

Fuck it. He needed a damn cigarette.

Shutting the glass doors securely behind him, Alec made his way over to the small outdoor couch and lifted one cushion, fishing the pack he had hidden there out from beneath it before dropping it back into place. It was risky to keep them there, even riskier to be smoking when Magnus was home and the last thing Alec wanted to deal with right now was the fight that would ensue if he was caught. But he really needed the nicotine.

With a guilty sigh, Alec walked to the edge of the balcony and leaned over it, resting his elbows on the edge as he flipped open the top of the box. He pulled his lighter and a cigarette out, placing it between his lips before shutting the pack and tucking it into the pocket of his pajama pants. 

Casting one more paranoid glance over his shoulder, Alec lit the cigarette, watching the tip glow red and pocketing his lighter as he took the first drag.

The relief he'd been desperately chasing all night washed over him and Alec felt like he could cry. It was times like this, when the nicotine hit him and brought almost palpable comfort with it, that he wondered why the hell he kept trying to quit.

Alec knew his family didn't approve of his habit, knew Magnus hated it, but try as he might, he'd never managed to kick it completely. Truth be told, he didn’t really want to. It was a safety net, a last resort that was always there to give him a fighting chance of coping with the stress. 

He exhaled a plume of smoke, watching it curl through the air against the backdrop of Brooklyn. Before Alec knew it, one cigarette turned to five and he zoned out completely, tapping away the ashes with nimble fingers and lighting each new one without conscious thought. 

It was the schick of the door opening behind him that cut through his trance and Alec immediately hung his head, steeling himself for what was going to come next. He didn't even bother to try and hide the remainder of the cigarette dangling between his fingers as he listened to Magnus' heavy sigh. No words followed and tension began to try and creep back into Alec's body.

The silent treatment. Great.

Alec took another puff, finishing the cigarette off and rubbing out the ember on the stone edge of the balcony. He set the butt aside with the rest of them, having intended on hiding them in the trash can, and turned around to face his boyfriend.

Magnus was watching him with disappointed eyes, barefoot and hugging a red silk robe tightly around himself to fight off the chill of the early morning air. It was still dark out, and the dim lights on the balcony cast shadows across his face, highlighting his stony expression. He opened his mouth to speak and Alec held up a hand, sighing.

"I really don't need another lecture."

"You know how I feel about this." Magnus said, his voice tight.

"Yes, I do. And I'm sorry. But sometimes it's the only thing that helps. I've told you that."

"And I still don't believe it." Magnus argued, shaking his head. "There are plenty of other ways to relieve stress outside of those things.

"Reading a book or listening to music doesn't exactly compare to nicotine, Magnus." 

His boyfriend's eyes narrowed. "Don't get smart with me when I'm only trying to help."

Alec ran a hand through his hair with a growing sense of frustration. They'd had this discussion more times than he could count and he knew this would go over the same as the rest of them, if not worse. 

"You aren't helping though. I told you that I didn't want a lecture and yet here you are," Alec gestured toward him, lips pressed in a thin line. "giving me exactly that. I already know how much you hate it, okay? So can we let it go?"

Magnus grit his teeth. He hated the nonchalance that Alec always seemed to have when it came to talking about this subject. 

"No, we can't let it go. I've done that before and look where it gets me. Finding you smoking half a pack at three in the morning. I don't understand why you don't wake me up and talk to me instead of doing this. They're awful for you."

Alec groaned internally and rolled his eyes as he began to rattle off the things he'd heard a million times already from everyone in his life. "I know how bad they are and how they damage my insides and how they're going to kill me and-" Magnus quickly cut him off, looking more furious by the second.

"Do you think this is a joke? That it's no big deal? Alec, this is your health we are talking about."

Alec scoffed at that. "Right, because my line of work is so good for me." He hadn't meant to escalate this so fast with bitter remarks but his emotions had been less than cooperative that night and Magnus' scolding was doing nothing but grating against his already raw nerves.  

Magnus' hands tightened in the fabric of his robe. "This is different and you know it. A bullet proof vest and years of training won't protect you from cancer. This addiction will eat you from the inside out, destroy your body and wreck your organs-"

"Oh, you mean like your liver? A few cigarettes every once in a while is nothing compared to a bottle of whiskey every other night, Magnus. Don't pretend you're better than me. Hypocrites don’t get to patronize people. That’s not how it works.” Alec snapped, fists clenching at his sides. Magnus inhaled sharply and there was no mistaking the hurt that flashed across his face just before he tore his eyes away from Alec’s. 

Alec swallowed the lump that rose in his throat as soon as the words left his mouth. That was a low blow and the expression on his boyfriend’s face told him as much. Alec’s anger began to fizzle out and his fingers itched to reach for another cigarette as the silence weighed heavy around them.

"I'm going to do us both a favor and ignore what you just said because I know it's just you lashing out again." Magnus murmured, voice betraying no emotion. Alec deflated completely at that, dropping his gaze to the long gap of stone between them with warm shame flaring in his cheeks.

"I'm sorry. That wasn't...I didn't mean that." 

The chilled concrete bit through his socks, leaving him with lingering concern as he glanced at Magnus' bare, painted toes. It couldn't be more than 45 degrees outside and Alec knew that Magnus ran cold as it was. He was surprised he wasn't shivering already. 

"I'm sorry too."

Alec's head jerked up to meet Magnus' eyes as his fretting was interrupted by the words.


Magnus sighed softly, the barest hint of his breath visible in the air as he took a few hesitant steps in Alec’s direction. His features had softened, irritation nowhere to be seen. 

“I said, I’m sorry too. I know how stressed you are and I shouldn’t have added to it by starting a pointless argument. I just...God, Alexander, I worry. ” His voice cracked painfully on the last word and, not for the first time, Alec wished he could go back and smack his twenty year old self for the poor decision he made when he put that first cigarette to his lips.

Alec placed his hands in the pockets of his pajama pants, absentmindedly thumbing over his lighter as he tried to figure out how to respond. He couldn’t make any promises and there wasn’t much he could say to quell Magnus’ fears either. The only absolute he knew was that this wouldn’t be the last time he smoked. 

But Magnus didn’t want to hear that.

“Yeah. I know.” He chewed his lip and searched for more words, anything to avoid more silence filling the still too-large space between them. “I know it won’t really make you feel better but this is actually the first time in over three months. Simon usually keeps a pretty close eye on me but with everything that’s been happening, it was easy to buy a pack without him noticing.”

“Simon? How would he even know if you bought them in the first place?” Magnus asked, clearly confused. 

Alec huffed out a laugh, a weak smile tugging at his lips. “Simon, he, uh, he took it upon himself pretty early on as my assistant to start rationing my cigarettes. It only took him a month or two to see how bad my habit was and once he did, he decided that from there on out, he would buy my packs for me. And it's hard to slip purchases past your accountant.”

Magnus’ eyebrows shot up, lips quirking in a disbelieving smile. “And you’re telling me that you just went along with that? You? Alec ‘Terrible Temper’ Lightwood?”

With an amused snort, Alec wandered over to the outdoor couch and sat down on it, leaning back to look up at the faintly twinkling stars before responding. 

“First off, those nicknames you all keep giving me are not clever. Secondly, no. I didn’t just go along with it. In fact, I think I tried to fire him at least once a week for the first five months. He’d only been my assistant for a short period of time when he started the whole thing but it was long enough for him to know that I didn’t exactly like being told what I could and couldn’t do.” 

Alec paused, eyes tracing over a constellation.

Libra. The scales of justice. How fitting. Thoughts of that phone call he'd received from the hospital threatened to surface again and he pushed them away, trying to keep the atmosphere light as he spoke again.

"But Simon can be surprisingly stubborn when he wants to be. No amount of threats, broken doors, punched walls, or bribery could get him to give up where he hid them. But he seemed to pick up pretty quickly that, with the things I do everyday, sometimes patches and gum just don’t cut it. I get back to my office and find a few cigarettes hidden in the top drawer of my desk next to my tablet. Honestly, Simon was the only reason I wasn’t going through a pack a day while you were gone. In fact, he got me down to one a month within the first year. You remember all those times I tried to quit cold turkey back when we first got together?”

Magnus nodded and made his way over to settle next to Alec on the couch, leaning his head into his shoulder and looking up at the sky with him. Alec continued. 

“I had a few good streaks here and there. But over the last year, even with you missing, Simon managed to get me going six to eight months without any sort of nicotine. I definitely scared him a time or two, though. You’d know, you’ve seen me through withdrawal before.”

“Ah, yes. Your temper tantrums." Magnus mused, tone playful. Alec rolled his eyes and felt Magnus grin.

"I don't think that's exactly what I'd call my explosive anger issues." 

"I'd say you more just get… overwhelmed with negative energy. You bottle it up and when you run out of room, you lash out. I think you’ve gotten a lot better since I first met you. But yes, the lack of nicotine did tend to make your moods more volatile. I’m sure Simon never thought you would hurt him though, darling. You may be a criminal but when it comes down to it, I don’t think any of us are actually afraid of you.” 

Alec smirked at that and wound his arm around Magnus. “Let me guess, you all call me Alec ‘Super Soft’ Lightwood or something?”

Magnus laugh was soft and bright, sparking warmth in Alec’s chest.

"Actually, we call you Alec 'Teddy Bear' Lightwood. You can thank Isabelle for that one."

"Really? She was always the one telling people I wasn't exactly 'warm and fuzzy'." Alec said, tilting his gaze back up toward the stars. Magnus curled closer to him, tucking his legs up underneath himself and sighing happily. The cigarette smoke clung to Alec's shirt faintly, acrid amongst the familiar sandalwood and pungent gun cleaning solvent, but Magnus didn't lean away, instead nuzzling his face closer with a quiet hum.

"I beg to differ." He mumbled before slipping his hand up the front of Alec's shirt, causing the man to jolt in his seat.

"Holy sh- Magnus, give a guy some warning! You're freezing!"

Magnus giggled again. "Exactly. And you're warm," He paused, running his fingers over Alec's chest hair. "and fuzzy."

"And you,” Alec pressed a kiss to the top of Magnus’ head. “are barefoot and barely clothed. You should get back to bed before you end up getting sick.”

"Unless you’re coming with me, I’ll be staying right here, frozen fingers be damned."

"Magnus…" Alec began to protest, dreading the idea of laying awake in a dark room for the next few hours.

"You need to take care of yourself, Alexander. And if you can't, you need to let others do it. Like, your boyfriend, for example." Magnus yawned suddenly as he finished speaking and sat up, extracting himself from Alec's embrace. His eyelids were drooping, lashes fluttering as he fought to keep them open, but it didn't stop him from fixing Alec with a puppy eyed look. "Please?"

Alec sat up with a resigned sigh, not bothering to try and argue with that expression, and let Magnus drag him off the balcony couch and back inside toward the warm darkness of their bedroom. He not so carefully shoved Alec onto his back on the mattress and began to impatiently tug off his pajama pants.

“Magnus, I am perfectly capable of-”

“Shush!” Magnus hushed him, tossing Alec’s pants into a pile on the floor. He did the same with his shirt once he managed to wrangle it off of Alec’s body and then proceeded to slip out of his robe and climb into the bed. Alec waited for Magnus to get comfortable, fully expecting him to snuggle into his chest like he typically did as he shoved back the covers and climbed underneath them. 

“No, flip over. Onto your stomach.” Magnus mumbled, nudging Alec’s shoulder. Alec shot him a confused look.


“Because I’m too tired to give you a real massage so this is the next best thing. Flip over.” Magnus urged, nudging him again. Alec did as he said this time, resting on his stomach and turning his head to look at Magnus as the man curled up close to him on his side and reached out to rest a palm flat on his back. Before Alec could yet again ask what exactly he was doing, he felt the light drag of his boyfriend’s nails, scratching gently up and down the length of his spine. It was just light enough not to be painful but firm enough not to make him squirm, the way Maryse had done when Alec was merely five years old and unable to sleep. He was surprised Magnus remembered, as he had only ever mentioned it once or twice over the years.

As Alec focused on letting the repetitive, soothing feeling drown out his thoughts, Magnus began to knead the heel of his palm into the tense muscles of his shoulders. The pressure of his hand was nowhere near as strong as his massages usually tended to be but Alec welcomed it, letting the warm glide of Magnus’ smooth skin lull him further toward unconsciousness. 

As the minutes slowly drifted by, Magnus’ movements started to lose their consistency, the tender press of his hand into Alec’s back weakening as he drifted back to sleep, breathing evening out to a steady rhythm. On the last pass up Alec’s spine, Magnus slipped his fingers into the hair at the nape of his neck and cuddled closer, his face mere inches from Alec’s. 

“M’love you.” Alec slurred, his words barely audible from where his face was smushed into his pillow. Magnus answered with a pleased hum and managed a sleepy kiss to the tip of Alec’s nose before he shifted and settled comfortably into the mattress. The last thing Magnus heard right before he fell asleep was the familiar sound of Alec’s soft snoring.




“Hello, is this Mr. Lightwood?”

The hesitant voice greeted Alec when he picked his cell phone up off the kitchen counter the next morning, tucking it neatly between his ear and shoulder as he flipped a pancake. Magnus was nursing a cup of coffee at the kitchen island and looked up when Alec’s ringtone blared, interrupting the peaceful scroll he was having through his Instagram feed.

“This is. What can I help you with?” Alec responded, frowning as he checked the clock on the stove. 

Eight o’clock. He was already behind schedule.

Mondays at work were always the worst, and Alec’s job was no different. Assuming nothing else unexpected came up, and something always did, he wouldn’t be off his feet until 12 in the morning at the earliest. As of right now, he had debrief at 10 AM to discuss the next move on the Morgensterns, which would likely run for at least an hour and a half. After that, Alec was going to head over to the hospital to check up on Simon’s condition, now that he was out of surgery for the time being and visitors were being allowed. The trip would also give him a chance to ensure the hospital had all the necessary documentation to bill all charges to his account as well as provide them with the legal paperwork they needed. Loathe as Alec was to consider the possibility of needing it, he had printed off Simon’s living will as well as his health care directive the moment the man had gone missing. The second document was incredibly important, as it made sure that, if Alec were not available, Raphael was to be Simon’s primary health care agent until he was conscious and able to make his own decisions. 

Alec was only Simon’s first choice because the health care directive had been written under the assumption that Raphael would never find out about Simon’s job.

The point was moot now, he supposed. 

“Hi, Mr. Lightwood. My name is Dr. Lara and I’m calling because we have a bit of a problem regarding Mr. Lewis’ rightful support person.”

Alec’s eyes narrowed at the words. He set the spatula down to grab his phone more securely and shut the stovetop off with a click.

“A problem?” He asked, tone clipped. Whatever it was likely wasn’t the doctor’s fault but Alec really didn’t need any more issues to deal with today.

“Uh, yes. Mr. Lewis’ mother has shown up. She states that she is his primary health care agent and that she has no idea who you are. Normally, I wouldn’t need you to provide proof that you are in charge of decisions for Mr. Lewis while he is unconscious, but with a conflict such as this, I do need some official documentation. Right now, due to her having proof that she is his biological mother, I unfortunately have to elect her unless you have paperwork from Mr. Lewis’ himself that states otherwise.”

Alec took a deep breath and tried to let it out slowly, already feeling a headache coming on.

Of course the hospital had found and identified Simon’s next of kin. It completely slipped his mind that Elaine Lewis might be a problem, considering her and Simon were estranged, but even with his connections, Alec wouldn’t have been able to remove the woman completely from his records.

“I see. Well, I can be there as early as 9 o' clock. I had already intended on bringing in his official living will and health care directive, both of which will firmly state that I am Simon’s primary health care agent and a Mr. Raphael Santiago is to be his alternate.”

There was a long, uncomfortable pause on the other end of the line. Alec exhaled a frustrated breath and turned around, picking the cooling pan off the stove to flip the last pancake onto the stack on the counter.

“Is there a problem, Dr. Lara?” 

“Ms. Lewis has repeatedly told us that Mr. Santiago is not to be allowed into Mr. Lewis’ room. In fact, we just had to deny him visitation again roughly a half hour ago. He has been here all morning.”

Alec slammed the pan back on the stove. “I’ll be there in a 25 minutes.”

With that, he hung up the phone and tossed it onto the counter, not caring that ending the call like that was rude. Magnus stood from his seat and rounded the island to approach Alec, a concerned look on his face.

“That certainly didn’t sound good.”

“Simon’s mother has taken it upon herself to tell the hospital that she is Simon’s elected support person, despite having not had a relationship with him in over two years. It’s all bullshit and I have the paperwork to prove it.”

“I see. So then, what is the problem?” Magnus asked, pushing a stray strand of Alec’s hair from his forehead and running a hand soothingly up and down the front of his chest. Alec grit his teeth.

“She barred Raphael’s visitation rights.”

Magnus stilled, a shadow of irritation falling over his face. “So Raphael still hasn’t seen Simon?”

Alec shook his head. “No. And I don’t understand why he didn’t call me. He knows I have the paperwork. I could have had this cleared up hours ago. Now I have to rush there and hope this mess gets taken care of before 10, because then I have a debrief to deal with whatever Raj and my father have stirred up with Valentine, and after that I have to-”

“Alright, alright. Slow down, darling, I'm going to stop you right there.” Magnus stepped away and grabbed an empty plate from the cupboard before dishing up a small stack of pancakes and setting them on the kitchen island. He grabbed the syrup from the fridge and placed it next to the plate before patting the bar stool. “Sit and eat.”

Alec shook his head, shooting the man an incredulous, wide eyed expression. “Seriously, Magnus? I'm telling you, I don’t have time. I have a mountain of paperwork I need to finish by 5, an anonymous tip to schedule to get a drug cartel safehouse raided, and I have to figure out how to fix the books at the Hunter’s Moon before this auditing nightmare gets more out of hand. After that, Clary’s paintings need to be delivered before the auction on Wednesday so we can remove the originals, which then involves planning on how to get them into some of the smaller galleries around here so they don’t end up in all those museum vaults, and on top of all of that ,” Alec paused to take a breath, moving to step away from the counter and leave the kitchen, clearly overwhelmed. “I have to work on tracking down Jonathan. Again . And I'm not even dressed!” 

He got within a few feet of the doorway before Magnus stepped in front of him, firmly planting a hand in the middle of his chest and fixing him with a stern look.

“Alexander, you are not leaving this loft until you eat.”

Magnus , Raphael is currently sitting in the waiting room, probably worried sick because he has no idea what is going on with Simon.” Alec grit the words out, trying to side step around Magnus as he did so. Magnus followed, stepping in front of Alec and watching his jaw twitch when his path was, yet again, blocked.

Magnus grabbed one of his hands, easing open the clenched fist with patient fingers, and reached out with the other to cup Alec's face. 

“I understand, darling. And I will call him and let him know that you will be on your way to take care of that as soon as possible. But you are running on four hours of sleep and didn’t eat dinner last night. What kind of boyfriend would I be if I let you go do all of that work on a stomach full of black coffee? Hmm? A bad one, I'd say."

Alec frowned deeply at that. 

"Magnus, you aren't a bad boyfriend, I just need to go- " He was quickly cut off by Magnus pulling his head down for a kiss, protests silenced as soon as their lips met. Alec reacted instinctively, his hands coming up to curl around his hips and pull him closer as the kiss continued, with Magnus taking control and keeping it languid and unhurried. It only lasted for a minute or so, but it was long enough to force Alec to slow down, and when Magnus pulled away, he exhaled and dropped his forehead against his. Magnus watched him with a soft smile as a comfortable moment of silence fell over them, only interrupted by the whispered sound of their breathing.

Alec's thumbs absentmindedly stroked small circles on Magnus' hips just beneath his shirt, his eyes closed as he centered himself with his senses, one by one.

The feeling of Magnus pressed against him, his body warm, pliant, and drowsy, as he always was before he had at least two cups of coffee.

The sound of the stove's overhead fan, whirring low in the background and blending with the muffled noise of Brooklyn coming through the window.

The sweet, cloying taste of Magnus' over-sugared coffee on Alec's tongue, and the lingering tang of the lemon lip scrub he used in his morning regime three times a week.

The ever present scent of sandalwood.

Alec finally opened his eyes as he inhaled, meeting the adoring gaze that had been laid on him with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.

All the crimes he committed, all the mistakes he'd made, all the pain he had unapologetically caused and somehow , the universe still determined that Alec was worthy of being with the man standing in front of him. Of being able to love him wholeheartedly.

And be loved back just the same.

"Thank you." Alec murmured, voice low, almost afraid to break the still air of the room.

“You take care of me. I take care of you. That’s how this works, in case you’ve forgotten while I’ve been away.” Magnus teased him, thumb brushing over his cheekbone.

Alec shook his head, a small smile curling at his lips as he turned to press a kiss to Magnus' palm before responding. “I haven’t. In fact, I don’t even know how I survived without you.”

Magnus chuckled, breaking the spell as he pulled out of Alec’s embrace and shooed him toward his food.

“With a lot of help, I hear. And speaking of that help, I’ll call Jace and dear Isabelle about working on that appallingly complicated list of tasks you have, considering you're too stubborn and proud to do it yourself. Your siblings and your people are perfectly capable, darling. Often, what they need is your guidance. Not for you to do everything on your own. You need to take time for yourself, even with everything going on.” 

Alec opened his mouth to argue and then pursed his lips, not wanting to admit out loud that his boyfriend was right. Alec did tend to get too wrapped up in things that his people could handle well enough on their own. Hell, Clary was perfectly able to organize the switch of her counterfeit paintings at the auction, and likely knew better than Alec what galleries the originals could go to. Jace was great at working around the cops and Underhill’s husband was one of the best accountants that Alec had at his disposal besides Simon, and likely knew how to fix the books at the Hunter’s Moon in his sleep. That left only the debrief on Raj, which Underhill no doubt already had information on, and the newest attempt at trying to get their hands on Jonathan Morgenstern.

Suddenly, his list seemed a lot smaller.

Alec caught sight of the grin on Magnus’ face that he was desperately trying to hold back and breathed out a heavy sigh.

“You’re right.” He mumbled. Magnus cocked his head in mock confusion.

“I’m sorry, what was that?”

Alec groaned and pulled Magnus to his chest again, wrapping his arms tightly around him and burying his face in his hair. “I said you’re right .” Alec's voice came out muffled amidst the messy strands of Magnus' bedhead and Magnus hummed thoughtfully.

"I'm afraid I still can't quite hear you."

Alec pulled back, looking disgruntled and playfully annoyed, which drew a delighted laugh from his boyfriend.

“Alright, alright. It’s just not often you admit defeat, darling, so I want to savor it as much as possible."

"You're lucky you're cute."

Magnus arched a brow. "Just 'cute'?" 

Alec hummed distractedly, moving to slide his hands up Magnus’ shirt as his mind strayed another direction.

"More than cute, actually…" He said, leaning in to kiss Magnus again when the man suddenly stepped out of his arms, giving Alec a knowing look.

“Now, if there’s one thing you don’t have time for, it’s that. Go eat , Alexander.”




Thirty minutes later and Alec was striding into the hospital, briefcase in one hand and a barely restrained anger simmering up under his skin again, building the whole drive over. He knew all about Simon’s mother and his past with her. He had spoken with Raphael and learned how the recent reunion dinner had gone down, knew that Elaine Lewis was less than happy about her only son being engaged to a Catholic man. For her to show up and think she had any right to make decisions on behalf of him when she hadn’t seen him in years made Alec’s blood boil.

He took a deep breath and double checked the directory for the floor the ICU was on before he turned and headed toward the elevator. He was halfway down the hall when he heard his mother’s voice.


He stopped and spun to see Maryse walking briskly down the hallway after him, clad in neat blue nurse scrubs. He gave her a tense smile.

"Hola, mama."

She approached him and pulled him into a quick hug, tsking in disapproval as she released him. 

"You look exhausted. What are you even doing here?"

He sighed heavily, running a hand through his hair and gesturing vaguely to his briefcase. "Simon." He said. Maryse frowned.

"I just talked with my friend in ICU a half hour ago. She told me he's doing alright. Wouldn't the doctor have called and told you if something happened?"

"Actually, that's the problem. Simon's mother has shown up and claimed she is Simon's rightful health care agent, so as of-" He paused and checked his watch. "6 AM this morning, I haven't been privy to any information about him. And on top of that?" Alec asked, gritting his teeth and exhaling in aggravation. Maryse arched a brow at the display and waited for him to finish. 

"On top of that," he repeated, "She won't let Raphael see him. His own fucking fiancé. Can you believe the audacity of her?" Alec shook his head, clearly getting more pissed off with every passing minute he thought about it, and Maryse reached out to put a hand on his arm.

"Alec, you can't go up there like this."

"Like what?" He snapped. She raised her brows and fixed him with a look of disbelief. Alec wilted under her gaze.

"Sorry, mama."

Maryse nodded, silently accepting the apology. 

"Do you see what I mean now? You can't go up there and cause a scene with your emotions out of check. And don't try to tell me they aren't. You've been bouncing back and forth all day, haven't you? You always get mood swings when you're stressed."

Alec fidgeted with the edge of his suit jacket, glancing down at his shoes.

"I can't focus. I can't stay happy, I can't stay angry. Magnus is trying to help but it's been three days and I can't sleep, I can't keep myself from losing it every time he isn't there to stop me, and I don't know what's happening . I was fine half an hour ago, I was and now I'm-" He cut himself off, blinking and struggling to find the words to explain. Maryse grabbed his free hand to hold it in both of hers, pulling him off to the side in the hallway.

"I know, sweetheart. You're overwhelmed . And tired. You can't stabilize yourself because you're burnt out. You need rest. Real rest. You need to get away from everything for a few days."

Alec shook his head vehemently, eyes squeezing shut for a second as the sharp pain of his worsening headache flared behind them.

"No, tengo que seguir trabajando." I have to keep working. He pulled his hand from hers and rubbed at his throbbing temples before continuing. "If I don't keep working, more people are going to get hurt, just like Simon. The Morgensterns have to be stopped. Dad has to be stopped. If they aren't, they'll tear apart everything I've built and Jonathan will kill Magnus and-"

"Alec, Alec, stop." 

"No, mama, I have to do this, no one else will-"

Maryse reached out and grabbed her eldest's son's chin with her thumb and forefinger, cutting him off and forcing him to look at her. She pinned him with a very familiar assertive stare.

" Alejandro Gedeón Lightwood, escúchame. Esto no es un debate. Necesitas descansar. Lo digo en serio. No me hagas llamar a Dulce." Listen to me. This is not a debate. You need a break. I mean it. Don't make me call Dulce.

She watched Alec's eyes widen a fraction and she raised her brows in challenge. When he didn't respond immediately, she continued, dropping her hand back to his to squeeze it in comfort.

"I know you care about Simon but you have to go up there in control. The paperwork you have is undeniable, so serve it that way. You are stressed out and making this into a far bigger deal than it has to be."

Alec inhaled deeply, forcing a nod and swallowing around the tight feeling in his throat. His shoulders ached and his temples were throbbing but his mother was right. 

This was easy.

One civilian woman and a simple legal issue.

Nothing he couldn't handle.




He couldn’t handle this.

“You listen to me, Mr. Lightwood. Simon is my son. I don’t care how good of a friend you are to him, I am his mother and I will be making the decisions regarding his health. I don’t care what paperwork you have!” 

Elaine Lewis was a small woman, at least in comparison to Alec’s 6’3” stature, but was by no means a quiet one. Unluckily for Alec, she had been walking by the nurse's station when he’d told the receptionist what patient he was there for, and had immediately gone off on him, jabbing her finger in the air in his direction. He’d barely been able to get a single word in, and had quickly resigned himself to waiting for her to run out of steam.

Judging by her furious expression, it might be a while.

“You had no right coming here and no right to try and make decisions for my son. You are not his family, I am. And as for that so called ‘boyfriend’ of Simon’s-”

“Fiancé.” Alec couldn’t help himself when the correction slipped out. She froze, eyes narrowing.

“Excuse me?”

Raphael is Simon’s fiancé. And has a right to see him, much more so than you do.” 

Elaine looked at Alec like he’d grown a second head, momentarily shocked into silence. She must not have known about the engagement and he felt bad for revealing the information without permission but it gave him the chance he needed to finally cut into her incessant angry ranting, so he continued.

“I want to make one thing clear, Ms. Lewis. I’m not here to cause any trouble. I’m here to speak with Dr. Lara about making sure Simon’s recovery goes as smoothly as possible. And in order for that to happen, his wishes need to be honored. I have paperwork signed by Simon himself that states that myself and Raphael be in charge of his health care decisions should he be incapacitated. Considering that you have nothing of the sort and have barely spoken to him in over two years, I think the hospital will agree with me when I say that I’m his rightful support person.” Alec flashed her a smug smile and relished in the taken aback look and sputtering it got him in return.

“I- you have no right, he would have never signed paperwork that said that, I’m his mom-” She paused, shaking her head and meeting his eyes again with an even angrier look in her eyes. “I’ll be calling a lawyer about this. I don’t care what the hospital and some paperwork says. This is ridiculous!”

Alec tilted his chin up, looking down at her and arching his brow in challenge. His face remained impassive otherwise, his trademark expression of irritated indifference never slipping.

“You’re welcome to call a lawyer if you like. It won’t change anything. Simon’s living will and healthcare directive are both signed and dated by him, with additional signatures from two witnesses that proves he was of sound body and mind when he did so. Not to mention, I have an attorney of my own. One of the best in New York, in fact.”

Elaine snorted in disbelief. “Oh is that so?”

“It is. But I won’t be needing him.”

She opened her mouth to respond and Alec cut her off, glancing at something over her shoulder and smiling politely.

“Dr. Lara!”

He stepped past Elaine to meet the doctor as she walked up. She was a blonde, middle-aged woman, barely coming up to his shoulder and tired looking in the way that doctors always seemed to be. She smiled dimly when she saw him.

“Mr. Lightwood. Thank you so much for coming. I take it that’s the paperwork?” She nodded to the briefcase in his hand, cutting through the pleasantries and getting right to the point. He held it up with a nod.

“Simon’s healthcare directive and living will.”

“Good. If you’d both like to come with me to my office, we can settle this and move forward.”

Surprisingly, Elaine didn’t argue and trailed along behind Alec as they made their way down the hall, passing multiple rooms on the way. Alec swallowed harshly at the sight of all the machines that some of the patients were hooked up to, images of Simon in the same position flashing in his mind. He hadn’t seen the man since he was brought in and he honestly wasn’t sure what would be worse.

Seeing him battered and bloody or seeing him covered in sanitized tubes and cords.

“In here, please.” Dr. Lara held a door open and ushered them inside, closing it behind her.

“What is he doing here?” Elaine sneered.

Alec looked up to see what she was talking about and found Raphael, sitting in one of the chairs in front of Dr. Lara’s desk with his hands clasped in his lap.

He looked awful.

His suit was impeccable, ironed and dark blue, paired with a matching tie and pocket square, but his face betrayed how he really felt, dark circles under his eyes exacerbating the drained look in them.

Raphael stood as Alec approached, barely casting a glance in Elaine’s direction. When he spoke, his voice was quiet and strained.

“How is he?”

Alec swallowed, empathy welling in his chest. He knew the scared look in Raphael’s eyes, knew the tremor in his voice. He’d once looked and sounded the exact same way. Uncertain and afraid to be hopeful.

“I don’t have details but my mother says he is alright. Raphael, why the hell didn’t you call me when she ,” Alec paused and jerked his head in Elaine’s direction. “showed up this morning? I could have had all this taken care of hours ago.”

Raphael ran a hand through his wavy curls. His engagement band shone under the flourescent lights of the office. “Lo sé, lo sé. He estado preocupado. Quiero verlo. Tengo que, Alec.” I know, I know. I’ve been worried. I want to see him. I have to, Alec. 

“Mr. Lightwood, the paperwork? I’m afraid I’ll be needed on the floor again soon, so we really need to get this sorted out.” Dr. Lara said, breaking through the quiet conversation. Alec lay a hand on Raphael’s shoulder and squeezed it lightly before he turned toward the doctor. 

“Of course.” Without another word, he set the briefcase on her desk and unlocked it before flipping it open and pulling out a file. He handed it over, meeting Elaine’s eyes as he did so. She glared back, her arms crossed as Dr. Lara began to scan the paperwork, tapping a few keys on her computer occasionally as she did so.

Tense silence fell over the room for a few minutes. Elaine began to tap her foot impatiently, her jaw clenched as she looked between Alec and Raphael. Alec clasped his hands behind his back and regarded her coolly, daring her to try and start anything, especially with Raphael. The man was enough of a wreck as it was, no matter how hard he tried to maintain his signature scowl and air of disinterest.

“It all checks out. Wonderful. I’ll make copies and get these into Mr. Lewis’ official records here. Ms. Lewis, I’m afraid that Mr. Lightwood here is legally in charge of all medical decisions that need to be made on Mr. Lewis’ part until he is conscious and able to make them himself.”

Elaine threw her hands up in the air and dropped them by her sides with a huff. “I can’t believe this. I am Simon’s mother! I will not be banned from seeing my own son!”

“Ms. Lewis, I’m sorry but-”

Alec held up a hand, cutting the doctor off mid sentence and staring Elaine down.

“Elaine, is it? I’m not banning you from seeing your son. I’m not like you. In fact, you’re welcome to come see him as much as you’d like. If, ” He gestured to Raphael, who looked somewhere caught between relieved and pissed off. “you can be civil. I will barr you from visiting if you cause him or the hospital any trouble. Simon’s health is the most important thing here. Not your opinions and feelings.”

She said nothing for a moment, looking down at the plain rug with a frown. When she looked up again, the anger was mostly gone and replaced with irritated resignation.

Fine . I’m going to grab something to eat. I’ll come back once you two leave .”

With that, she turned and left the doctor’s office, leaving the door open behind her. Alec gave Raphael a small smile. 

“Room 351. Come on.”

He thanked the doctor before they ducked out into the hall and headed to the right, checking the directory signs as they passed. Alec noticed Raphael’s increasingly quick pace and adjusted to keep up with him, knowing how nervous he likely was.

Alec couldn’t say he was doing any better.

The past three days he'd been plagued by guilt and what ifs. What if he'd found Simon sooner? What if his phone hadn't been dead? What if he'd kept a better eye on Simon? What if he'd worked harder to take out Jonathan?

What if he'd never hired Simon at all?

They'd been inescapable. No matter how much work he threw himself into, how many meetings and debriefs and plans, Alec hadn't been able to stop thinking. Everytime he walked by Simon's empty desk he could only picture the man lying in a hospital bed, lying on the table in the middle of life saving surgery, barely hanging on–

Alec's jaw clenched. They rounded another corner, his mind reeling as he followed Raphael through the jarringly identical hallways.

He'd tried to believe Magnus. Tried to believe everyone when they said it wasn't his fault. But it was.

Alec couldn't understand how they didn't see it.

He hired Simon. He pulled a civilian boy into this mess just because he was a friend of Isabelle's, he didn't train Simon to protect himself, he wasn't there to protect him when he needed it most.

If Alec had only been smarter, more careful, paid more attention, focused less on himself then maybe Simon would still be okay, sitting in his apartment playing video games and blabbering away without a single care in the world.


Raphael's voice cut through his inner turmoil and Alec tuned back in to see that they'd stopped in front of a room. The curtains were drawn in front of the windows, dull green things that hung limp from the track on the ceiling. It felt like a wall, a protective layer that was the only thing sparing them from whatever lay on the other side.

He looked over at Raphael to see the man hesitating two feet from the glass door, hand floating mid air as if he'd been reaching for the handle but couldn't quite bring himself to touch it.

Alec stepped up beside him and pulled the door open.

Instantly, the well known sounds of a hospital room surrounded them.

The steady beeping of the heart monitor.

The periodic hiss of the ventilator.

Alec slowly drew aside the curtain, his breath catching in his throat.

It wasn't as bad as he thought it might be and somehow, that made it worse.

If it hadn't been for the quiet gasp that slipped from his lips, Alec wouldn't have noticed Raphael's knees giving out in time to step up beside him and catch him. He dropped his briefcase to the ground to brace the shorter man against his chest as he stumbled forward, both of their gazes focused on Simon.

He lay still in the hospital bed, normally fluffy brown hair lank against his forehead and barely visible amidst the white bandage wrapped around his skull. A breathing tube was stuck in his mouth, taped around his face to keep it in position, and his left arm was wrapped in a full cast, propped up on a pillow. Thin blankets were pulled up to his waist, there were faded bruises decorating his skin, and an IV was secured on the back of his free hand and another on his inner forearm.

A wave of nausea hit Alec like a punch in the stomach.

He managed to guide Raphael to a nearby chair and the man gently lowered himself down into it, his eyes never leaving Simon as he did so. It took Alec a moment to notice that Raphael had pulled his necklace free from under his shirt and was clutching the cross in his hand, murmuring soft prayers beneath his breath. Alec kept quiet, taking a seat on the other side of Simon and watching as Raphael reached out to very carefully take the unconscious man's hand.

The beeping and hissing kept the room from falling into silence but it unnerved Alec more than anything and he began pinching the skin between his thumb and forefinger to distract himself. It seemed like they'd been sitting there for hours when the door opened and a nurse slipped inside.

She stood at the foot of Simon's bed and gave them both a weak smile. Raphael didn't spare her a glance, still holding Simon's hand and murmuring in Spanish. She held out a hand in Alec's direction.

"I'm Julie. I'm the nurse assigned to Simon's room. You must be Maryse's son. Alec, right?"

Alex nodded, standing to shake her hand.

"Yes. It's nice to meet you."

"Likewise." Julie smiled again and clutched the clipboard she was holding closer to her chest. Her eyes slid over to Raphael. Alec saw the unspoken question in them.

"His fiancé." 

She made a small noise of realization. "I thought so." 

Neither of them spoke for a moment. Alec broke the quiet first.

"I don't mean to be rude but could you-" 

She turned back to him, tearing her gaze away from the scene of Raphael praying at Simon's bedside. Alec chose to ignore the watery glimmer in her eyes as she cleared her throat.

"Of course. Sorry." She paused and glanced over her clipboard. She lowered her voice so that only Alec could hear her before she continued. 

"Simon is currently in a medically induced coma. It's very temporary, just to ensure the brain swelling is controlled. He did undergo a noninvasive surgery, an endoscopic evacuation, to help with the hemorrhage, and we did manage to get the internal bleeding under control, which was the most threatening injury." Julie paused again, looking Alec over. Despite the bile rising in his throat, he nodded for her to continue. 

"The doctor reevaluated his broken bones and determined they won't need any surgery, thankfully. If I'm being honest, Simon here is very lucky. I know it doesn't seem that way but...he's strong. I can tell."

Alec swallowed harshly. "Yeah. He is."

The blonde nurse offered another empathetic smile and Alec was about to ask when they'd wake Simon up when he felt his phone buzz in his pocket.

"Excuse me."

He turned and left the room, slipping outside and walking a few feet away from the door. He pulled his phone out and frowned when he saw Isabelle's name on the screen. He slid his thumb across it to answer the call.

"Iz?" He asked.

"Alec, hey. Listen, I know Magnus said to try not to bother you and really, I don't want you to freak out but I wanted you to hear it sooner rather than later."

He heaved a sigh. "Alright, what? What is it?"

"...Raj was found dead an hour ago. And with him, was a note from Valentine."

He stayed quiet, waiting for her to continue.

"Alec, he's coming after us. He's going to turn us all in."

Chapter Text

When Alec stepped into the loft that night, he was already bracing himself for what was to come.

He had promised Magnus before he'd left to the hospital earlier that he would be home as soon as he finished his 10 o'clock morning debrief, a weekly meeting that never ran more than an hour and a half long.

Alec glanced at his watch again. The small screen glared back, three little numbers mocking him in bright white, followed by the two letters that cemented the trepidation weighing heavily in his stomach.

7:32 PM.

He looked up, scanning the entryway and living room for any sign of his boyfriend. Normally, Magnus would greet Alec at the door if he was home and heard him enter, sweeping in with a smile and a kiss before asking how his day had gone.

The lack of greeting left three options.

One being that Magnus hadn't heard him come in, which seemed unlikely given the way Alec had unceremoniously dropped his suitcase on the nearby table with a thud as he swung the door shut behind him.

Then, there was the possibility that Magnus wasn't even at home , something Alec had never thought he'd be hoping for, but the smell of food drifting from the kitchen and the muted sounds of dishes clinking dashed that option aside as well.

Alec sighed, running a hand over his face as he carelessly toed off his dress shoes and began to unholster his weapons.

That left only the third option, which was Alec's least favorite of the three, and that was that Magnus was deliberately ignoring him.

Alec grimaced at the thought as he slipped off his suit jacket, hanging it on the coat rack along with his holsters before tugging at the knot of his tie. He exhaled in relief as it came loose, the normally insignificant act lifting a surprising amount of weight off his shoulders. He briefly wondered if he had been wearing it too tightly all day as he took another breath and found his lungs filling much easier than before. 

Leaving the tie hanging gracelessly around his neck, Alec began to make his way toward the kitchen, socked feet padding quietly across the plush carpet even as every step felt heavier than the last. Whether it was the exhaustion or the apprehension causing it, he wasn't sure.

He was about to turn the corner into the kitchen when Magnus stepped out and caught sight of him. The anger Alec expected to see on his face was absent, and in its place was a blank mask of indifference, one that had Alec opening his mouth to apologize immediately. Magnus didn't give him the chance, holding up one manicured finger to stop him.

"I know you're sorry. I know that an emergency came up and I know that's out of your control. Valentine is not someone to be taken lightly and I understand why you had to stay at the office so late despite our agreement that you needed rest." Magnus rattled off responses to everything Alec had planned to ask forgiveness for and the knot in his stomach began to unravel. He'd expected a different conversation, one with a lesser degree of calmness, especially considering his streak of bad luck lately. He should have known Magnus would be understanding, he always was-

"But what I don't understand, Alexander, is why I had to hear it all from your sister ."

Alec shut his eyes, inhaling deeply and and barely resisting pinching the bridge of his nose.

There it was.

"I called you multiple times. Messaged you even more. I was worried sick, and rightfully so because the only information I had before Isabelle called me was from Raphael, who told me that you fled the hospital looking white as a sheet without so much as a word." Magnus lowered his hand, folding them together in front of him. He was already dressed down for the day, a loose fitting purple shirt paired with what looked to be some of Alec's sweatpants, the bottoms rolled slightly up to form cuffs around his ankles. The sight sent a pang of affection through Alec and he basked in it for just a moment before pushing it aside as Magnus continued talking.

"Why couldn't you tell me yourself, Alexander?"

Alec hung his head as Magnus paused, giving him a moment to defend himself, give a good reason for why he hadn't answered his phone.

He didn't have one. 

He'd ignored every call, told himself he'd answer all the texts when he got a free moment, and when he realized he wouldn't be getting one of those for a while, Alec had enlisted his sister to let Magnus know what was going on. He hadn't even bothered to find out what his boyfriend's reaction was to the information, instead burying himself in the process of ceasing active operations, tasking people to make their business fronts look as legal as possible in case of investigation, and desperately seeking out any possible loose end that Valentine could use to his disposal. Even with all of that, Alec had barely made a dent in the amount of work that was needed to give them a chance against whatever Valentine was planning, especially considering they were completely in the dark as to what kind of information the man even had on them.

"Magnus, I don't know what to say. I…" Alec shook his head, searching through his overwhelmed brain for something, anything to try and make the situation better. "I didn't feel like I had time. And I couldn't just leave it. I couldn't just come home when there were so many things to do, so many that could only be taken care of by me and I know I need to stop, to slow down, I know I promised I would but I can't-" Alec's voice cracked, brittle and delicate like ice, and he swallowed harshly, willing away the tears that prickled threateningly at the backs of his eyes. "I feel like I don't know how anymore. And I don't know what to do."

Magnus stepped forward as he finished speaking, reaching out silently to finish untying Alec's tie. He slipped it from the collar of his shirt and slung it over his own shoulder before he began to undo the buttons on Alec's button up, nimble fingers making quick work of each one. Alec didn't argue, didn't bother asking questions, and simply watched him, scanning for anything that might give away Magnus' mood, but the man's face remained perfectly stoic.

It wasn't until every button had been slipped free of its hole that Magnus broke the silence, warm hands skirting along Alec's skin to push the shirt from his shoulders as he let out a heavy sigh.

"It's… alright, Alexander. Right now, all you need to do is go take a shower, put on something comfortable, and then come eat. Okay?" 

Alec shifted to allow Magnus to finish sliding his shirt off and winced as the knotted muscles in his shoulders seized up. Magnus' carefully constructed facade slipped at the sight, worry flashing through his eyes as they flitted over Alec's body. His expression smoothed out again within moments and he met Alec's gaze, clearly waiting for an answer to his previous question. 

Alec nodded and sighed, reaching up to rub at a particularly painful knot at the base of his neck.

"Yeah. Yeah, I can do that."

"Good. And please," Magnus offered him a weak smile. "Take all the time you need. Dinner will still be warm when you're done." With that, he folded Alec's shirt over his arm and swept past him toward their bedroom.

Alec hesitated there in the hallway, part of him wanting to follow Magnus. He swallowed the impulse and headed in the direction of the bathroom instead, quickly stripping off the rest of his clothes as soon as the door clicked shut behind him. He didn't bother looking at his reflection as he unstrapped his watch and set it aside before climbing into the steaming hot shower. Alec wasn't keen on seeing if he looked as exhausted as he felt.

The water poured from the showerhead in a steady but weak stream and he frowned, reaching up to fiddle with the settings dial. He turned it until it hit the massage setting and then spun around, a soft groan spilling from his lips almost immediately as the unrelenting stream pounded away at his overworked muscles. Alec tilted his head forward and let himself sink into the warm steam, arms hanging limply by his sides. 

He knew what Magnus was doing. The man was a master at hiding his emotions, whether he was putting on a bright smile and tossing around quips like he couldn't be happier or throwing up walls to make himself completely unreachable and unreadable, and normally, he succeeded in convincing everyone. Even knowing most of Magnus' little tells and nuances, Alec still found himself falling for the act on occasion.

But not this time.

With a frown, he poured a small amount of shampoo on his hand and scrubbed it through his hair, muscles protesting the movements as he went.

Magnus was trying to hide his concern and fear beneath a facade of stoicism. It was common for him to do when he felt he was being too overbearing, or when he didn't want Alec to focus on him but rather himself, or both , which seemed likely given the current state of things.

Anyone who knew Alec knew that he'd sooner deal with other peoples' problems and emotions than his own.

As for Magnus' irritation, Alec had realized it wasn't toward him, at least not directly. Perhaps a little of it stemmed from him not taking care of himself like he should, or for ignoring Magnus' messages all day, but likely it was more toward the entire situation they'd found themselves wrapped up in. 

Magnus didn't like things to be out of his control. It made even more sense now that Alec knew what his boyfriend did for a living. Magnus' entire career was about holding peoples' lives in his hands, both figuratively and literally. To him, not having control was unnatural.

Alec knew the feeling all too well.

Blackmail was about controlling the flow of information and favors, disappearances were about controlling who went where, when, and why, smuggling was about controlling what came in and out of the city, and holding a gun…was about controlling someone's fate.

This life, this line of work, it thrived on control. If you weren't fighting for control, you already had it, and if you already had it, you had to maintain it.

Alec ran New York City. The Lightwoods had for a long time. And when his parents had been in charge, they'd respectfully coincided with Valentine, even working with him on a few occasions, both doing anything to keep from stepping on each other's toes.

But Alec wasn't his parents and Valentine had earned no respect from him and never would. He'd hated the man since the very beginning and the feeling only grew with every drug cartel, every weapon smuggling ring, every low life that found themselves at Alec's mercy, because all of them ended up tied to Valentine in one way or another.

He rinsed the shampoo and body wash off, taking in a deep breath to try and soothe the beginnings of anger prickling beneath his skin. He tried his best to force the thoughts of work aside as he spread a small amount of conditioner through the ends of his hair, leaving it to sit and grabbing the expensive face wash Magnus insisted Alec use at least once a day. He debated shaving as he rubbed the cleanser into his skin, feeling the scratch of his four day old facial hair beneath his fingers before his stomach growled painfully. Rinsing the products from his face and hair, he decided that one more day couldn't hurt, even if his siblings might give him shit for it.

Alec shut the shower off and shook the excess water from his hair before climbing out and grabbing the towel folded neatly on the counter. As he dried himself off, he noticed another pile next to it and couldn't help the tired smile that tugged at his lips at the sight of a t-shirt and his favorite pair of pajama pants, a black silk set that Magnus had bought him on their trip to Tokyo two years ago. They were well worn but still plenty comfortable and Alec slipped them on with a contented sigh before pulling the t-shirt over his head.

Fully dressed, he took a moment to lean back against the counter, easing some of the weight off his legs. He'd only taken a 30 minute shower for a reason, because despite how good the hot water felt and despite the fact that he'd gladly spend another hour under the massage setting, his feet were sore enough and his stomach was growling louder and louder by the minute. 

A part of him dreaded leaving the bathroom. Alec knew Magnus would be trying to get him to go to bed as soon as he finished eating and he wasn't quite sure how to tell the man that there was no way he'd be able to sleep for at least the next hour. His body might be exhausted but his thoughts were ricocheting around in his skull, bouncing back and forth and leaving twin aches behind his eyes all while his mouth struggled to voice any of them coherently. 

Alec hadn't felt this out of control since Magnus disappeared.

Sighing for what felt like the millionth time that night, he picked up his phone from the counter and unlocked it, quickly searching out the group chat he was in with Jace and Isabelle. His thumb hovered over the keyboard as he stared down at the screen.

He wanted to check on them, make sure they'd gotten home safe, make sure they'd even left the office, but he knew he'd likely just get ignored or recieve worried messages in return, telling him he needed to take a break and that they could take care of themselves. Logically, Alec knew it was true but his instinct to protect them wasn't something he could just turn off. They might think he was an overbearing asshole but if that's the price he paid for keeping them safe, then so be it.

He glanced at the clock in the top right hand corner of his phone.

8:10 PM

They'd definitely still be awake. 

Alec's fingers tapped across the keys as he made his decision, making sure to mark the message as urgent before he continued so they'd have to respond. His siblings had left him on read one too many times before.

Just as his thumb went to hit the 'send' button, he heard voices coming softly muffled through the bathroom door. He couldn't make out the words they were speaking, but there was definitely two distinctly different people. His brows scrunched together.

Had Magnus invited someone over? This late?

Message momentarily forgotten, Alec locked his phone and shoved it into the pocket of his pajama pants before he opened the door and stepped out, a shiver running through him as his feet hit the cold hardwood of the hallway.

The voices were clearer now, and he noted that there was actually more than two, all of them floating toward him from the kitchen. Alec pushed his damp hair from his forehead and made his way down the hall, his frown deepening as he got closer, the words become clear enough to understand. His face twisted even more with confusion as he recognized the voices.

"Jace, save some dumplings for Alec! You know they're his favorite!"

" Save some dumplings for Alec. You know they're his favorite. First come first serve, sis." He could practically hear Jace sticking his tongue out as he mocked Isabelle's words back at her.

There was a beat of silence before Jace yelped an affronted 'Hey!' , followed by Magnus' stern scolding.

"Every noodle you throw better be picked up before you leave this room. Honestly, Maryse, how do you manage these two?"

The sound of his mother's laughter met Alec's ears right before he rounded the corner, amusement lacing her response.

"Oh, I don't. Alec does."

Clary's shock of red hair drew his eye first as he stopped dead in the doorway, eyebrows flying up at the scene before him.

The short girl was perched atop the marble counter, wielding a pair of chopsticks in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. Jace was bracketed between her legs, his back to her as he shoveled what looked to be orange chicken in his mouth with a fork. Alec watched as Clary snagged a dumpling from the takeout box he was holding the moment he looked away, popping it into her mouth with a smug smile.

Isabelle was on the other side of the room from them, leaning into Magnus' side, her head tipped down on his shoulder as she plucked a noodle from her own takeout container and threw it at Jace, snickering when it landed in his hair. He glared and pulled it out, grinning at the disgusted look she gave him when he slurped it into his mouth.

Magnus was cradling a glass of red wine delicately between his fingers, his head resting down on Isabelle's as he swirled the liquid around. Maryse sat at the island wearing a smile, a matching glass of alcohol in front of her.

"What is…?" Alec trailed off as they all looked up at him, clearly having not noticed his entrance. Magnus smiled softly but his mother was the one who spoke up to answer his question.

"Magnus invited us over for dinner. A chance for all of us to take a break and relax together, forget about work for a while, you know? Luke has the night off, so I thought I would join for an hour or two while he watches Max."

It was then that Alec noticed that everyone but his mother was wearing various forms of sleepwear.

Briefly, Alec wondered if he'd slipped in the shower and hit his head.

He gaped at them, torn between confusion and disbelief as Maryse's words fully registered in his mind. "Forget about work? But Valentine-"

Magnus interrupted him instantly, stepping away from Isabelle with a shake of his head.

" -can wait . If he intended to do something substantial, Alexander, he would have done it by now. It's quite clear that his plan is blackmail and until he makes his demands, there is nothing any of us can do. So," he grabbed a takeout box from the counter and stuck a set of chopsticks in them as he approached Alec, holding them out with a hesitant look. Alec could see the worry behind it, Magnus clearly unsure if Alec is going to be irritated with what he'd done. 

Alec glanced around the room again, taking in the tired smile on Jace's face, the paint still smudged on Clary's cheek, Isabelle's lack of makeup, and the knowing sparkle in his mother's eyes for a long moment before a small smile tugged at his lips. He took the offered food and grabbed Magnus by the waist with his free hand, pulling him into his chest and pressing a kiss to his forehead with a quiet whisper.

"Thank you."

"Anything and everything for you, darling."

A noodle landed in Alec's hair just as he opened his mouth to say more and his gaze snapped up, eyes narrowing as he looked around the room.

Jace and Isabelle were wearing matching expressions of innocence while Maryse hid a smile behind her wine glass. Clary just rolled her eyes and pointed to Jace with her chopsticks, knowing only Alec can see her.

He turned to his brother with an unimpressed look. 

"Really? What are you, five?"

Jace shrugged, shoving more orange chicken in his mouth and chewing it loudly as he spoke.

"Six, ac'ually. I'm six. An' you two are gross."

Magnus pulled away from Alec and wiggled his eyebrows at him, reaching into the box Alec was holding to pluck out a small dumpling with the chopsticks. Before Alec could ask what he was doing, his boyfriend spun around and flung it directly at Jace, hitting him smack dab in the middle of his forehead.

Alec snorted while Isabelle and Clary dissolved into giggles. Maryse simply rolled her eyes and muttered under her breath about ' children'

Jace glared at Magnus' self satisfied smirk, wiping juice from the soup dumpling off his face.

"Real mature, Bane. Real mature."

"You're one to talk, Blondie."

Jace scowled and picked up a piece of chicken, throwing it in Magnus' direction only to watch with a deeper frown as the man dodged it and it hit the floor with a dull splat. Alec arched a brow at his brother.

"You're cleaning that up."

The only response he got was another noodle to the face.


After they'd all refilled their wine glasses and grabbed a second serving of food, they migrated to the small dining room table tucked into the far corner of the loft, squeezing in and bumping elbows as they tried to navigate eating in such close proximity. Magnus ended up switching his chopsticks to his other hand to make things easier, earning him a surprised look from Jace.

"Are you ambidextrous?"

Magnus gave a slight nod, clicking the sticks together to prove the point before swiping up a piece of sushi off his plate. Isabelle made a noise of disbelief from across the table.

"No way. People with true ambidexterity only make up like, 1 percent of the population." 

Magnus arched a brow and swallowed the bite of food in his mouth before speaking. 

"I never claimed I was truly ambidextrous, dear. I'm left-handed naturally but started training my right hand when I was around 10. 20 years later and there isn't much that one does that the other can't do just as well. And that is infinitely beneficial, I assure you." He tossed her a wink and her eyes immediately darted to Alec, a smirk upturning the corner of her lips. 

"Oh really?"

Alec raised his eyebrows, fixing her with his usual unimpressed expression despite the warmth he felt spreading across his cheekbones. Next to him, Jace snorted.

"Must be pretty nice to not have to worry about your arm getting tired while giving Alec a-"

Alec cut him off with a sharp elbow to the ribs.

"¡No seas un pervertido! He was talking about wielding guns!" Don't be a pervert! He hissed, shooting an appalled look at both of his siblings. Clary bit her bottom lip to hold back her snickering, sharing a look with Magnus, who had a mischievous glint in his eye. 

"Oh, yes, that too. How could I forget?"

Alec's head snapped toward his boyfriend, cheeks flushing a shade darker as the rest of the table burst into laughter. Even Maryse was trying to hide her amusement, lips forcibly pressed together.

Alec gawked at them as they continued giggling, specifically Jace, who only laughed harder when he caught sight of Alec's face.

"Have you all forgotten that our mother is here?" Alec asked incredulously, gesturing his chopsticks in Maryse's direction. She waved a hand dismissively and took a sip of her wine as the laughter died down.

"It's not as if I didn't know you had sex, Alec. You're 29, por Dios." For God's sake.

"It's one thing to know about it. Doesn't mean you need to hear it." He grumbled, sending Magnus a heatless glare as he reached over and stole a maki roll from his plate. Magnus gave him an innocent smile in return as Isabelle spoke up from across the table.

"Oh, I think we've all heard it, hermano. I gotta say, I never took you for a screamer." 

Jace guffawed and reached across the table to high five Isabelle. Maryse rolled her eyes at her children's antics as they clapped their hands together. Clary looked caught somewhere between amused and embarrassed by the current conversation.

Isabelle looked back at her eldest brother, expecting him to be scowling silently at her comment, only to see a wide and wolfish grin spread across his face. 

"What?" She asked.

Alec's smile turned a bit more smug, his gaze sliding sideways to Magnus.

"Oh, it wasn't me you were hearing."

The table fell into silence as Magnus choked on a drink of his wine, sputtering and shooting Alec an outraged look. Alec only arched a brow at him, clearly pleased with himself and his payback. 

"Wait, seriously?" Jace gawked, leaning around Alec to look at Magnus, who pointedly avoided all the new stares aimed in his direction. Isabelle smirked at the pink tinge his cheeks had taken on, knowing it definitely wasn't from the wine.

"That makes so much more sense. I always thought the moans were a little too high pitched for it to be Alec-"

Magnus cleared his throat loudly, looking up from his plate and cutting off Isabelle mid-sentence.

" I think ," he paused for emphasis, shooting them all a stern look. "that that's quite enough of that. Let's change the subject, hmm? For Maryse's sake."

"Uh huh. For Mom's sake." Jace drawled, clearly unconvinced. Magnus narrowed his eyes, glaring daggers at him, but said nothing and turned back to his food. Alec slid a hand onto his thigh beneath the table and squeezed, expression apologetic. The man only gave him a fond, exasperated look in return and lay a hand over his. Alec's smile returned full force at seeing he wasn't irritated and thankfully, Clary pushed the conversation in another direction before anyone could say something more on the matter.

"So, I've been thinking about setting up my own art gallery, all legal, of course…"

The rest of dinner continued on in relative calm for the next half hour, with more takeout boxes being passed around and wine glasses refilled. As their conversations went on, Maryse mentioned that she suspected Luke was going to propose soon and instantly, Magnus and Isabelle were spouting about weddings plans, asking questions and mentioning various designers. Clary joined in a few times, offering her opinions on color combinations and decor styles while Maryse grinned at all of them, a youthful glow lighting up her face. 

Alec was happy for her but mostly tuned the conversation out, not wanting to dwell on the subject of marriage with Magnus sitting right next to him. It took him a few minutes to realize that Jace had gone suspiciously silent at some point and he turned his attention to his brother to find him pushing his remaining food around with his fork. Clary must have noticed too, because she had one hand rested on top of Jace's on the table, rubbing her thumb in circles across the back of it.

He either didn't seem to notice her occasional worried glances or didn't care.

As soon as Isabelle brought up playlist ideas for the reception, Jace stood up.

"I'm going to grab some more wine." He said, barely loud enough for anyone to hear him. Clary moved to follow him but he waved her off and she sunk back down into her chair with a hurt look. Alec met her eyes across the table and nodded slightly before standing up. He leaned down to press a kiss to the top of Magnus' head.

"Be right back." 

The other man gave him an absent-minded nod. Alec didn't blame the rest of them for not noticing and couldn't bear to impede on the happiness exuding from his mother just to add more worry to what was supposed to be a stress free night, so he followed Jace into the kitchen alone to find his brother standing by the sink and staring down at his empty glass of wine. He didn't look up when Alec entered.

"You doing okay?" Alec asked, walking over to lean back against the counter next to him, resting his palms on the edge of it. Jace shook his head and set his glass aside, running a hand over his face tiredly.

"No. Not really." 

Alec paused. "You want to talk about it?"

Jace didn't respond immediately and Alec didn't push any more than that. Jace was the kind of person that would talk if he was ready to and no sooner. He'd always been that way, courtesy of the trauma he had suffered before coming to live with them at age 8, and Alec had spent much of their childhood learning to navigate around his brother's emotional issues and finding ways to help him deal with them in a healthier manner than he had been.

Sometimes, helping him just meant keeping him company.

"I can't shake it, Alec. Seeing him like that, limp and barely breathing. I...I thought he was going to die in my arms. I've never experienced something like that and I just..." Jace swallowed harshly and Alec scuffed his foot against the floor, images of Simon laying in the hospital bed flashing behind his eyes.

"I know."

"And now all this shit with Valentine and Robert? And Jonathan? It's just, it's too much, man."

"We'll get through it, Jace. Besides, we got to Simon in time. He's going to be okay. That's a win."

"Yeah, well, something about a brain hemorrhage tells me that we might have been a little late." Jace snapped, tone laced with irritation and bitterness. Alec didn't bother to comment, knowing better than to try and argue as it would only fuel Jace's anger. 

They were similar in that way.

Neither of them said anything as Alec waited for the tension to fade and Jace finally spoke up again, voice low as he raked a hand through his hair, fingers getting caught on the already tangled strands.

"Sorry. I's Simon , Alec. We dragged him into this in the first place, how am I not supposed to feel guilty?"

"You're asking the wrong person, Jace." Alec crossed his arms across his chest and tried to stifle a yawn before continuing. "But you know Simon would kick our ass if he knew we were blaming ourselves."

Jace scoffed, cracking a small smile. "If by 'kick our ass', you actually mean talking us to death, then yeah. He would."

Alec gave him an exhausted smile in return, the expression dampened by the heavy, dark circles under his eyes. The sight had Jace wanting to frown but he shook the worried thoughts away. Alec was clearly trying to help him feel better and it wouldn't do either of them any good for Jace to add more stressful subjects to the conversation. Instead, he latched onto the lighter mood that Alec was steering him toward.

"We need a vacation, dude. Somewhere warm, maybe with a beach. But it just feels like we can't catch a damn break." 

Alec huffed out a weak laugh. "Yeah, what's new?"

Jace's smile widened at that. "Touché." He drummed his fingers on the counter thoughtfully. "Though, maybe less of a beach and more of a…private island. Magnus probably has one we could borrow, right?" He joked, nudging his brother with his elbow. Alec nodded.

"Yeah, he's got a little 3 acre one in the Maldives."

The smile slid off Jace's face, replaced with disbelief. "Dude, wait, are you serious?"

"Yeah, he bought it years ago. He's been trying to get me to go with him since we first started dating. Back then, of course, he told me it was just a house you could rent for a private vacation. Not that he owned the whole damn island to do with what he pleased."

"I want a private island." Jace said, pouting. Alec rolled his eyes.

"I think one private island in the family is enough."

They fell into silence again but it was more comfortable this time, the low din of conversations drifting in from the other room keeping it from being too quiet. After a while, Alec turned to look over at Jace, eyes tired but hopeful.

"Jace… I know you feel guilty over Simon. And I get it. I do too, we all do. But we need to step back and get our bearings, try not to let all the feelings overwhelm everything, or else we'll never find Jonathan and he'll never get what he deserves." 

Jace opened his mouth to make a comment but Alec was quicker, holding up a hand with fingers splayed and continuing.

"Yes, I know. It's hypocritical of me to try and make you all get some rest, for me to take care of Magnus, and then turn around and not do the same for myself. I know."

Jace arched a knowing brow at him. "Oh, you're finally realizing that? It only took us all telling you a million times."

Alec gave him an unamused look before shaking his head. "It's easier said than done. Everytime I try, it comes back. I feel like I can't stop going , you know? I have to keep doing things because there's so much to be done and a lot of it has to be done by me. How can I take a break when there's things that need to be finished?"

"We can help, Alec. You just need to let us. Preferably without almost hitting me." He shot his brother a heatless glare and Alec had the decency to look apologetic. "You know, you have the whole office on edge. You've got mood swings worse than a hormonal pregnant woman lately. If people didn't think you were scary before…" He trailed off dramatically and Alec groaned.

"I know, I know . Mom pretty much said the same thing."

"You need to talk to people about your problems, Alec. And you need some good stress relief. Like, I've got my piano and Clary has her art. You need something like that."

"I do have something like that." Alec responded, frowning. Jace huffed, exasperated.

"Cleaning your guns or working out doesn't count. You need something that's not work related. Like cooking. You used to cook all the time before Magnus left."

Alec rubbed the back of his neck and shook his head.

"I've been too busy. And the idea of standing up long enough to prepare a meal after working all day makes my muscles want to give out just at the thought of it."

"Then ask Magnus for a massage. Maybe he'll give you a happy ending with those ambidextrous hands of his." Jace waggled his eyebrows and Alec straightened up from the counter to shove his shoulder playfully, trying and failing to hide a smile.

"Whatever. You're one to talk about accepting help. Judging by the looks Clary has been giving you all night, I'd bet money that you haven't been talking to her about how you feel."

Jace grimaced at that and Alec's smirk softened. He reached out to squeeze Jace's shoulder as he spoke.

"It's not us against the world anymore, Jace. I think we both tend to forget that."

Before his brother could respond, Maryse stepped into the kitchen, carrying her empty wine glass and a dirty plate.

"What are you boys talking about?" She asked, arching a brow, her tone giving away that she already knew the answer to her question.

Jace and Alec both straighten up and shake their heads, speaking simultaneously.

"Nada, mama."


She smiled even as she narrowed her eyes in suspicion. "Hmm. Well, you're missing a very lively discussion. Magnus was just showing everyone a video of you snoring." She grins at Alec, whose eyes widen in outrage. He gapes for a moment, glancing back and forth between her and Jace, who are biting back laughter.

"I- What? I don't-" He groans and cuts off his own stammering, stalking out of the kitchen towards the other room and shouting as he goes.

"I do not snore!"

Maryse walked over to Jace as Alec left, taking the place he'd previously been occupying against the counter as they both listened to Magnus' loud laughter from the other room, followed by more of Alec's indignant arguing.

The rowdiness died down eventually, leaving Jace and Maryse standing alone in the quiet of the kitchen and she set her glass and dish aside in the sink to wrap an arm around her son, gently pulling his head to her shoulder to run her fingers through his hair. Jace went willingly, sighing and closing his eyes. Maryse didn't say anything but started humming under her breath, a tune Jace recognized as a Spanish lullaby Alec used to sing to him to help with his nightmares when they were kids. It was only now that he realized who Alec must have learned it from.

"I don't know if I ever said thank you." Jace mumbled. Maryse's humming ceased momentarily.


"Adopting me. And for taking care of me when no one else wanted to."

Her fingers stilled in his hair and she pulled away, turning to look Jace in the eyes. Her expression was soft but serious, a carbon copy of the one he'd received from his brother just a few minutes prior.

"Jace, you don't ever have to thank me for loving you. You're my son."

"You don't… ever regret it?" He asked, swallowing down the tremor in his voice. Maryse's face pinched together, pained and apologetic as she pulled him into a tight hug, voice quiet next to his ear.

"My only regret is not being the mother you all needed sooner."

Jace couldn't help but smile, wrapping his arms around her as relief washed over him. It was an old insecurity, the idea that he was unwanted and destined to be alone. He had spent the first few months of his and Clary's relationship wondering every night when she would get sick of him and leave, wondering when his habit of pushing people away would finally wear her down. Two years later and she was as stubborn as ever, sticking closer to him than his own shadow, despite every nightmare, bad day, or resurfaced memory.

They all helped him. His siblings, Maryse, Clary, even Magnus. Jace would never admit it but the other man was one hell of a good listener and always seemed to have advice for every possible situation. Sometimes Jace wondered if Magnus was really some sort of old immortal with centuries worth of knowledge.

That idea was mostly Simon's fault, with his constant spouting about fantasy worlds and graphic novels.

Jace winced internally. 


The whole reason that insecurity resurfaced in the first place. 

Seeing his face that night at the bar, hearing him talk about family and accusing them, accusing Jace , of not caring had felt like a blow to the stomach.

" Some fucking family you are."  

The words had been circling on repeat in his head for days. 

He knew what it was like to feel ostracized. Like you didn't belong in a group even if you spent every waking moment with them. 

He hadn't realized that Simon might have felt the same way. But then again, he realized that nobody had ever outright told Simon what he meant to them.

Jace wasn't a sap. The kid was still annoying as hell and he wasn't about to start treating him like his best friend.

But maybe he'd make fun of him just a little bit less.

Just a little bit.




"I call the spare room!" 

"What? No! You're one person! How are Clary and I supposed to both fit on the couch?" Jace griped, gesturing to the leather piece of furniture and eyeing his sister with a frown.

"I called dibs, Jace. Deal with it." Isabelle stuck her tongue out at him and he scoffed.

"Dibs? We aren't twelve anymore, that doesn't mean anything."

Isabelle crossed her arms and arched a brow at him, drumming her red nails on her bicep.

"Well, you seemed to think it meant something when you used it as an excuse to steal the last donut the other day."

"This is different!"

Before Isabelle could argue the point, Magnus strode into the room and cut her off, having heard the majority of the argument from down the hall where he had been fetching spare bedding from the closet. 

"I, unfortunately, have to side with Blondie on this one. A queen bed is a much better fit for two people than a couch, no matter how comfortable it is." He placed the neatly folded blanket and fluffy looking pillow he'd been carrying down onto said couch and turned back to them, running a hand through his hair. He still needed to remove the product in it, as well as his makeup, and go through his nightly skin care routine. Letting Alec's siblings, his mother, and Clary see him dressed down to sweats and a t-shirt was one thing, but Magnus wouldn't be caught dead in their presence makeup-less with flat hair. The very thought made him cringe.

"But you and Alec fit on that couch just fine and you're both over six feet tall!" Isabelle said, her voice tapering off into a whine. Jace rolled his eyes at her dramatics.

"I hate to poke holes in your argument, dear, but I'm actually only 5'11". And your brother most definitely does not 'fit' on that couch, unless you count fitting as having your legs hanging over the armrest and one arm dangling toward the floor."

Isabelle groaned, frowning at Magnus as she grabbed her phone off the coffee table. "Fine. But only because I want Clary to be comfortable." She glared at Jace, who stuck his tongue out with a smug smirk. 

"Have fun on the couch, loser-" Jace squawked loudly as a throw pillow hit him in the face with enough force to cause him to stumble backward as he was caught off guard. He flailed as he felt his heel collide with something behind him and he was sure he was about to crash into whatever it was when a strong hand caught his arm in a firm grip and yanked him forward. 

Magnus let go of Jace as soon he regained his balance and gave him and Isabelle a disappointed look.

"As amusing as the two of you and your antics are, I'd much prefer you didn't end up spilling that very expensive bottle of whiskey and end up waking your brother in the process."

Clary snickered from her spot curled up in a nearby armchair, looking up from her phone in time to catch Jace throwing an apologetic look in Magnus' direction. Isabelle flopped down onto the couch, pulling her hair free from it's m