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We Were Holy

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The pain searing through Alec’s body is unbearable, doubled by his and Izzy’s bond. Her pain is sharp and bright, echoing his own, as his tunes are burned off his body. He can’t hold back the screams anywhere, his voice resounding loudly across the stone room. The technician looks at him with empty eyes, the eyes of a cruel torturer who sees a sort of beauty in the pain they inflict on others. With more effort than anything he has ever done before, Alexander Lightwood closes his mouth and forces himself to be silent. His hazel eyes bore into the technician, and the silent defiance seems to enrage the technician. Good, Alec thinks viciously, let him be frustrated and angry with how it is going. With each rune removed, it takes more out of him, takes away the part of him that made him who he is. The pain becomes so hard to resist he finds himself retreating deeper into the bond he has with Isabelle, his parabatai, his sister, his bonded soul. He loses himself in her, and passes out.

It had started when he was 12. When his body had started to change, to match the one of the girls around him. Then he had realized what was wrong. Mind full of the righteousness of the angels, of the imperative to follow the Shadowhunters Laws, he told his parents immediately. He hadn’t understood their anger back then. They had tried to make him change, forbidding to ever speak of it, but Alec had a stubborn streak he inherited from them.

When it had become evident that this wasn’t going away, this was never going to change, Robert had left the family house and had only brief, succinct interaction with him. His mother, Maryse, had reluctantly accepted it, repeating to herself over and over again that the Angels did not make mistakes when crafting Their children, and that, if this was Their will, then who was she to go against it? However, she had known what the Clave would do to Alec if that became known. She had seen it with her brother Maxwell, and he had only loved men. She had not dared to think what they would do to her child if he spoke of it. So they had struck an agreement. She would help him with the changes, find him help the mundane way, and in exchange he would pretend that he was a girl whenever a Clave Envoy was there, or any important family. Some people knew, the Penhallows amongst them, but few people were granted that trust.

But of course, it could not last forever. Alec’s body, whose feminine curves he had hated, had started becoming more and more masculine over the years, until he was almost not recognizable as Maryse and Robert Lightwood’s first born daughter by the time he was in his early 20s. So the deal had shifted. When a Clave envoy came by, he pretended he was not a Lightwood but rather just a lowly Shadowhunter. He hadn’t minded that freedom. He explored New York more, in those times. His mother wasn’t watching his every step, afraid that their scheme would be discovered.

It was when Max had come to visit from their father’s estate that it had all blown to pieces. Max had no memories of him before he was Alexander, a fact Alec was infinitely grateful for. To Max, he had always been the big brother, the comforter and the helping hand, just as much as Jace was.

The boy had thrown himself in Alec’s arm in front of a Clave Envoy, not realizing what he was doing. It hadn’t taken long for Victor Aldertree to figure out what was going on. After that, it had been a quick and easy decision by the Clave to cast him out and derune him, which had led him to the unfathomable pain he is in now.

When all his runes have been removed, they don’t allow him any time to recover. Earlier they had strapped him to the table with only his underwear, a bra two sizes too small that digs into his chest and a pair of comfortable men’s boxer he bought at a mundane shop. Now, they toss him some clothes, clearly not his fit, too large and too small at the same time, an odd combination that gives him the impression of being a in a giant dwarf’s clothing. They barely wait for him to finish getting dressed before two guards escort him outside of the Institute, and he finds himself thrown on the ground, blissfully soft with the beginning of summer. He gets back up slowly and turns to face them. His eyes are still defiant and angry, but he doesn’t give them the satisfaction of his pleas. The fathom feeling of Izzy’s heartbeat is still there in his chest, and despite knowing he has lost this forever, it reassures him. The guards stay at the door, their hand on their seraph blades. Their stances are as defiant as his glare is; they are daring him to come closer, to come attempt to go back to what has been his home for the last fifteen years.

He doesn’t. Instead, he salutes mockingly and, without turning his back on them, fades into the darkness of the evening’s shadows.

Strangely enough, the fear and panic he had expected to take hold of him as soon as he was thrown out don’t come. The anger, yes. Anger isn’t even the right word. Fury is closer to it, and even then there is something so casual about it. The feeling inside him is powerful and vast, oceans forming and dying in his chest. He is the universe in that moment, creating a world within himself, bringing life and destruction. Life has no meaning beyond breathing, a life of emptiness and liberty.

He is wandering the streets of New York, the night dark and heavy around him, when he hears the scream. He runs towards it without thinking, instinct kicking in despite all that he just went through. He should be exhausted, was until a few moments ago, but the fear in the scream, the terror, he can’t go against that.

He arrives in a dark alley and sees a little girl, skin dark and eyes like galaxies with golden sparks around her face and hands, facing a large demon. It’s instinct again that has him throwing himself in front of her as the demon strikes, reaching for a blade that won’t be there. He pushes the little girl away, shielding her with his body. He hopes that, if he can protect her long enough, she might get to escape and find refuges in places demons like this one dare not to go too often.

Alec turns, and all his defiance of the day is back in his bones. He may not be a shadowhunter anymore, but he had dedicated himself to being a protector, for his family or for his city. He was born a protector, and he might have chosen a name that meant warrior, but it was out of desire to protect.

Despite his weaponless and weakened state, Alec is still lethal. He moves swiftly, almost gliding on the air as he distracts the demon, who is attracted by its new pray. It almost feels he is using runes again, moving like this and grabbing some pipe he finds on the floor to hit. It’s not overly effective, but it does the job of pushing the demon back slightly. If he can just wait until other shadowhunters arrive...

He doesn’t have time. The second strike he attempts is slower, and the demon avoids it easily, before attacking again. It hits Alec in the chest and knocks him on the ground. Claws are digging into his chest, tearing him apart, poison is infiltrating his veins slowly.

A blue spark runs around the demon’s body, and at first it doesn’t seem to notice it, but then the spark gets stronger, stopping his movements and burning him slowly, becoming a fire.

Strange, Alec thinks slowly, his eyelids heavy and his brain falling quiet, warlock magic is usually stronger in the first few seconds.

He hears steps and feels a touch on his brow, but his eyes are already closed, and the last thought he has before falling into darkness is that he never had the opportunity to be fully himself.

---
A gentle light filters through the blinds when he wakes up. Underneath him, the mattress is just firm enough, but he can still comfortably melt on it. Definitely not at the Institute then. He looks around, trying to sit up, but a sharp pain pierces at his chest. He looks down, and there is an asymmetry there, a strange flatness on the left side while the right side is still showing the same hated curves. Bandages are also tightly wound around him, some cream oozing off as he tries to move.

His groans of pain must have brought his host to the room, because the door on the left side springs open and the little girl from last night step back inside again. She smiles shyly and he does his best to answer it as she walks closer. Behind her, a tall man appears in the doorway, skin tan and expensive clothing adorning him. Alec has the feeling he has already met him or seen him, and it takes him a few seconds of squinting before he remembers. The man in the doorway is Magnus Bane, the High Warlock of Brooklyn.

He tries to straighten up again but Bane tuts and glowers slightly, unhappy with him for that.

“Please don’t move, you’ll tear open the stitches if you keep trying. Healing magic isn’t my specialty.”

“That’s Catarina Loss’, right?” Alec croaks out, his throat stinging painfully with dryness.

Bane waves a hand and a cup of water appears near his hand. “A shadowhunter then.”

At Alec’s grimaces, both from the pain of drinking on his own, although the little girl attempts to help him, and from the reminder of his new fallen status, the warlock looks a bit surprised.

“So it’s not simply a glamour. You have been deruned. What’s your name?”

Alec sighs. “Alexander Trueblood.” It may be safer to use his mother’s name for now. Plus... he has been thinking about it, and maybe using it, when his mother is the only parent who helping him, even in her own misguided way, is not that that bad of a thing.

There is a strange gleam, calculating and curious, in the warlock’s eye. He must be aware that the last Trueblood male was his uncle Maxwell, who was deruned years ago.

Magnus Bane is, after all, a very wise and old warlock who has crossed paths with many a shadowhunter along the years. Alec knows the Lightwoods have a history with him, so it would make sense the Truebloods do as well. But still. It’s potentially less dangerous to use that name and despite Magnus’ look, he doesn’t say anything.

So Alec turns to the little girl and smiles as best as he can. “And who might you be?”

“I’m Eve Galivant.” She smiles back shyly and gives him water again. “Thanks for helping me yesterday. That demon was really big!”

He nods, again noting like the previous night her galaxy eyes, and her golden spots around her nose and mouth. He notices also the way her hands seem to shimmer in the light, rainbow like scales adorning her knuckles. She hasn’t mastered her glamour yet, he supposes that she’s too young. She’s beautiful, and when he compliments her she giggles and comes closer to him. Magnus observes them without saying anything, but when Alec glances at him he notices the ready to fight stance he has. He can’t even blame him, doesn’t even think about it; Alec has heard the tales of the Circle and the Clave before them. He has seen trophies in manor of old families, horns and claws proudly shown, and patriarchs boasting of their kills. It had seemed so normal back then, so ingrained in the culture despite the Accords having outlawed them years ago. Alec had always been slightly uneasy at the sight of them, wondering whether it would be him at some point, when they learned about him.

He looks back at Magnus and nods, thankful. “Thank you for healing me. Is Eve your ward?”

He has heard of downworlders taking younger members in, helping them reach their potential and grow safely away from the mundanes. And from the shadowhunters, it would seem.

Magnus nods curtly, clearly wary of the deruned shadowhunter in his guest bedroom. So Alec only smiles gently to Eve and makes sure she wasn’t hurt in the attack.

Weariness starts to fall on him quickly, his body still exhausted from the attack and the older warlock ushers the girl out gently as he fades back into darkness.

He comes back to himself again in the evening, the light almost completely gone. He sits up and when no pain is forthcoming, he looks down and sees that the bandages around his chest are new and more even. He guesses Bane is not the one behind those bandages.

Slowly, he stands up and paddles away from the bed. His body is tired from fighting against the demon’s poison, but there is a bone deep exhaustion he can’t identify. He doesn’t think too much about it for now; he just wants to find something to eat, or someone that will be able to help him with his quest for nourishment.

When he opens the door, he hears soft voices coming from a bit further away. The conversation becomes clearer as he walks toward it.

“— in no way or shape a danger to Eve, Magnus,” a feminine voice say, calm and poised.

“Still, they are a shadowhunter, deruned or not. They could still be a threat.” Bane answers in a slightly less calm voice. “I can’t believe I took them in, after everything.”

“Eve asked you to. They saved her.”

“That might be the first time a shadowhunter willingly sacrifices themselves for a Shadow Child.”

“It’s uncommon, yes, but this one did. Give them the benefit of the doubt.”

“They lied about their identity. There is no Alexander Trueblood anywhere in the Clave records.”

It’s then that Alec steps in the room. “Who did you ask?”

He ignores the surprised startles of both persons in the room, only looking at Bane. The warlock turns to him, brown eyes looking through Alec’s very soul. It sends a shiver down his spine, and he doesn’t know if it’s in fear or in admiration.

“I asked the local Head of Institute.” He answers, a bit haughtily, but mostly defensive. He crosses his arms to mark his point and his biceps bulge the satin shirt he is wearing.

“Maryse Lightwood.”

“Yes, and she assured me there is no more Truebloods. And she would know, she’s the last one in the Clave.”

Crossing his arms as well, Alec glares at the warlock. “You spoke to my mother then.”

Understanding dawns slowly on Bane’s guest, who tugs on his sleeve and gives him a hard look. There is a few seconds of silent communication between the two, before Alec’s host relaxes in his seat.

“Fine, I’ll overlook your little identity mishap, mister Trueblood. Mister, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” Alec retorts, aware of his chest still in bandage and fully visible, “Alec is enough.”

He turns to the woman sitting next to the warlock and recognizes from the Clave’s files Catarina Loss. That explains the lack of pain and the better applied bandage. She’s more beautiful in person, parts of her glamour down. Her hair is a beautiful white that reminds him of freshly fallen snow. He extends a hand to her, which she takes and shakes softly.

“An honor to meet you, miss Loss,” he says and means it.

She gives him a brief smile. “I’m glad to see you’re back on your feet, Alec.”

He nods, “Thanks to you and Magnus, I believe.” He turns to Magnus at that point. “Thank you for saving me last night, I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t burned that demon.”

Magnus frowns, a bit surprised. “You’re welcome, but I didn’t burn it. Neither did Eve, for that matter. When I arrived, the fire was leaving and the demon was dead.”

Alec frowns as well. There hadn’t been anyone else in the alley. Or maybe he simply hadn’t noticed them, and they had left before Magnus could see them. The magic had been so strange, unlike any Alec had seen before. It had worked so differently, but it had felt so natural, so peaceful, as the monster had burned. He doesn’t dwell on the mysterious stranger who apparently rescued him.

“You were deruned recently?” Catarina asks, noticing the tension in both men’s shoulders.

Alec winces and nods. “Yes. Yesterday.”

“May we ask why?”

With a scoff, Alec points at himself. “Have you seen who I am? A freak. A monster. The Clave can’t have a trans shadowhunter running around. I’m going against the wish of the angels or some bullshit.”

They both look horrified now. The two warlocks exchange a glance before Bane stands back up smoothly, his gestures full of an innate grace that Alec begrudgingly admire.

“If that’s the case,” he says and waves a hand, a glass of water appearing for Alec in his hand, that he extends to him, “you’re welcome here anytime. You can stay here until you find a place on your own as well. Eve has taken a liking to you and she would dislike for me to kick you out.”

Alec accepts the glass and drinks it slowly. “Where is she?”

Cat smiles a bit and points to the corridor. “Blue door. She wanted to wait for you for dinner. Would you mind going to get her?”

He shakes his head and leaves the room. As he walks away, he hears her saying to Magnus, “See, he can’t be that bad, can he?” He doesn’t hear the warlock’s answer, knocking on the blue door, which flies open quickly enough.

The room inside is beautiful, decorated carefully with models of planets and an aquarium shines on the side. Eve is coloring a book on a bright blue carpet, and when she turns her whole face lights up as she sees Alec.

“Mister Alexander!” She runs up to him and stops in front of him. Her smile is bright and and happy. She clearly wants to reach out to him and hug him, but she has her eyes on his bandage and doesn’t move instead.

“Hi miss Eve,” he answers and smiles, opening his arms slowly.

She takes the cue and comes to hug him happily. “Thank you for helping me mister Alexander! I’m glad you are better! I was very worried but Magnus said you were going to be alright once Catarina was there so I wasn’t worried as much after that!”

He smiles at the exuberance of the little girl. She can’t be much older than 7, full of childish excitement and still blind to the ugliness of the world. She doesn’t question his chest, doesn’t question that he helped her. She probably doesn’t have much knowledge of shadowhunters.

“I’m doing much better thanks to you too. I know you were the one to get Magnus so that he could help me with the big demon!” He crouches to her level and smiles. “That was a very brave thing to do, coming back when you knew what was in the alley.”

“I knew I was going to be fine! I saw you light up the demon on fire, mister! I knew you were protecting me.” She nods sagely, unaware of the effects her words are having on Alec.

Him, the cause of that blue fire? That couldn’t be. He didn’t have a stele, or anything else. She is mistaken, obviously. Probably hasn’t seen the stranger who helped them and then ran off. He can’t have started a fire with only his desire to do so. He is a Nephilim, not a warlock. He has no magic, except the one from his runes, and that one was stripped away from him the previous day.

“Did you now?” He smiles instead and pats her hair. “Doesn’t make you any less brave. Catarina said it was time for dinner, do you want to go with me? I don’t know Magnus and Catarina like you do, so maybe you can help me?”

She beams at the suggestion and takes his hand, leading him towards the kitchen. She chatters all the while, and he loses himself in her stories and opinions. Eve appears to be, despite her young age, very determined on many things in life, and most of all she wants to go see the stars from “very close, mister Alec.” He doesn’t doubt that she will.

The kitchen is a mess of pans and vegetables half cut up, Magnus and Catarina frustratingly trying to finish the meal. It seems that the two warlocks, immortal beings with magic bleeding from their veins and a cloud of grace dancing around them, are somewhat lost in the kitchen. Alec isn’t much better, to be quite honest, but he at least knows that Magnus should not be holding the potato that way to peel it. He wonders briefly why they don’t use magic to do all this, before the little hand in his reminds him why. They are probably trying to show to Eve that magic doesn’t do everything and that she should still learn to do things the mundane way. He finds it endearing.

“Do you want some help,” he asks as he lifts Eve up, who giggles slightly, and puts her on a chair. “I know how to peel potatoes, if needed.”

Magnus glowers at him slightly, but there is no real heat behind it. He accepts Alec’s help by extending to him the potatoes and the peeler. A bit tired, Alec sits next to Eve and starts peeling the potatoes. The girl asks questions after questions, and he answers them patiently as he works at his task. It’s relaxing to have something to do with his hands. He yearns for his bow to practice, but he knows it’s lost to him forever now. If he manage to find a way to get some money, he could potentially get a new one. It would never be the same quality as his own, made with adamas and blessed by Raphael, but it would be a new one at least.

He only notices that he has peeled all the potatoes because he almost peel his own skin off accidentally. Eve stops him before he can do it, her eyes big and scared for him. He doesn’t know if him helping her is worthy of all this affection, but he’ll take it gladly. He’s glad that here, no one seems to judge him for who he is. It feels relaxing.

It’s only when he is finishing cutting some tomatoes that he notices he is still not wearing a shirt. He looks at Bane and gestures to himself.

“I don’t suppose my shirt survived last night?”

“Sadly, your terribly dry and boring black Clave issued shirt has indeed passed away due to the demon attacking you.” He snaps his fingers and fabric covers Alec suddenly, a black hoodie falling on his head. “You can borrow this, however. It should be your size.”

Giving a thankful nod, Alec puts on the hoodie with some difficulty. The pain in his body is mostly gone, but his left arm is still sore and somewhat numb, and it makes dressing somewhat awkward. He manages to put it on on his own though, and then helps with finishing dinner. Eve and Catarina are chatting together and Alec and Magnus are nearly shoulder to shoulder as they cook. Alec is not a great cook, far from it. But he knows how to follow instructions, at least. So when Magnus hands him out the recipe and starts telling him what to do in a quiet voice, he obeys.

Afterward, their meal is quite good. Eve clearly enjoys it, if the way the golden specks on her face seem to sparkle is of any indication. It’s sweet, truly. Alec stays quiet for most of the meal, his tiredness catching up with him. When he starts yawning at too regular intervals, and Eve is as well, Catarina ushers them both to bed. She checks on Alec’s bandage and gives him a potion to drink. Despite the unnatural green color of the liquid, Alec listens to Catarina’s orders and drinks it. Not five minutes late, he falls into a dreamless sleep.

Chapter Text

He wakes up with the rising sun, more rested than he has been in the last ten years. In his mind, there is a quiet thrum of worry, of anger and pain, but he can’t identify the source immediately. It’s too thin, too disparate. It takes him a few minutes of intense focus, going through a couple of breathing exercises he learnt years ago, before he realizes what it is. /Izzy./ He had known that Parabatai bonds, by their holy nature and their complexity, could take days to fade, but being faced with the truth of it breaks his heart more than he believed possible. He pushes back the tears that sting at his eyes. Izzy can also feel the pain, the sadness emanating from him, he knows that. He doesn’t want to add to her own by starting to sob like a child. He’s stronger than this now.

Instead he stands up and finds clothes folded on a chair by a door that wasn’t there yesterday. Pushing it open, he discovers a bathroom, fully equipped and with more products that he could ever need. When he opens the cabinet, he’s astonished to find his own treatment, the one he had had to leave at the Institute. The one he thought he would have to struggle to get back on. Relief fills him, one sweeping motion that pushes back some of the tension in his shoulders. He steps under the shower and takes a few seconds to figure it out before a stream of boiling hot water starts pouring on him. He jumps back with a curse and turns down the heat, bringing it to a tolerable temperature as he steps back under the water. There are much more bottles than he ever had at the Institute, and he picks the one that smells the least like some kind of flower, using it for both his hair, in which there is still demon ichor, and for his body.

After getting dressed, he goes to find the kitchen. Apart from last night’s meal, he hasn’t eaten in three days, and his body is starting to really want more food.

Eve is coloring again when he comes inside the kitchen, and Bane is struggling with a pan and what appears to be mishandled eggs. Alec assumes they are eggs, considering the color, but the shape and the general smell of it is not that of egg.

“Good morning,” he says with a smile for Eve, who lights up like the sun and turns in her chair, the chair breaking the law of physics in about a hundred ways to allow the little girl to remain seated as she hugs the Nephilim.

Bane nods to him. “How are you feeling this morning?”

“Well now that the bandages are off, much better. Is Miss Loss still here?”

The warlock chuckles a bit. “You can call her Catarina, Alexander. And no, she went back last night after making sure you were alright. She’ll drop by in the afternoon though, she has a proposition for you. Meanwhile, would you like some breakfast?”

He tilts the pan so Alec can see the content, and his guest’s slight wince doesn’t escape him. He sighs heavily.

“I haven’t cooked for someone in years, you’ll excuse me. I would have made waffles, but miss Eve here said eggs were good to help with regaining strength, so eggs it was.”

Glancing at the little girl, who is back to being absorbed by her drawings, Magnus snaps his fingers and the burnt eggs disappear, to let place to well cooked eggs with a side of bacon. It makes Alec smile slightly, all this carefulness around the youngest warlock. Making sure that she knows her powers aren’t to be taken for granted, that her abilities are limited, it seems very parental. Alec doesn’t know the story, doesn’t feel like he has a right to ask yet, but he wonders how she came to live with Magnus. Instead, he settles for eating his breakfast silently.

He doesn’t know what to do now. He isn’t a shadowhunter anymore, the Clave excommunicated him, and he has no idea what to do in this new mundane life. But he isn’t fully mundane either; he’s Nephilim. Angel blood runs through his veins, no matter how thinly. If he had a stele, he might attempts to simply redraw the runes, but the idea is strange to him. He feels bare without the runes, he had almost not recognized himself in the mirror without the deflect rune on his neck. Runes are, he knows it, a sign of the favor of the angels. He doesn’t deserve it. He might have been one of the best shadowhunter of the New York Institute, born in a respected family with a prominent position in the Clave, the simple fact that they deruned him and exiled him for daring to be himself speaks volume. Maybe, if he manages to get a hold of a seraph blade, of a bow and some arrows, he could still hunt.

Eve distracts him away from his thoughts with a slight cough, clearly put on. Warlocks cannot catch any of the mundane sickness, their demon blood burns it all before it can even attempt to germ. The little girl is looking at him, and then points at her drawing.

“Look mister Alec, it’s you!”

And indeed, the drawing shows a childish rendition of him, astonishingly well drawn for a child her age. There is a blade in his hand, burning blue, and in the other he holds an arrow. He looks savage, somewhat wild. His eyes, in the drawing, have lost all the white, they are black orbs of anger and unlimited power. It makes him shiver. Around him, there is a soft glowing blue aura, and the faint outlines of wings.

He looks up to Magnus, and the other warlock looks as shocked as he is. He crouches next to Eve at the table and smiles gently, caressing the girl’s hair.

“Eve, darling, why did you draw him like that?”

“Because I saw it!” She answers excitedly. “My dream showed me mister Alec with a big sword and a bow, and there was two ladies with him, one tall and one small, and also another mister but he was blond!”

The frown on both men’s faces deepens.

“Do you know the names of those people?” Magnus asks gently again, making sure to keep his voice soft.

The little girl is starting to look a bit worried and she looks back and forth between Alec and Magnus before shaking her head. “The tall lady was very strong and she looked like mister Alec but I don’t know her name. And the blond mister had weird eyes but not like me!”

Isabelle and Jace then. Eve had, without ever meeting Alec’s siblings, seen them in a dream. Where he apparently had a flaming blue sword.

“Well it’s a beautiful drawing Eve,” Alec says finally, giving her a shaky smile, but it’s the best he can manage at the moment. She doesn’t seem to notice; her own smile becomes larger and she hugs him lightly.

“Go get dressed sweetpea,” Magnus says. “We are going to practice your magic a bit this morning.”

The little girl shrieks happily and runs off to her bedroom, leaving the two men together. They look at each other a bit uneasily.

“Does she have prophetic dreams?” Alec breaks the silence first, eyes still fixed to the drawing.

“Not until today, she hadn’t. Those people she mentioned... you know them?”

He nods, sighing. “Jace Wayland is, I think, the blond man. I don’t know who the small woman could be, but the tall one who looks like me has to be Isabelle. My sister. And my ex-parabatai.”

“Isabelle Lightwood?”

Alec nods. There is no going back now. Magnus probably knew already his Clave ordained name and he had already given up that Maryse is his mother. He isn’t ashamed of the fact, but still.

“So you truly are the oldest child of Maryse and Robert Lightwood... I assume you picked Trueblood for your mother?”

Alec nods again, words escaping him again. His mother had been supportive, or at least more so than the man he had once called father. Robert Lightwood was a pathetic, cowardly man, who had no love for his children, but rather wanted them to be soldiers and leaders. Maryse had high expectations of them all as well, it was true. It had often be choking at time, but there had always be a layer of love and support. During Alec’s trial, she had stood by him, had tried to have his sentence expunged or reduced, to no avail. His father, who had been forced for appearance’s sake to be there, had simply looked at Alec like he had no idea who this disgusting stranger was.

“Then, mister Trueblood,” Magnus’ voice sends him tumbling out of his own mind. “I believe my ward just predicted something concerning you and your family.”

It isn’t quite a shock to hear Magnus keep using the name he gave him previously, but he certainly wasn’t expecting it. Over the years, he has gotten so used to his wishes being ignored, dismissed, belittled. The respect he is shown here is a bit disconcerting, but extremely appreciated.

“I have another question though,” Magnus continues and taps the eyes of the Alec in the drawing. “Are you sure you are just a Nephilim? Usually, eyes like this...”

“Means demonic heritage, yes, I’m aware,” Alec answers tensely. “But as far as I know, yes, I’m fully Nephilim. Both my parents are, I have no warlock mark and no magic. You can make a test, if you want.”

Magnus nods. “I think I’ll ask Cat to do exactly that.” He turns away and starts walking, but stops before he reaches the open door. “Would you like to assist to Eve’s magical training? She’s incredibly comfortable with you.”

Alec recognizes the honor that it is, but also Magnus’ trust in his care for Eve. Folding the paper and putting it in the back pocket of the pants Magnus lended him, he nods and follows the warlock to a training room, behind a grey door that Alec is sure wasn’t there the previous day. He guesses Magnus uses his magic to rearrange the space of the apartment to his whims and desires, which would explain the new bathroom in his bedroom. He recognizes the power it takes to be able to do that; it’s not moving things around and creating potions, it’s bending the laws of reality to your own will and forcing them to follow your own rule. Alec knows, from his reading at the Academy and at the Institute, that Magnus is a powerful warlock, but powerful doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Eve is waiting inside the training room, her galaxy eyes shining with excitement and anticipation. When she sees Alec, she grins happily and sits a little straighter on the golden pillow she chose. While Magnus goes to sit with the little girl, Alec finds himself a comfortable spot against the mirrored wall.

“Alright sweetpea,” Magnus starts, “let’s work on glamour alright? If you want to go to mundane school, you have to know how to do this.”

The little girl nods wisely, all her mirth gone to let place to deep focus.

Magnus walks her through the different steps of glamour, and she repeats them slowly, the words dancing around her. When she manages it, Magnus claps with a proud smile. The golden marks on her face have disappeared, and she now looks like she simply has vitiligo, a more simple condition to explain than the golden spots from before. The scales on her hands are gone as well. The most astounding transformation is her eyes however. When Alec looks, instead of the pools of swirling blue, purple, pink and gold he is used to, two hazel irises, mirroring his own exact shade, are there.

“Sweetpea, last time we did this, your eyes were a very nice green. You have to be consistent.” Magnus chides her gently, but the little girl shrugs.

“I’ve decided that now they are like Mister Alec. Don’t you think Mister Alec has really pretty eyes, Mags?”

Magnus chuckles slightly and looks toward Alexander. “Yes, he certainly does.”

Alec doesn’t blush, but his ears warm up slightly and he is glad no one is talking to him because he is certain he wouldn’t be able to answer if they did.

After that, Magnus and Eve practice their magic together. Eve’s magic is a beautiful lilac in its natural state, while Magnus is a deep blue with sometimes swirls of turquoise.

Alec looks more closely at Magnus. The man is attractive, definitely. Alec has pushed away all the attraction he has ever felt toward any male person since he understood that yes, he was definitely attracted to men. His reasoning had been that he was already trans, he didn’t need to add more issues to the burning mess that was his life. But now, he’s free of the Clave, free of the shadowhunter life, free of Nephilim society. So he looks.

Magnus is beautiful, with strong shoulder and a well defined jaw line. He’s tall, maybe slightly shorter than Alec, who inherited from his mother’s side of the family his height. When he uses his magic, Magnus’ face is open and once or twice Alec glimpses a golden hue in the brown shade. The muscles that bulge under his shirt are a clear proof to the man’s strength and well kept physique.

Magnus’ displays of power and control are definitely attractive traits in Alec’s eyes. It’s not hard for him to acknowledge the fact that Magnus is an extremely attractive man with more than handsome features, and a definite kindness that led him to take in both the young Eve, but also Alexander, a Nephilim he has no reason to trust. But Alec isn’t in any position to be getting a crush, or anything like that. So instead of focusing on the potential attraction he could feel for the man, he focuses on the man’s strength, on his abilities.

Magnus Bane is the High Warlock of Brooklyn, and not for no reason. He’s powerful, and it almost feels like he is truly brimming with powers. The brief thought that Magnus is not actually meant to be corporeal this way, but rather should be a well of magic, profound and ancient, goes through Alec’s mind. The High Warlock teaches Eve with great patience and care, explaining every step to the little girl. It’s tender, and caring, and there is something that tells Alec the older never got to experience that kind of teaching. Maybe it’s in the way the warlock’s magic doesn’t heal well, in the way it sometimes flares red, but there is something that screams of pain and suffering. Magnus is a weapon, a breakable, human weapon, whose kindness and gentle eyes stops anyone from seeing it.

“Mister Alec!” Eve is back to her unglamorized self and she is sending sparkles around herself, looking truly like a star. “Come practice your magic with me!”

Alec smiles gently. “I don’t have any magic Eve. I’m not a warlock like you and Magnus.”

“But I saw you in my dream! And you burned the demon!”

Alec shakes his head. “Nephilim, that means people like me, we can’t use magic, so I think another warlock was there and helped me before you came back.”

She frowns, pouts and is about to say something else when Magnus interrupts her gently. “Sweetpea, it’s alright. We can keep practicing together, and Mister Alec can train as well if he wants to.”

With those words, Magnus snaps his fingers and has a staff and a complicated machinery designed for training appear on the other side of the room, which has expanded by at least a few meters since then. Alec smiles, thankful. He had been thinking about training, about staying in shape. He gets up and smiles to the little girl, nodding thankfully to the older man. The clothes he’s wearing are stretchy enough to allow him to train, but they aren’t styled like his usual one. It should be fine though. He had to learn how to fight in a dress and heels. Too tight pants and large t-shirts? He can deal with that anytime.

He grabs the staff and starts to train, his mind finally going blank, completely focused on the stretch of his arms and the movements. He doesn’t hit with grace or fluidity. At the moment, it’s only about strength. He hits the target with all his might, all the years of training he suffered through, all the patrols he took on by himself, all the pain of being separated from the other half of his soul. He burns with anger, relentless anger that seeps from every pore of his being. All the resentment, all the anger, all the fury that he has been holding in himself is condensed into every single of his hits.

“Mister Alec?” Eve’s voice is so hesitant, sounding a tad scared, and he stops immediately, reminded of where he is.

He turns to her and she is looking up at him with wide eyes, the usual pink and blue swirls replaced by grey and green ones. He lets go of the staff and crouches on her level, doing his best to appear as non threatening as he can. Behind her, Magnus is observing with concern, but magic swirls around his fingers. Alec knows he is getting ready for a fight. The fact that Magnus doesn’t trust him around Eve doesn’t concern him overly, but it does make him realize what kind of spectacle he was giving. So he opens his hand and extends his palm to Eve, who takes it gently.

“Are you alright Mister Alec?”

“I’m fine,” he says with his gentlest tone. “Did I scare you?”

She shakes her head a bit shyly. “I knew you weren’t going to hurt me but you were hitting the thing very hard… Mags says that sometimes when we are angry we do things we shouldn’t do, like exploding the lightbulbs. Is that what you were doing?”

He’s caught off by how wise the little girl is already. “You’re very smart.” He answers her smile gently. “You are right that I shouldn’t do this. But sometimes it’s difficult for me to not be very angry. But I’m trying very hard not to be.”

She nods. “Mags says that when we are angry we should do something that makes us happy. What do you like to do, mister Alec?”

He thinks for a few seconds. “Well… I like …”

He realizes suddenly that he doesn’t really know what he likes truly. The only thing he would do whenever he had some free time was to read, but the books in the Institute library were quite horrendous and quite boring. He had lived only for shadowhunting, breathed only to follow the Clave’s insane orders. Now that he is free, now that he doesn’t have anything to do anymore, he has no idea what he truly likes. What do mundanes do? Watch movies, read books, go on walks? Izzy liked to show him mundane movies every once in a while, but he was usually too exhausted to watch them with her.

Magnus watches Alexander flounder and get flustered, looks at him as he thinks, face slack in astonishment. He wonders why Nephilim grew that way. Why they forgot their humanity to become only killing machines, repressing emotions and becoming shields. He sometimes thinks quite bitterly that the Shadow Kinds, those the Shadowhunters call the Downworlders, are much more human than the Nephilim. Even the Seelies, in all their non-humanity, are more apt at being human than the soldiers of the Angels.

Alec comes back to himself with a jolt, realizing that Eve is still looking up at him, eyes sad.

“Say, do you want to learn new tricks? You won’t even need your magic.”

She brightens up and looks at him. “You’re going to teach me to fight the big mean demons like you did?”

He nods and looks towards Magnus. “If that’s alright with you?”

Truth be told, Magnus would rather keep Eve away from all Nephilim. She’s too young, too innocent. She doesn’t understand the danger of running around their kind. But then, if Eve ever finds herself powerless, knowing how to defend herself this way would be useful. So he nods and makes a new, smaller staff appear for the young girl. She squeals excitedly and tries to put herself in the same defensive stance Alec had earlier.

With a smile, the young Nephilim corrects her posture and starts teaching her. It’s nothing like teaching at the Institute, nothing like his own education had been. He remembers the fights with Hodge, the long training sessions that left him and Izzy broken and tired, holding onto each other tightly. When Jace had joined their family, he had had no trouble following along Hodge’s training and orders, but he had still come to stay with them after the sessions. They had relinquished in each other’s presence.

He snaps back to the present when a small staff whips at his knee. Eve looks proud of herself so he smiles and nods. He trains her for a little while, content in showing her how to move her staff easily, how to protect herself best. This and her magic, and when she grows up she’ll be a fearsome warlock.

They take a break for lunch, Catarina arriving with two pizzas. Her glamour falls as soon as she passes the front door and Alec sees her blue skin for the first time. Still, he isn’t shocked, he simply says hello and goes back to drawing with Eve. He has no talent, that’s for sure, but he finds the movements and the colors soothing. Eve chatters all throughout dinner, clearly quite comfortable with the three adults around her, and she tells Catarina all about learning how to fight. The white-haired warlock is suitably impressed and tells the girl so, promising to teach her more healing magic soon.

Alec is shooed away by Magnus after the meal when he tries to help with the dishes. Eve tuts at him as well and haughtily informs him that Catarina has to talk to him, and she’s a very important person, so he shouldn’t make her wait. He obeys with bubbling laughter, feeling freer here than ever before.

It’s strange, he should be panicking, be completely freaked out and disturbed by the fact that he was deruned two days ago and that he is now living with two warlocks. But he is calmer than he has ever been. The only thing that disturbs him is the sensation of absence he has in his heart, the complete disappearance of half of his soul. He misses Izzy more than he misses anything in the world. Her absence is like a missing limb; for nearly ten years, he had had her emotions mingle with his, her reactions echo his in perfect harmony. Now, there is only a fathom thrum, low and dying.

But that’s truly the only thing that really bothers him. Yes, he misses his family, misses his brothers and mother, but he had suffocated in the Institute, in the Clave. Having to pretend he didn’t exist, that he was someone else, it had gotten too much. Yes, he would have preferred to remain a shadowhunter, to still have the angels’ blessing and protection. But it didn’t happen that way, and there is nothing he can do now to change it.

He finds Catarina on the balcony, looking over at the city. She’s beautiful, he has to admit. She pulses magic in a way that’s similar and yet completely opposed to Magnus. Maybe he only thinks that because he has only been in contact with her magic when she was healing him, but hers is a quieter sort of magic. While Magnus is an explosion, a bright, never ending well of magic, Catarina is a blanket of plush feather, gentle and soothing. She has the potential for action, he knows that, but he has a feeling that she would rather make use of her magic by healing rather than destroying.

“Magnus said you had a proposition for me?”

She smiles quietly and nods.

“I’ve noticed, while healing you, that your chest showed marks of binding tightly. I’m assuming that you did not have access to a safe binder at the Institute?”

Alec shakes his head, looking away. He knows he shouldn’t have used the bandages all that time, had read about it damaging bodies, but seeing his chest almost flat, with only the slightest of curve under the sports bra and the bandages... it had been worth the pain, the constantly reapplied iratzes, the near fainting while fighting. Since the demon attack here, he hasn’t worn my binder or anything else than the bandages they put around his chest to help him heal. But he has also realized that his left breast has been reduced to almost noting due to the demon’s claw. There is a crisscross scar in its place, and Alec can’t even begin to explain how pleasing that feels.

“While you’re recovering, I’m going to ask you to not do that. Especially now that you don’t have runes to fall back on. However, I understand how much this means to you and I want to help you. If you agree to it, I would like to find a way to help you attain the flat chest you’re looking for.”

His brain, his heart, everything in him stutters. Conflicting opinions press against his mind. He hears his mother’s voice, resigned and sad as she last kissed his cheek, “it’s the will of the Angels.” He thinks of Izzy’s whispers, her sweet acceptance and repeated support. He sees Jace, who had called him brother as soon as he told him, who made sure he could always slip away when things got too bad. He feels Max’s last hug, his tear-streamed face, his yells when they had taken away Alec.

Looking back to Catarina, he asks in a soft tone, “What would that entail?”

She smiles kindly and starts explaining him the procedure in a gentle voice. He listens attentively as she talks about the spells and the things she would need, as well as the rest he would need to take. She maintains a calm, professional attitude all throughout, and this calms him down more than anything else.

“Alright,” he nods when she finishes talking, “let’s do this.”

Chapter Text

Magnus remains somewhat stone faced when Catarina tells him what her and Alec have planned. The other warlock had informed him of the proposition she had for Alec beforehand, but he hadn’t truly envisaged that it would really happen. It’s not that he doesn’t want Alexander to get this surgery, if one can call it that when two warlocks, including one without medical experience, will be the ones to do the procedure. It’s more that he doesn’t want to be responsible for a Nephilim. This one might be quite kind, and might have rescued Eve, for which he is very thankful, but he remains a Nephilim. The very people Magnus tries his hardest to avoid at all cost. They are cruel and cold, and they have no heart.

He does feel slightly guilty thinking that of young Alexander, who has been nothing but kind since he woke up. His attitude towards Magnus’ ward indicates experience with children, and he apparently doesn’t differentiate warlock children from Nephilim ones. In addition to this, the young mister Trueblood has much reason to hate the Clave. He was, after all, deruned only two days ago and separated from his parabatai. Magnus, while not being intimately aware of the details, knows how heart wrenching that can be. And yet Alexander stays strong. It’s admirable.

The point remains, Magnus doesn’t want to be responsible for a Nephilim. It’s bad for business, and bad form for the High Warlock of Brooklyn. Catarina takes a hard look at him, excuses them from Alexander’s company, and drags him to the balcony.

“Magnus Bane,” she says immediately, “what are you thinking, looking like that at the poor boy?”

“He’s 22, hardly a boy anymore,” Magnus protests, magicking himself a cocktail in his hands as he sits on a chair.

“Oh don’t start playing with details. You are staring at him like he’s the devil incarnate.”

“I’ve seen the devil and he’s much less handsome, that’s for sure.”

She hits him across the shoulder. “Stop that and start explaining yourself.”

“He is a Nephilim.” He sighs. “Who knows what kind of troubles will come from being associated with him? I have to think of Eve, of protecting her and making sure she’s safe. He’s from the Lightwood family! He’s the son of Maryse and Robert Lightwood. Don’t tell me you don’t remember where they were right before the Uprising. Valentine’s right hand. For now he might look nice and clean cut, but what if he is just like his parents?”

Catarina sits across from him as he drinks his cocktail. “And you would deny him the chance to be happy because of his parents? I thought you would know better than that. You have seen him with Eve, he almost lost his life to protect her when he had just been deruned. I can’t take him at my place, and right now he doesn’t have anywhere to go. He’ll only be in recovery for a few days. He’s been muzzled his whole life, he deserves a chance to be himself.”

He knows she’s right. He knows that, were Alexander anything else than a Nephilim, anyone else but the Lightwoods' heir, he would agree in a heartbeat. He sighs again and nods his head.

“Very well. You’re right. Let’s help him.”

---

Alec’s body has always been used to pain, from his first training when he was six, to every day of his life. However, He isn’t used to being allowed to feel pain, to being asked about his pain.

The procedure went well, according to what Catarina told him when they woke him up from the magical slumber they put him in. He hasn’t been allowed to look at his chest yet, but even through the large bandages and the padded protection, he can see that it’s much flatter than before.

It’s been three days since Catarina and Magnus weaved their magic on his body, which means it’s been close to a week since he has been deruned. Most of it has been spent sleeping, strangely enough. He supposes that after ten years of short naps and little rest, he’s allowed to sleep late in the mornings and early in the evenings.

When he doesn’t sleep, Eve keeps him company. She hasn’t drawn anything like that first drawing again, and has mentioned no dream, even at Alec’s promptings. Were it not for her galaxy eyes and golden sparks, he would believe she is a mundane child. She’s sweet and carefree, and she loves playing games. She has recently learned how to read, and to her guardian’s amusement as well as Alec’s, she has taken to dramatically read out loud her books, almost performing them. Alec is fully ready to believe she has picked up that tendency from Magnus.

The High Warlock is still cautious towards him. It doesn’t exactly pain Alec, that reaction, but he wishes they could get along better. If he truly is to stay here for a while, his host should at least feel at ease around him.

That’s why, on the fourth morning after his surgery, he wakes up earlier than the other days and, careful not to overstretch his torso, pulls on some large clothes. He heads to the kitchen, eyes set on Eve’s door. The little girl sometimes has such a perfect timing he wonders whether she’s spying on him or if her sense of hearing is that keen.

Quietly, he looks through the cupboards, trying to find what he needs for breakfast. It’s somewhat of an arduous task since he can’t move his arms too much, but also because, ever since he got here, he’s had no time to try and cook for himself and he has no idea where anything is. He manages though, and starts on pancakes. It’s relatively simple, and he thinks it’ll make both Eve and her guardian happy. He really wants to find a way to thank them for what they did for him. He knows they think that rescuing Eve was something extraordinary of him, because he’s Nephilim and, up until very recently, was a Shadowhunter. But a child is a child, and in terms of monsters he has no right to judge. The Clave probably thinks that he’s worse than a Downworlder. He has corrupted the body the Angels gave him, has made it into a twisted imitation of manhood.

That’s what they would say. But Alec has stopped thinking that way a while ago. Yes, he’s sometimes plagued by those thoughts, but there is always the warm presence of Izzy’s heartbeat in his soul, reassuring him that he’s still blessed by the angels, that his integrity is still unbroken. Had the Angels truly been unhappy with him, they would have surely punished him directly and not through the Clave.

He’s just finishing up with the dough, which looks a bit too thick, when he feels the tug of pain in his soul. It’s not his own pain, but Izzy’s, stronger than ever and burning brighter than a forest fire. He shouldn’t still be feeling it, he shouldn’t still be bonded to his parabatai; the rune was one of the first they removed, whether it was by cruelty for him, since it was one of the most painful, or by pity for Izzy, to avoid her feeling her brother’s pain through their bond. The effects of the break shouldn’t have lasted over a week, and especially not that strongly. This time, it’s almost stronger than ever before. He doesn’t think she’s dying, he doesn’t even think she feels any physical pain, but the hurt inside her, the emotions she has been holding within her for the past week are all coming crashing down on her, and by extension him.

The hurt is intense and he drops the spatula he was holding, trying to breathe through it. He tries to block it somewhat, like he would usually, but his heart, his soul, every cell of his being yearns for Izzy and refuses the block. Tears leak from the corners of his eyes as he puts his head against the marble counter of the kitchen. He tries to soothe Izzy through their bond, tries to communicate to her that he’s fine, but he only feels confusion and denial when that happens, so he gives up and accepts the wave of unstoppable sadness.

A few minutes later, a ringed hand slowly touches his shoulder and he looks up. He must have completely forgotten his own surroundings, because as soon as he takes in something else, the pain in his heart lessen.

Magnus is staring at him with worried eyes, so different from his usual slight distrust. It softens his face beautifully, the sharpness of his jawline and his carefully styled hair much less intimidating with the soft downturn of his mouth and the concerned gleam in his irises. The only thought that passes by Alec’s mind in that moment is that Magnus is maybe the most divine man he’s ever seen. It’s a sudden thought, and yet not surprising. Since the first time he saw him, Alec has known Magnus is an attractive man. But the softness around him now awakens that thought in Alec.

“Alexander, what’s wrong?” His voice is gentle and calm.

“Izzy,” Alec gasps, pained still. “She’s... I don’t know, she’s hurt inside...”

Words escape him still, he doesn’t have any idea how to explain what it feels like to feel someone’s pain like this. Magnus seems to understand somehow still, and gently he places both his hands on his guest’s shoulders, slowly grounding him in the moment. It helps, the quiet touches, the silent presence. Alec regains his breath with torturous slowness, but when he comes back to himself, Magnus is still there.

It’s strange, this development in the bond that was supposed to be broken. Alec isn’t supposed to feel Izzy anymore. He’s supposed to be alone, alone and abandoned, away from all he knows, all he loves, all he is. Was.

But he isn’t alone. In his heart, he somehow still has Izzy, although he doesn’t know how it happened. There is also Eve, kind and strong, who welcomed him and loves him for no other reasons than he helped her; Catarina, who decided to give him what he has always wanted after meeting him, because she knows the importance of love and kindness, even towards those she doesn’t know; Magnus and his mistrust. Magnus, who is wary of him for reasons outside of his control, but who still allowed him to stay in his home, who still cares for him and just helped him through the panic of the new development of the bond.

Magnus, whose eyes are fixed on him still, checking that he’s truly fine.

“Alexander,” he asks again. “Are you feeling better?” At Alec’s weak nod, he continues, “I’m sorry to ask this, but you are deruned, aren’t you? The parabatai bond... it should be broken, isn’t it?”

Alec nods weakly as he hoists himself up on the counter, the marble cold against his thighs but very much welcome.

“Yes, I’ve been... they took off the rune first. I don’t understand how I can still feel her. And...” he hesitates a bit. This is a warlock, after all. Should he really be saying this to a man who hates Shadowhunters and who doesn’t want anything to do with them? Strangely, Alec feels like he can trust Magnus. So he keeps speaking. “It’s strange too. Before, I knew and I could feel her pain, but it wasn’t incapacitating like this. Now, I feel her emotions almost as strongly as my own. I don’t think it could get any stronger if she were right beside me.”

“Would the separation explain it?” Magnus suggests, looking dubious at his own words. “Maybe the bond grows exponentially before breaking off completely?”

Alec shakes his head. “Not that I’m aware of. It’s normal to have fathom feelings for a few days after the separation, but this much? It’s unheard of, or at least not recorded in Clave authorized books.”

Magnus looks thoroughly unimpressed by his last sentence. “Maybe I should do some digging in my own library then. It’s filled with non-Clave approved books, a true delight.”

Alec laughs a bit, low in his throat. The look of surprise tells him that maybe he hasn’t been that way with Magnus yet. Maybe he’s kept all the laughter and gentleness for Eve. Clearly, a mistake of his own making.

“I would love to see it, if that’s alright with you. Apart from the magazines at the mundane doctor’s office, I’ve never had the opportunity to read much literature other than the Clave’s works.”

“And isn’t that truly a sad thought. How many ballads of Jonathan Shadowhunter did you read, I wonder...”

Again, laughter escapes Alec’s mouth. “Too many for me to remember the exact number. Although it did become quite entertaining when it was written by another Jonathan.”

Magnus shares in his mirth with an amused snort and some chuckling. They are more comfortable now, and Alec hopes Magnus might trust him at some point. Even with Magnus’ wariness, Alec has started trusting the other man to keep him safe.

“We can look together after we finish breakfast. That is what you were attempting, isn’t it?”

Alec turns his eyes back to the prepared pan which thankfully he hasn’t put on the heat, and on the poor excuse for pancake batter he made.

“It was, but now I’m not so sure it’s edible anymore. I’m a bit afraid to test it out.”

Magnus smiles and he snaps his fingers, blue wisps of magic filtering out of his hands. It’s fascinating, and Alec watches his hands move, watches the magic move and dance around the batter. The color is beautiful as well, deep and full of a thousand shades. It’s nothing like the one Alec saws when he rescued Eve. That magic had been almost transparent, so pale the blue has been almost just a figment of his imagination.

Next to him, the batter turns into a more liquid form and the pan heats up, butter appearing in it and immediately sizzling there. The batter starts to pour itself into the pan and Alec smiles, delighted. The smell is wonderful, unlike anything he had at the Institute.

On a conspiratorial note, Magnus says, “don’t tell Eve I did this. She needs to relay on her magic as much as on her hands and capacities.”

Alex chuckles but swears he won’t. Then, he asks hesitantly, “I was wondering... She’s quite young, isn’t she?”

“About eight years old is our estimation,” Magnus answers while taking care of the first pancake.

“Isn’t that quite young for her to have such powers?”

A shrug. “It depends on who the demon parent is. If the parent is powerful enough, the child will grow more and more powerful as they age, but they already start off with an impressive well of power within themself.”

“Why are you the one who takes care of her?”

Magnus’ movements stop completely. His eyes harden a bit and the mistrust from before come back in his posture; his shoulders are more rigid, his jaw set, and his hands carry a tension that speaks of bloodshed and anger. Alec wants to take back the question, wants to avoid the definite rage that’s simmering under the man’s dark golden skin. He wouldn’t say he is afraid, but there is a definite questioning inside him of where will Magnus stop to protect himself and his family. The Nephilim knows that, for his siblings, he would take on the army of demons amassing in Hell’s twelve dimensions on his own. He understands Magnus’ protectiveness. He also knows how Nephilim have treated the Downworlders— no, the Shadow Kinds, that’s the word Catarina had used. It’ll be a learning curve, he suspects, but now he is… neither shadowhunter nor mundane, living among warlocks. He might as well get used to calling himself a shadow as well. Dwelling on the outranks of mundane society…

His thoughts are snapped back in place when Magnus’ magic starts again.

“She needed help, and I’m not one to turn away someone in need.”

Alec smiles a bit and gestures at himself. “Clearly.”

A faint smile brightens up the warlock’s face. “Clearly,” he echoes.

They change to a lighter subject, and when soft steps resonates, they have finished making a good pile of pancakes. Eve appears in the doorway with a yawn, hair standing out in little waves, magic slipping away from her every pore. She comes to hug Magnus first, long and tight, before she comes to hug Alec. He bends down and smiles softly, having hopped down from the counter earlier while helping Magnus with the pancakes.

They have breakfast quietly and then the two warlocks train again, and like each morning Eve tries to have him join them. It seems that each day she gets more determined to get him to do magic, despite the repeated explanations that he can’t.

Alec longs to train as well. Since the first day he woke up fully, he hasn’t been able to, and he won’t for at least another week. He should be thankful, because it’s already much shorter than what he would have gone through the mundane doctors, but his blood is boiling with the want, the need, to get back to fighting.

He tries to not think of why that is. Why he needs to exhausts himself, stop himself from thinking. The real heartbreak has been coming, slow and steady. When he sees himself in the mirror, he is torn between staring at his flat, scarred chest, and wanting to break his reflections for the nakedness of his skin. Multiple times throughout the day, he catches himself drawing runes on his body, most often the parabatai rune. He can feel the anger inside him rising steadily, but he keeps it back, hold it at bay until he can go on his own. He doesn’t want to ruin the image Eve has of him, and he doesn’t want to confirm Magnus’ fears. He doesn’t want to become the men he has always loathed.

---
Izzy is restless. She is angry, her fury powering her through the days. She hasn’t spoken to anyone since Alec left, has ignored all her mother’s orders. Without her parabatai, Izzy is in no capacity to do anything than hit the punching ball in the training room until her knuckles are raw, bleeding all over her hands until someone stops her. And all over again the next day.

It’s been a week now. A week since her brother, her bonded soul, the other half of her heart, has been ripped from her. Her mother is under inquiry, the Clave is going to send an envoy, and her father is nowhere to be seen. Coward. Bigot. She hates him, hates him for leaving them, for being unable to understand that the Angels willed Alec that way. Alec is perfect just the way he is, and no one should take who he is and hurt him for it.

Another hit. She’ll have to stop soon, the bleeding is getting too much, the wounds too big to be healed by an iratze. She misses Alec so terribly. This morning the pain had been so terrible, so overwhelming. Living without him is worse than dying. At least death is a one time deal. This? It’s constant hell. Everyone watches her with pity or disgust. The parabatai of a disgraced, deruned monster. She hates the Clave for it, hates everyone for letting it happen, hates her father for not being there, hates her mother for not fighting enough.

She knows Maryse did fight, that she is under investigation because of her defense of Alec. But Izzy needs to fight, needs to hate everyone, because otherwise she might as well crumble and stop living.

Left, right, right, right, right, right. Until her hand bleeds and she forgets what life is without pain.

Before, it had been Alec who had spent hours in the training room, compensating for his very existence by training harder, being better, faster. The perfect soldier, to be sacrificed in their war against demons. She had let him, had known he had needed to prove to himself he could still be an asset to the Clave, despite his being trans. Whenever she had felt him like that, she had tried to send love and appreciation and absolute adoration.

Now she can’t even do anything anymore. She can’t help him. She felt a sharp pain that wasn’t hers earlier in the week, and she had felt death clawing at something in her chest on Alec’s deruning.

The skin of her knuckles breaks and she screams in frustration, hitting the bag repeatedly with the other hand until the skin there as well burns from the repeated assaults.

Whenever she goes to the weapon’s room for her rare excursions outside of the Institute, she sees his bow, his arrows, his quiver. She sees his things and she wants to scream again and again, until they can hear her in Idris, until Alicante itself shakes in fear. She hates them.

“Isabelle!” Maryse’s voice is sharp and reprimanding.

The Head of the Institute walks into the training room and towards her daughter. She is furious, hands balled at her sides and back straight. Good, Izzy thinks viciously, let her be furious after what she allowed to happen to Alec.

Her mother applies the iratze on her shoulder without even asking and relief fills Izzy as her hands stop hurting, stop being receptacles for her anger. It’s mixed with annoyance at her mother taking her choice from her.

“Don’t you dare hurt yourself like this now that your brother is gone. You need to carry on the Lightwood name until Max can step up. You need to make Alexander proud as well.”

“Don’t talk about him,” Izzy says, voice filled with venom, “you let them take him away, you let them take him away from us, from me, and you didn’t even look for him!”

Maryse looks a bit shocked at her daughter’s words. It’s a rare look on the stern woman, but she has been kinder since Robert left than before. She has tried her hardest to maintain a fair balance between Head of the Institute and their mother. Izzy would feel some guilt at her mother’s reaction, but anger blinds her.

“You could have sent me to get him, to protect him! You could have sent me away with him, but you forced me to stay here, locked me in my room without stele and phone, while my parabatai was being tortured by your people!”

“They are your people as well,” hisses Maryse in a warning tone, looking around quickly. “What would you have done, with him, except both of you being lost to me and to your calling? I know Alexander is fine and—“

“You can’t know that for sure. You can’t, and now he could very well be without food or shelter, alone and needing me!”

“I assure you, I know Alexander is safe.”

Her tone is too posed, too calm and self-certain for Izzy to know that her mother is not lying and that she does, in fact, knows where her son is. Izzy’s anger turns to unbound fury, growing in her chest. She feels a faint claw of calmness trying to make its way, but she rejects it.

“You know?” She accuses more than she asks and she looks at her mother in the eye, mirrors of each other apart in the eyes and hairstyle. Izzy is slightly more slender, but Maryse is more imposing. She is, after all, the only woman in all of the Nephilim, to wield a war axe, with more dexterity and strength than many of her male counterparts. In the moment, Izzy forgets her mother’s imposing nature.

“How long have you known? A day, two? Since he left?”

Maryse doesn’t answer but her face says enough for Isabelle. She has known for a few days at least, and she let Izzy suffer in her unending loneliness, in her unholy solitude. Izzy gave half her soul to her brother when she was 11 and him only thirteen. She gave him half of herself and hasn’t regretted one minute since. The Angels witnessed their union, and gave it their blessing. And now, her mother hid this from her? Izzy’s fury knows no bound.

“How dare you,” she yells, and her mother looks truly taken aback. “He is my brother, my parabatai. He is your son, for the angels’ sake!”

“Do you think I wanted him deruned? You think I wanted to lose him? You love him, Isabelle, but you’re not the only one who suffers from his absence, don’t you forget that. He’s my son, yes. I know where he is and I haven’t told you for his safety, as well as yours! If you want to be deruned as well and to be an outcast with your brother, I’ll tell you. But if you want to remain living here, with the rest of your family, where you can help people other than just Alexander, I suggest you start acting like a shadowhunter again instead of a little girl whose favorite toy has been taken away.”

With those harsh words, Maryse turns around. She is hurt, Izzy can tell, but she has made her point very clear, and now her daughter feels some shame rising in her. Maybe she misjudged her mother in her anger.

Chapter Text

Around Clary, the night is dark, but she doesn’t fear it. She’s a few days away from her 18th birthday and just left the trendy coffee shop where her best friends, Simon and Maureen, had played that evening. They are pretty good, despite the horrible names they come up with. She has her entrance exam for the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts in a few days, on her birthday, which is rotten luck, but it’ll do. Her mind is thus, quite understandably busy that evening as she takes a shortcut through an alley, trying to get faster home. Plus, there had been that girl, with her golden pink hair and sweet button nose, that had been making eyes at her for the last two gigs of Champagne Enema. Clary had almost gone to say hi tonight, but then Simon had called the end of the show, and she had to leave. Unfortunate.

Her mind is still full of sunkissed faces and amused eyes when she hears a noise coming from the alley next to her, low and rumbling. It almost sounds like a dog, but there is a strange metallic quality to the growl. Clary’s skin tingles slightly and there is a rush of blood inside her, everything screaming Fight!. But fight what? And why does this feel familiar and foreign?

She moves towards the sound slowly, gripping the pepper spray in her handbag. Her steps are calculated and careful. The urge to fight is still strong inside her. The alley she goes into has a foul stench, the smells of rotten meat and decomposing animals mixing together and making her want to gag. There is no light here, but she discerns two large dumpsters on the right side, the sound and smell coming from right behind them. Her hand tightens on the pepper spray.

Eyes glow an unnatural yellow when she nears the thing, and she knows it’s not a dog, not anything that should live on this earth. The thing, whatever it is, is large, too large, and the mouth it opens as Clary steps close is atrocious. The teeth are sharp and lined hazardously, in no real pattern, but rather as if someone had seen teeth on sharks and had thought “how could I put those in in order to have no real utility except to cause excruciating pain?” If that was the thought process, Clary has to admit it worked beautifully.

Her slightly deranged, hysterical thoughts are interrupted when the creatures lunges at her, horrifying claws stretching towards her throat. She tenses and waits for the hit, her eyes closing as she anticipates the pain.

Strangely, it doesn’t come. What comes is a loud screeching noise that rattles her bones and makes her teeth grinds against each other in her mouth. She opens her eyes carefully, and the monster is still there, but it looks like it’s slowly exploding. A man is standing next to her, holding a glowing blue blade, and on it a black goo is burning with an horrid smell. He’s tall, at least a full head above her, and she can’t tell his hair color because it blends perfectly in the night air. She can tell he has hazel eyes, an electricity like glow to them.

The creature explodes and black goo spreads everywhere. It gets on Clary’s shoes and the man grimaces as some touches his face. He wipes it off with his shirt, revealing an impressive musculature underneath. If Clary was into men, she would definitely be somewhat impressed. As it is, she really isn’t and simply looks at him. He appears inconvenienced but nowhere as rattled as she is.

“What the fuck was that?” Her voice breaks the uneasy void the creature’s explosion caused.

The man doesn’t startle, but there is a hint of surprise in his eyes.

“A big dog.” Flat, deep voice.

“Bullshit,” she says. “That wasn’t a dog. And who are you? What’s that?”

She points at the blade, where all the gooey liquid - blood?- vanished, and with a swipe of his thumb, it disappears.

“Nothing.”

She rolls her eyes. Typical men. Thinking she’s just a dumb girl.

“Then who the fuck are you, New York City’s Luke Skywalker or something?”

A bit bewildered, he starts back to the lit alley behind them, distancing himself from her.

“Pest control,” he answers before starting to run.

She goes after him, but can only see a shadow of black hair and black clothes climbing up a building.

---

For the fifth night in a row, Alec comes back to Magnus’ apartment, his temporary home, with ichor dripping from his clothes. He undresses quickly on the doorstep, staying in the comfortable boxers Magnus had bought for him the second week he had stayed there.

The man had grabbed him one afternoon while Eve had been with Catarina, learning the finer points of healing magic after she had expressed interest in it. Pushing him through the door, he had declared that he couldn’t handle seeing Alec in the same clothes anymore, and that furthermore “a proper wardrobe is most of what you need to make a proper start into the world, Alexander.”

So they had spent the afternoon in New York’s shops, and Alec had found quite a lot of things he liked, especially when they had entered the sportswear areas. Magnus had been slightly dismayed, but he had let Alec take anything he wanted as long as it fit him, and had paid for everything. The naphil is indebted to the warlock in more ways than one, but clothing, feeding, and giving him a home? That was more than Alec has ever felt he deserves.

The next night, he had gone to the cemeteries around the city, careful and quiet, and though he had no glamour anymore, he walked unseen. It had taken him three nights of searching until he had found what he wanted. The tomb of a Servant. There had been no bow inside, no arrows, but he hadn’t expected it to be there. He had simply grabbed three seraph blades before placing the stone back where it belonged. He knows how to use a seraph blade, after all.

Magnus hadn’t been exactly pleased when he had brought them home.

“You’re not a shadowhunter anymore, Alexander,” he had said, voice accusatory in the late night. “You don’t get to bring weapons in my home, weapons that could kill Eve or I.”

“Magnus,” Alec had pleaded, “I will always be a shadowhunter. I will always battle demons. It’s not just my duty, it’s who I am. And those weapons, they aren’t to hurt you, or to bring any harm to you. If I ever use them here, it’ll be to defend you.”

Magnus had looked doubtful, so he had continued.

“You gave me a home Magnus. You took me in after I was thrown out from the Institute, you healed me, and you bought me clothing. I’ve never had anyone show me so much kindness at once. I lost everything when I was deruned. My family, my parabatai, my destiny and my faith. Will you not allow me to try and regain one of those at least? I promise I won’t unsheathe the seraph blades within your home. If you prefer, I can even find a cache outside, somewhere to stash my weapons. But don’t think I will stop, even if I don’t have them. When I threw myself in front of Eve to protect her, that was the shadowhunter in me. Everything that I am is a shadowhunter, through and through. I am nothing without it.”

Sorrow had overcome Magnus’ features then, and Alec couldn’t decipher why. He had said nothing but the truth. Since he had been deruned, he felt empty, alone. Even Eve’s bright energy was not enough to fill that void in him. So Magnus had relented and let him keep the blades with him.

As Alec walks by the living room, he can see Magnus talking to someone, so he simply hurries back to his bedroom. He drops his ichor-drenched clothes in the basket Magnus had got him for that the first day he came back from his hunt. He’ll wash everything in the morning.

The water is scalding when he steps underneath the shower, and he relishes in it. His muscles slowly relaxes and the adrenaline leaves his body in waves as he washes his hair and body. It’s a comforting experience, one he did not know he enjoyed before coming here. At the Institute, showers had been functionary and short, a necessary measure that was not meant to be enjoyed, considering the always icy water.

When he finally steps out of the shower, he only has time to put on clean underwear before there is a knock on his door. He doesn’t bother dressing more, recognizing Magnus’ more solemn knock. He opens the door to the warlock looking away towards Eve’s door. Magnus looks at him after a beat or two and Alec notices with some gratification that Magnus’ eyes do linger slightly on his chest and abs. He allows himself to think that he’s watching his musculature and not the healed scars that litter his torso.

“Alexander, I was wondering,” Magnus shakes himself after a few seconds, “would you be able to take care of Eve tomorrow night? I know that’s when you go out go hunt usually, but I have to swing by Pandemonium, there is a surge in ... less than tasteful activities that I would like to keep my eyes on.”

“Is Catarina not available?” Alec asks this more out of concern for Eve than anything. He would already give up arms, legs and his whole soul for the little girl, but she has known Catarina for longer.

“She has a night shift at the emergency room,” Magnus explains with a little sigh, which they both know is born out of concern for his friend. “And Eve trusts you already, and I know you’ll take good care of her. I won’t be gone too long anyhow, I don’t want to stop you from your hunting too long. I know it’s important to you.”

For some reason, there is some weariness as well as some sadness in Magnus’ voice. Alec doesn’t really understand why. He doesn’t search for the reason; it’s Magnus’ choice whether to tell him or not, and it doesn’t matter what Alec wants in this situation.

“Of course then,” he answers with a shrug. “Who was with you earlier?”

“Oh, just one of the warlocks I’ve taken under my wings, Elias. He’s the one who has been telling me about needing to show myself at Pandemonium again. He’s a bit of an advisor when I act as High Warlock of Brooklyn,” Magnus explains.

Alec nods his understanding and heads to the kitchen, Magnus excusing himself and going back to the living room. In the kitchen, he eats a quick sandwich. He isn’t afraid of taking care of Eve, but he does wonder about the ‘less than tasteful activities’ Magnus mentioned at his club. A club of Downworl— Shadow People is sure to attract some unwanted attention, but mundanes also mingle there. Furthermore, Magnus has made it clear to the Shadow World as a whole that Pandemonium is his own ground, and that any threat to it won’t be tolerated. Who would be stupid and reckless enough to face the High Warlock of Brooklyn in his own home?

---

“And then I swear, he climbed up a wall like he was Spider-Man!”

Four days later, on Clary’s birthday, she’s with her best friend Simon at a coffee shop, having just nailed her entrance exam to the Academy of Arts. Naturally, she has skipped over the details of that and is instead ranting about her strange encounter

Simon looks a bit skeptical. “You’re saying a dude just killed a weird, Stranger Things like monster and then climbed up a building. Did your really bad fake I.D. finally work that night?”

“Simon, come on! I’m dead serious! First of all my shoes from that night are ruined, I can’t get the thing’s blood out of it, and you know my mom would kill me if I came home even slightly tipsy. And I don’t know who he was, but I’m pretty sure he saved my life, and then acted like he hadn’t done anything!”

“You know New York’s already full of superheroes right, we don’t need more. We got Daredevil, Spider-Man...”

“Si, it’s not a joke.” She snaps a bit defensively, crossing her arms. “I know how crazy it sounds, but it really happened. I wouldn’t lie about something this big.”

Simon has to concede that point and he looks at his best friend carefully. She doesn’t look any different from before, but there is something in her eyes when she talks about it. Not fear, but excitement. As if she wants to see it happen again, wants to find another one of those things she showed him a drawing of, and feel the thrill of the danger.

“What did Jocelyn say,” he asks instead of voicing his concern.

Clary looks squeamish as she drinks more of her latte. “I didn’t tell her,” she admits.

“Did you tell Dot or Luke?” Another squeamish look make him sigh a bit. “Why not?”

“You saw how you reacted,” she says defensively. “They wouldn’t believe me, and they would think I’m on drugs or something. I’m fine, I didn’t get a scratch or anything.”

“Don’t you want to tell them though? Luke might know something about what attacked you, or who that guy was.”

“I’ll talk to them tomorrow. We’ve got your gig tonight and then we are still going out right?”

Simon nods, appreciating the change in the conversation. They chat about the Academy of Arts, about where they’re going tonight, about anything and everything. He can see that Clary’s still thinking about it though, has known her long enough to know when she’s paying full attention to him. He tries not to let it bother him, but he is slightly concerned anyway. They’ve known each other almost forever, and he has never seen her like this. It bothers him a bit, but for now he doesn’t think it would do any good to push the issue.

That evening, after him and Maureen are done singing and playing, they sit outside Pandemonium, one the best clubs in the city. It has a reputation of having the wildest party, but also of being highly selective. And, they are only 18, which means they can’t get a drink anyway, so it’s no interest going inside. Their fake I.D.s are real shit anyway.

Clary has just finished drawing the new logo, some weird symbol that looks like some kind of dead language, when Simon feels a weird wind in the air, something that twists and feels like there is a space empty of air.

“Hey,” Clary exclaims a bit further, “Watch where you’re going!”

---

Isabelle walks with fury. She is graceful still, but the darkness in her movements speaks of itself. Her glamour is still on, but she doesn’t really care. After losing her parabatai, she could expose the whole Shadow World without a care. She is on the hunt now. If she can’t lash out against the Institute, the Clave, that rotten bastard of Aldertree, then she’ll make the demons pay for everything.

Jace had a tip about a blood draining demon earlier that day, and now they are on their ways to Pandemonium. Usually, she would be overjoyed to go. A Downworlder club, owned by the High Warlock of Brooklyn? It’s guaranteed to be exciting. But right now, she channels the anger in her gut, the cold and encompassing feeling that wraps itself inside and around her. Her brother is trailing behind her. He doesn’t say anything, but she knows he is angry as well. Less so than her, but he has also been hitting the training room more than usual. Hodge hasn’t tried speaking to either of them.

No one in the Institute, besides their mother, has tried. They have lost their leaders, the heart of their team. Alec, for all the rigid coldness he could show, had always been teetering on the edge of a precipice. It had given him the strictness they needed, the equilibrium they desperately sought out. Where Jace and her and always danced around the fire of irresponsibility and danger, he had been the perfect soldier. Quiet and observing when they were distracted. Selfless where they were selfish. Now there is just Jace and Izzy. Too much, not enough. What will happen to them, she wonders, will they be split up by Maryse? Redirected to other teams?

She’s too lost in her thoughts to immediately notice that Jace isn’t following her anymore. She turns around and sees him, arguing with a small redhead girl — woman? She is pretty, athletic and lean, but the green hoodie she’s wearing doesn’t put her features forward. Izzy is about to call out to Jace when she realizes that the redhead shouldn’t be able to see him.

She walks back to him and yanks him away.

“What the hell did you do,” she says through gritted teeth. “Letting a mundane see you just because you think she’s pretty? That’s stupid, even for you.”

He shoves at her with the hand that’s not holding his blade. “I didn’t deglamorize. She could see through the glamour.” He ignores her scowl. “Where did the demon go?”

They walk in unison through the crowd, finding the shape shifting demon easily as they go. It’s going to the VIP room, so that’s where they go as well. She catches glimpse of Bane, sitting on a couch with people sitting around him like cult members around their leader, adoring and awed. She doesn’t understand it. He’s just a warlock. A fun, party-loving, High Warlock, but still a Downworlder. He is just like those others who worship him, a demon blooded creature. At least Seelies have some angel blood, she resonates. It doesn’t make them as bad as the others. She can have fun with Meliorn as much as she wants, as long as she doesn’t let it develop further. He is a fun lover, and he is useful when she needs informations, but she can’t be with a demon blooded creature in a serious relationship.

She hangs herself to the arm of a man who’s going inside, batting her eyelashes and staying as far from her own self as she can while Jace slips behind the curtain unnoticed. Men, and demons, can be so stupid.

Proving her point, as soon as she starts dancing, all of the people present’s attention turns to her. She sways her hips, moving seamlessly and using the same muscle as she would while fighting, she traces circles around the pole. They haven’t noticed that she’s a Shadowhunter yet, haven’t seen past the glamours that hide her runes. The adamas from her bracelet has a faint blue glow every time she passes underneath the black lights. She is beautiful, beautiful and deadly, just like the snake depicted on her bracelet.

Jace is talking, or rather, threatening, the demon, seraph blade out in a corner of the room. They are too exposed, the voice that sounds like Alec says. They haven’t even told anyone at the Institute about this, haven’t gotten the approval from Maryse. What good would it do anyway? It’s not like their mother cares.

Maryse has been refusing to tell Izzy or Jace where Alec is, despite the fact that they are both aware she knows. Izzy can rage and shout, and the woman doesn’t budge from her position. Even if she hates it, Izzy admires that in her mother. She also hates that it reminds her of Alec.

A shout distracts her. The girl from outside is standing at the curtain, looking panicked, and she is the one who made the loud noise. Izzy sees the attacking men before Jace does. Her brother is too busy looking at the girl with an astonished glare to notice anything. So Isabelle shifts her hold on the pole in front of her and she lifts herself off, twirling around it. She kicks one of the men in the face, and the surge of resistance she’s met with allows her to bounce back, letting go of the pole to soar through the air. She is flying for only the quarters of a second before her bracelet becomes a rigid metal bar and she grounds herself. She lands near Jace, who has regained his senses again and is fighting with renewed vigor. She unleashes the anger within herself.

Her whip slashes through the air. She grins as she deftly turns it back into the staff and kills two of the accompanying demonic men, shifting position with Jace swiftly. She isn’t as good a fighter as he is, but today she is out for blood, and nothing will stop her.

Except the girl is now holding a seraph blade. A glowing, blue of the angel, seraph blade. Izzy is hallucinating, it can’t be possible. And yet, when a demon rushes at the girl, she stabs it in the stomach with a yell. The yell seems more born out of fear than rage, but the demon doesn’t care either way. It bursts in flames, and ichor drips down the blade. The girl drops it quickly after. She looks horrified, but there is also a hint of recognition in her eyes. Could she have seen shadowhunters before?

Izzy doesn’t have time to think long about it. A demon rushes at her, and she barely has time to defend herself before another arrives. Jace takes care of that one, and Izzy stops to breathe. There are no more threats in the room, no more demons to destroy. Izzy is almost disappointed. It’s not that she wants more demons, far from that, but fighting is the only moment she feels any close to alright lately. Killing the demons felt good, felt right. She had enjoyed it, she realizes with some horror.

Jace looks around, frowning. “Where is she?”

Izzy takes a second to understand what he means, and she looks around the room as well, before shrugging. “Not here. What does it matter?”

Her brother looks astonished at her lack of care. She wants to say this is all just an act, but she isn’t sure herself. Something died inside her when Alec was ripped away from her. When their souls separated, she lost something and she doesn’t know if she’ll ever regain it. She doesn’t know if she wants to. Kindness, love, care… It had only brought her suffering, pain without name.

“Because she clearly has some angelic blood,” Jace says with a hissing tone, “and she is roaming the streets without any of us knowing about it. We should track her, and bring her to the Institute.”

Bitterness fills Izzy’s mouth. “Fine,” she spits, “I’ll go. The girl dropped her hoodie, I’ll use it to track her. I’m sure she didn’t have any runes.”

Jace nods. “Want me to come with?”

“I’m good.” Izzy’s words resonate as she turns around, grabbing the hoodie and storming off. She has another hunt to attend to.

---

Magnus is seething with rage when he gets home. He would usually walk back from the club, enjoy the electrical feel of the nights in New York City, but not tonight. First, there had been shadow hunters in his club. He hadn’t paid them any attention, because they had been pursuing a demon and if they could spare him the trouble, then he didn’t mind. But then, the Circle members had shown up.

Just thinking about it sends his blood boiling. How dare those spineless cowards, those rotten spawns of hatred and evil, show themselves at his club? His sanctuary, the one he built for warlocks and all other Shadow People, they dare to violate it, telling him that their actions are ancient history? Magnus should have ripped the man apart just for that comment.

“Magnus,” a little voice cries out when he arrives, and his anger instantly vanishes.

Eve is still up, which should make him angry because it’s incredibly late, but she’s in Alexander’s arms, her hair completely messed and wearing an already wrinkled pajamas.

“She had a nightmare and wouldn’t go back to bed until you were here,” Alexander says with an apologetic look as Magnus walks closer. “I tried everything but she was very insistent on waiting for you.”

Magnus nods and takes the girl in his arms. It scares him a bit, how attached he is to her already. Catarina had found her two months ago when she had gone to a meeting with other medically gifted warlocks. She had called Magnus and he had immediately portalled at her sides.

There had been something odd about Eve, even back then. Even to them, old warlocks who had seen more of the world than many living creatures could claim. There had been the burn marks on her wrists and ankles first, round and large, akin to marks left by shackles. The black as night wings that had surrounded her had been also quite the surprise. They were not feather wings, but rather large with shiny scales covering the bones while the membrane was pure leather. They had been disproportionate compared to the smallness of Eve.

The wings had disappeared since then, and him and Cat almost felt as if they had made it all up. When Catarina last examined the girl, there had been nothing to let believe that wings had once been there. It’s infuriating that they can’t figure it out, but they have decided to let the matter rest. There will be other times to worry about things disappearing.

Namely, times when the girl isn’t in his arms, on the verge of crying. She’s so young. He forgets sometimes, how young she is. But she’s also so powerful. She has a control over some aspects of her powers that astound him.

“Mags,” Eve cries out again, “you were really sad and angry in my dream, because someone had taken something away from you.”

He caresses her hair and smiles gently. “I’m here darling, I’m fine.”

“You were really angry Mags,” she sniffles and burrows her head in his neck. “Your eyes they were all gold and you were using your powers a lot, even though you said we shouldn’t use them too much.”

He wonders briefly if it’s another one of her seemingly prophetic dreams, like the one she had of Alexander when he had first arrived. She had had only one other, depicting a small red head woman brandishing a fauchard, a staff with a curved blade at the end. The drawing she had made of it had had the same aura as the one of Alec. Deeply frightening and tugging at his mind as if it was made to depict reality. Is this what happened again? Will she draw him next?

Chapter Text

Clary wakes up with a feeling of dread already within her chest. There is none of the blissful forgetfulness that usually comes with sleep that day; everything comes rushing at her, mixing in with the nightmares that still plague her mind. She isn’t sure it was nightmares or memories of the previous day, now that she really thinks of it.

She had ran from the club to her mother’s shop. She hadn’t reached the loft above. Dot was on the ground of the shop, bleeding from a wound to her head. She had clearly been struck before tumbling down the stairs, if her position was any indication. Clary crouched next to her mother’s assistant and shaken her shoulder lightly.

“Dot? Dot, come on, answer me!” Her voice was panicked, and remembering it now only makes her head ache more.

Dot’s eyes flew open and she gripped her hand, nails digging into Clary’s pale skin. “My bag… Take my bag…”

Clary was so panicked she was only able to obey Dot’s orders. She checked behind herself and upstairs every second or so, scared of seeing whoever had attacked Dot coming back to finish the job. There wasn’t much in Dot’s bag. Her phone, her keys, a set of tarot cards she used to tell Clary her fortune every other week… Nothing that could help with Dot’s wound. But the woman was already gripping her phone and, with a bloody hand that had just left her temple, she shakily entered the password, pushing a contact to call. She seemed so lost in her own world, Clary had sat back and watched, shellshocked.

She wondered where her mother was. Had she been attacked as well? Was she upstairs, bleeding and needing help? Clary couldn’t bear the thought. Slowly, to not disturb Dot who was trying to call someone, she moved and started up the stairs. A faint “No…” resonated from the wounded woman, but she decided it was directed towards the phone, so she kept moving. Smoke had reached her nostrils pretty easily afterwards.

Her mother had been standing in the middle of the room, the same blade in her hand as the ones the people in the club had, and she had been rummaging through a chest. Two men in black suits with strange red markings on their necks were also looking through the apartment. The fire Clary had smelled in the stairs was coming from her own bedroom.

“Mom?” Her voice was frightened, and even now as she hears it again, she hates herself for not seeing what was happening.

The woman who had turned towards her was Jocelyn Fray, but it wasn’t the woman who had raised her and taken care of her after every little mishaps. It wasn’t the woman who had taught her how to fight when she was nine because she wanted Clary to be safe. It was someone who looked and moved like her mother, but whose eyes were cold and calculating; a woman with a heart of steel. She was a stranger.

“Clary,” the stranger who sounded like her mother said, “Why are you here already? No matter, it’s a good thing, you can come with us right now then. We’ll go find your father, and we’ll be a family again!”

Her father… Clary opens her eyes now, startled. Her mother had talked of her father. But how can her father be still alive? Her mother had always said he had been dead before she was even born. How could she talk of him now?

“Jace,” a feminine voice shouts, and Clary sits up straight, hitting someone who is leaning over her in the head with her own head.

The someone turns out to be a woman, who winces slightly in pain, and who Clary recognizes as the woman with the whip in the club. She is beautiful, upon closer inspection, with deep brown eyes that are sure to have captured the hearts of many. Her long black hair is tied in a long braid that hangs on the side, and she is dressed in sports clothes. Again, Clary wants to revel in the other girl’s beauty, but there is something about her that makes her shiver and fear. Maybe it is the set of her eyes, hard and unyielding. Or maybe it’s the knuckles resting on the knees, raw and red with skin that attempts to grow back only to be pushed back again and again.

So yes, the girl is beautiful, but she also has an aura of hardship and fragility, like her iron façade is cracked all over and is about to rupture. Clary would hate to be on the other side of those fists.

“Jace,” the girl shouts again, turning her eyes away from Clary, “she is awake!”

The shout doesn’t startle Clary more than that. It’s more the way she is being ignored and treated as if she isn’t there that bothers her. It annoys her.

“Do you mind?” She rubs at her shoulder, feeling a sharp pain there as well as in her head. “I just woke up and you are being very loud.”

“Excuse my sister,” a masculine voice comes from the side, “She isn’t used to mundanes outside of parties.”

Clary turns her head to look at the man that just stepped inside. His smile can only be described as cocky with a side of charming. He sweeps back with a careless hand his blond hair, revealing heterochromatic eyes. He is beautiful as well, she supposes. He makes her think of wild cat; beautiful and unique, but will tear you open if you come too close. He doesn’t look one bit like his sister. They have the same markings all over their bodies, tattoos that mirror one another. She wonders what that’s about.

“Where am I?” She covers herself with the thin blanket as she realizes she is only wearing a long beige shirt that does barely anything to cover her. “Who are you?”

The girl rolls her eyes and that’s when Clary realizes what had been teasing her brain for the last few minutes. She looks like the man who rescued her a few nights ago. It’s not her brother, but it must be someone from her family.

“I’m Jace Wayland, and this is Isabelle Lightwood. Izzy saved you from a Ravener demon two nights ago. You’ve been sleeping here, at the Institute, ever since.”

None of the words Jace just said make any sense to Clary. A demon? The Institute? Two days ago? It can’t be. She is sure it was last night.

“What about you tell us your name now?” Isabelle’s tone is curious but sharp.

Clary doesn’t know if she likes the woman much. She doesn’t seem mean, but she is rather aggressive.

“I’m Clary Fray.” She answers quite simply. “And I would really appreciate it if you two gave me back my clothes now.”

The two siblings exchange a glance, and this time the girl softens a bit. “We had to burn them,” she says with a sympathizing tone, looking truly desolate to be saying that. “But you can borrow some of my clothes, if you want. Until we can get you new ones.”

So she does have a kinder side. Good to know. Clary wonders what has happened to her, for her to be this hard this young. After all, she can’t be much older than Clary is. She gives her no more than 20 years old. Isabelle leaves quickly, hopefully going to get some clothes for Clary, and she finds herself alone with Jace.

“Is Clary Fray your only name,” he asks, not unkindly but with a strange curiosity in his voice.

“I’ve never had any other,” Clary answers with a shrug. “Not that I know of, at least.”

What she knows is less and less sure now. When she had last seen her mother, she had been raving madly about something. Clary had been too frightened by her to stay. She had ran quickly down the stairs, Dot nowhere to be seen, but her bag was still on the stairs, so she had taken it. There must have been something important apart from the phone. It also had the benefit of having the keys, which Clary didn’t have with her that day. At least if she wanted to come back later, now she could.

“My bag!” She startles as she remembers it and looks frantically around. She locates it when Jace lifts it from the foot of her bed and she grabs it. She had tossed her phone and the strange family heirloom her mother had given her in it while she was running, and that had been her last memory.

She rummages through it and finds her phone, which, by some miracle, still has some battery. There are hundreds of texts from both Simon and Maureen, although most of them are from Simon. None from her mother. She looks through the bag and sees the cards, the keys… But not the strange paperweight her mother had given her.

“Looking for this?” Jace asks and she looks up, seeing him twirl the very thing she was searching for. “You are not who you say you are, isn’t it?”

Clary frowns. “I’m not lying about anything. My mother gave this to me the night before I saw you guys! I don’t even know what it is.” She stands up, uncaring about her exposed legs. “You guys basically kidnapped me and—“ She notices her reflection in the mirror and gasps loudly at the mark on her neck. “What the hell is that?”

“An iratze,” Isabelle’s voice comes from behind. “I had to apply it to heal you after a demon bit you.”

She is standing in the doorway, holding a large pair of sweatpants. It’s clearly not hers, or Jace, because when Clary puts it on, it’s so ridiculously huge she has to roll it a couple of time. She feels like a child in her parents’ clothing. It reminds her of whenever she would put her mother’s clothes on and parade around the apartment for Jocelyn and Luke to see. It also makes her think of Luke, who had lended her a fair share of sweaters and sweatpants that he had never seen again, because Clary liked to imagine Luke was her dad, rather than her mother’s best friend.

“Why do you have a Fairchild stele?”

Jace’s question takes her out of her reverie. “A what?”

He tosses her Jocelyn’s gift. “A stele, marked with the Fairchild’s sigil.”

“I don’t know what the hell you are saying,” Clary explodes, moving to poke at his chest with surprising strength, making him stumble backwards. “First you talk bullshit about demons and all that, then I learn you guys tattooed me without my consent, which I’m pretty sure is illegal, and that you kidnapped me, and now you are acting like I know what the hell you’re talking about! So either you start making sense or I’m leaving this place! Between you and Spiderman version 2.0, I don’t know who is the rudest!”

Behind her, Isabelle chuckles at her outburst. It may be the first time Clary has a hint of appreciation for the other girl. She’s clearly not mocking her; there is an odd admiration in her voice when she speaks next.

“Looks like she has some bite at least.” She smiles toothily when Clary turns to her. “We are Shadowhunters, Clary Fray. We go after the monsters in the night, and we protect the defenseless. And apparently, you are one of us.”

---

Alec doesn’t like Magnus’ plan. Hiding all the warlocks in one location doesn’t sound very smart to him. But Magnus’ dark look silenced him, and the murderous expression on Catarina’s usually calm and serene face was even more of an incentive. At the moment, Cat is caring for her fiancée, Dot, whom he had met two nights ago. Eve is with her, learning more about healing magic, while Alec talks with Magnus in the kitchen.

“You can’t go to a party just because someone promised to bring back something of yours! It could be a trap, Magnus. You can’t do that… You have to be careful. Think about Eve.”

Magnus had refused to tell him who he was meeting, or why exactly it was so important he went there. It infuriates him, but he doesn’t want to push. Magnus must have his reasons, no matter how nebulous they are. Alec really wants to go with him, to help him, but the warlock refused categorically. It had been such a strong rejection that it had only made Alec want to go more.

“I am thinking about Eve,” Magnus retorts dryly as he finishes applying his makeup with one careless snap. “She will be surrounded by the warlocks of New York City. She’ll have Cat, and everyone else here. She will have you. Are you saying you won’t take care of her?”

“Of course I will!”

“Then the matter is settled. I’m going, you are staying. I’ll be back before the night is over. I’ve talked with Elliot, he’ll be in charge of the wards. I would have asked Cat to do it, but with Dot still recuperating, I didn’t want to bother her. Elliot is the one in charge while I’m gone, but I trust you to take care of my daug— of Eve.”

It isn’t lost on either of them, the word he almost let escape. His /daughter/. Alec is a bit stunned by Magnus’ trust in him. Asking him to take care of the little girl he considers as his daughter. Alec already considers Eve family as well, and he has only been here three weeks. It should alarm him that he is thinking that way already, but there is something about the little girl, something that screams of love and care, that begs for someone to give her attention. He had asked Magnus and Catarina how she had come to be with them, and they had given him a brief answer. Neither of them had extended on it, but he feels as if, rather than a purposeful lack of information, they were asking themselves the same question.

“Let me come with you at least. I can protect you.” Alec tries to not pay attention to how desperately he doesn’t want anything to happens to Magnus. “I won’t interfere in any way, but I—“

“I would rather you stay here and protect Eve. She is only eight, and she needs more protection than I do.” There is a brief silence, one full of unsaid words that they would both rather keep to themselves. “I’m sure you will do a fine job at this.”

The quiet admission is all Alec needed to calm down. The trust Magnus is showing is more than Alec deserves. In the last three weeks, Alec has learned more about the Shadow People than in his 20 years living at the Institute. They are kind, kinder than the Nephilim, and they took him in when he needed help the most. Alec can’t fight his nature, he will always be a child of the Angel, always be a Naphil, but he isn’t part of the shadow hunters anymore. When he hunts now, it’s to protect those people he found a home with. It’s because he doesn’t ever wants to imagine Eve going against a demon alone like the first time he found her, because Magnus deserves to feel safe around New York. They might both be powerful warlocks, but Alec can’t erase the need to protect from his mind. They are his people now. Fiercely, savagely, however he needs, he will protect them.

Three hours later those instincts are put to the test when the first Circle members barge in. Magnus isn’t back yet and Elliot betrayed them, lowered the wards and left the loft. Catarina is helping the others leave to other safe houses, but it still doesn’t go fast enough. Alec’s sword is bright blue as he slices through the soft, breakable skin of a man with a burning red mark on his neck. They disgust him.

He should be slower than them, should be barely a match for them. He can see that their runes are activated, that they have speed and stamina that isn’t natural. Yet, his movements are sure and don’t falter. Each time he strikes, he hits. It might not always be incapacitating, but it’s always better than nothing.

With a disgusting crunch, he pierces through the ribs of the blonde woman who had tempted to attack one of the youngest warlock beside Eve. They are only twenty, and they don’t have the luck to have a teacher as powerful as Magnus. The woman falls to the ground, lifeless, and Alec feels the need to throw up. He has never killed another Nephilim before this.

His guilt quickly fades when he hears a scream. He turns around to see a man with the same blonde hair as the woman he just killed holding Eve, a seraph dagger to her throat.

“Drop that blade,” the man says, “or the kid dies. It’s the one you are protecting, isn’t it?”

Alec swears internally. Eve was sleeping in her room not twenty minutes ago, and now the girl looks terrified. Her eyes are glamoured, but it’s slowly fading. She is trying to escape, clawing at the man’s arms and crying out for Alec. He drops his sword. The man smirks and Alec can see him moving his dagger.

Alec loses control of himself in that moment. Something deeper than him takes hold of him, something so ancient it feels older than the world. His skin opens and the same blue cloud that had enveloped the demon that had almost killed him reappears. Alec doesn’t know what he is doing anymore. His arms are spread on both sides and he feels a sharp pain in his back, as if two daggers are stabbing him on his shoulder blades. He doesn’t pay attention to it however; he is too focused on the thick blue cloud that envelop the room.

The man holding Eve panics and drops her. With inhuman rapidity, she runs to Alec, gripping his leg. Her little hands glow purple as they hold onto his sweatpants and Alec feels a surge of energy in him. She is feeding into whatever has taken hold of him, he realizes. Their enemy throws his dagger towards them, but Alec doesn’t allow it to land. He grasps it by the blade right before it hits his chest and he throws it back to the man. It strikes him right through his Circle rune. How did Alec make that shot? It shouldn’t have been possible.

“Alexander?” The concern in Magnus’ voice makes him turn.

He has just stepped through a portal, and with him are three people. Isabelle and Jace, their hands on their seraph swords, and the girl Alec rescued a week or so ago. Izzy… Her eyes are wide with fear, and he can see her whip slithered down her wrist to her hand. She is scared of him, he realizes.

“Don’t be afraid,” he tries to say, but his voice is strange. It resonates in the air, loud and inhuman, and comes from every direction at once.

A sound registers in his mind slowly, and when he turns he sees that another member of the Circle is dragging a warlock away on the ground. He doesn’t have time to react, Magnus is already sending a wave of angry purple fire towards the man. The fire rushes past Alec, warming his skin. He’s cold, he realizes, colder than he has ever been. His fingers have a blue tint, as if he is freezing. The blue haze that had surrounded him starts to fade and suddenly he feels as if he is thrown back in his own body. Something doesn’t feel right.

He falls.

---

Izzy sits on the balcony, looking lost. Clary feels a bit bad for her. That day hasn’t been the easiest on either of them. Maryse Lightwood, Isabelle’s mother, had caught them as they sneaked out of the Institute to go to the City of Bones. She had sent them here instead. Her look had been severe and Izzy had not reacted well at her mother’s suggestion. Clary had been the only one to see the look of grief and sorrow that had overcome the severe looking woman when she had watched her children go away.

Clary doesn’t know why Maryse looked like this, or why she had instructed them to come here, but she knows the look of a woman who has lost and keeps on losing. She has seen it in Elaine, Simon’s mother, when she had relapsed at her husband’s death. Maybe it had something to do with Magnus’ Alexander.

She hasn’t missed how both Jace and Isabelle had reacted at seeing him. Clary had barely recognized him as the man who had rescued her the week before. This time, the man — Alexander? Alec? She isn’t sure — stood taller, light turquoise clouds pouring around him. He was angelic, she had thought. There had been something about him, something that had awoken in her a primal fear. But strangely... she had instinctively trusted him. Perhaps it was the child that was clinging to his leg, perhaps the tone of his voice when he had spoken. Whatever it had been, she felt that she could trust him now. It’s a strange feeling; she has only met him twice, and each time briefly, and she isn’t even sure of his name, but a voice inside her tells her he won’t harm her. Clary has always trusted her instincts, but it doesn’t mean she can’t question them.

Shaking herself out from her thoughts, Clary steps onto the balcony. She knows Isabelle has heard her, because the other woman sits up straighter and wipes the tears on her cheeks. Neither of them say anything when Clary sits next to her. They don’t know each other well, they have nothing in common besides being rather close in age and being the only two women in the loft. Jace, despite being Izzy’s brother, had taken one look at her and then turned back to Magnus, asking him questions. Clary doesn’t know if it was to give his sister privacy or simply a lack of empathy.

“Alexander looks a lot like you,” Clary starts a bit awkwardly.

Isabelle scoffs. “Of course he does, he is my brother.”

“I thought so. What was up with him earlier?”

The other woman shrugs and looks back towards the apartment. They can see faintly Magnus and the child on the couch, while Jace paces behind. The blond man has stopped talking now, and Clary has a feeling it has something to do with how the little girl is curled against Magnus, her shoulders lifting up and down. She is crying against the older warlock.

“I hadn’t seen him in weeks,” Isabelle says softly, “He is… different from us. They forced him out.”

“He doesn’t have the same tattoos as you do,” Clary says in a soft voice, matching the other woman’s. “Is he a warlock?”

Isabelle shakes her head. “No, he doesn’t have any warlock mark. I don’t know what happened earlier. Maybe it was that girl, the little warlock. Or maybe Bane gave him something.”

“Magnus seemed as surprised as you were,” the redhead points out, something in her twisting a bit at the bitterness in Isabelle’s voice. “I’m sure he didn’t do anything to your brother that would harm him.”

“How would you know? You aren’t from this world. You were a mundane until two days ago. You have no idea what demonic offsprings do.”

“And you do?” Clary stands back up, crossing her arms. “From what you’ve just told me, your brother was kicked out of your home, and this warlock took him in. He was protecting a warlock child and a warlock’s home. And so far, in ‘your’ world, the only person who has been unreasonably rude and almost dangerous to others is you.”

Clary leaves the balcony with an annoyed sigh. She has had enough of those shadowhunters and their holier than thou bullshit. On the way to the club, Jace and Isabelle had warned her against the Downworlders, explaining that their demonic blood, or disease for vampires and werewolves, made them dangerous to treat with. The pride and superiority she had felt from both of them, when they had told her they were angelic descendants and that their tattoos were called runes and allowed them to use their angelic blood, had almost disgusted her. There was a definite imbalance in their perceptions. As far as she was concerned, neither the Downworlders or the shadowhunters are fully human, and that makes them more similar than different.

Jace turns to her when she walks back in, but she ignores him, grabbing her bag and storming out of the door. She doesn’t want this, she doesn’t want any part of this crazy world. Demons and angels, warlocks and vampires… It’s all crazy.

“Where are you going?” Jace follows her into the hallway, but she turns towards him, fury clear on her face.

“Outside! And don’t you dare come with me!” She leaves after that, and she can hear him swearing.

There is the sound of the door opening and Jace shouting something inside, but she is already running. She is fast and she silently thanks her middle school P.E. teacher for making her sign up for athleticism. The nearest metro station is only half a mile away, and she runs the whole while, losing Jace in the crowd. She slips inside the closing metro and dials her best friend’s number. She needs Simon.

---

The café they settled on is a hipster café a few blocks away from Simon’s home, which thankfully stays open until late in the night due to bands playing there. Simon is waiting inside with a latte for Clary and a hot chocolate with hints of pepper for himself. He wonders what’s so urgent and important she couldn’t tell him on the phone. She hadn’t called or sent a text in the previous three days, but he figured Jocelyn had punished her for going to /Pandemonium/. He still doesn’t understand what had been so urgent for her to leave back there.

“Si!”

Clary runs through the door and he barely has the time to stand up to catch her. She is trembling. He has never seen her like this. When she had come out to him, she had been proud and defiant. When she had told him her mother had strictly rejected her coming out and had ignored her sexuality ever since, she had been furious but hellbent on staying strong. She is the strongest person he knows.

“Clary, what’s wrong?”

They sit down after a few more seconds of their embrace. He hates seeing her, the girl he considers as his own sister, like this. He wonders what has happened in the last three days, and then he sees the mark on her neck.

“Did you get a tattoo? What the hell Fray?”

She shakes her head harshly and cups her latte in her hands. “I have something to tell you, but it’s all going to sound crazy. Can you listen and let me talk and promise not to think I’m completely out of my mind?”

She needs someone on her side so badly, he realizes, that she is willing to beg him. He takes one of her hand and squeezes it.

“You and me, Fray. Always. Remember?” He smiles lightly and she answers slightly. “I’ll listen.”

Her story is strange. Angels and demons, runes, Shadowhunters.... those words hold no meaning for him, and he thinks for her they don’t either. He can tell she is telling the truth though. There is that gleaming fear in her eyes as she recounts finding Dot hurt, one that only intensifies when she tells of her mother attacking her. Simon likes Jocelyn well enough, although he won’t ever forgive her for ignoring Clary’s sexuality. He can’t imagine her attacking her daughter though, not with a sword like Clary speaks off. He believes his friend though.

When she tells him of the warlock Magnus Bane, of her mysterious savior of the previous week, she sounds a bit more secure. A bit less afraid maybe. It seems she had found people she doesn’t fear at least, and for that he is thankful.

Throughout her tale, Simon has the strange impression that someone is watching them. The hairs on the back of his neck bristles, but he doesn’t see anything whenever he looks around. Clary is also glancing at the other patrons with increasing frequency.

“We should go,” She mutters at some point, and he agrees immediately.

They are walking back to his house, Simon having offered her a room, when a tall blond man covered in the same kind of tattoos Clary has on her neck stops them. It must be one of them then. Jace, he thinks she said.

“I finally got you,” Maybe-Jace says. “Do you realize how dangerous what you did was?”

“Listen dude,” Simon starts, “I don’t care what kind of gang you are in, but you leave her alone.”

The man gives him a disdainful look. He would have been somewhat attractive, Simon isn’t too proud to admit that, but now he just looks like a douche.

“Did you run away just to see your mundane boyfriend?” His question is directed to Clary, and the tone of his voice let’s them both know exactly how he feels about this possibility.

Clary and Simon exchange a somewhat disgusted look. They are basically siblings. Dating each other would almost be incestuous.

“Listen, I don’t want anything to do with you or your family. I just want my life back!”

“This is your life now. You’re a shadowhunter Clary. Your mother is one, and so are you. And you had also ‘forgotten’ to tell us you were raised by Luke Garroway, beta of the New York Pack.”

Simon frowns. What does Luke have to do with all of this? He looks around while Clary and Jace keep arguing, and a stranger catches his eyes. There is a strange gleam in her eyes, something enticing and charming. He takes a few steps towards her, the voices of Jace and Clary fading. Only the woman’s charming smile matters now.

Chapter Text

Magnus swirls his drink lazily, an air of aloofness on his mask. His facade is effective on Shadowhunters at least, he is glad for that. Eve is asleep in Alexander’s bedroom, having refused to leave his or Magnus’ side since the attack. How terrible she had to witness this. Magnus counted five deaths, not including Elliot’s disappearance. A sour and bitter taste invades Magnus’ mouth at the other warlock’s name. The traitor had almost gotten them all killed, simply by arrogance. What a fool.

Isabelle Lightwood sits across from Magnus, looking troubled. She is a beautiful young woman. The genes of the Lightwood family are truly amazing, he reminds himself. First Alexander, now Isabelle... Their parents must be proud.

“You were Alexander’s parabatai then.” His voice is tranquil but he feels anything but that. Right after Jace and Clary’s departure, he had put up new wards, but he has to hold his magic at bay. He wants to change location; he doesn’t feel safe here.

“Yes.” The woman’s reply is short and angry.

“He talks about you a lot. And of course, I’ve heard of the famous Isabelle Lightwood from Meliorn. A shadowhunter who sleeps with Shadow People? You’re a real scandal.”

“Not half as much as a Downworlder who takes in a deruned shadowhunter.”

Touché. Magnus doesn’t hold her speech against her. She is young and repeats the words her parents taught her. Speaking of...

“Why did you not come visit Alexander later? Your mother was aware he was with me since he was thrown out of the Institute.”

Isabelle’s hands ball up into fists and anger flares up on her face again. She is so similar to Alexander, it’s jarring. They are two half of a soul, Magnus reminds himself. Have been for the last six years. They move the same way, not unlike Jace’s pacing from earlier but more graceful. Rather than a cat, the Lightwoods parabatais reminds him of a deer. Beautiful and fast, but so fragile.

“She didn’t tell us. Why didn’t Alec contact us?”

Magnus shrugs. “You would have to ask him yourself.”

“What did you do to him?”

This time, her question and accusing tone annoy him and a red hot anger flashes inside him. He pushes it down; he doesn’t have time for shadowhunters and their prejudices. He doesn’t want to educate one more, Alexander is already enough. Still, he won’t let her insult him like this.

“I did nothing to your brother. And before you say anything,” he cuts her off as she opens her mouth, “Eve did nothing either. Or any warlock. What happened earlier wasn’t warlock magic. Or Seelie, for that matter. If you had paid any attention, rather than being focused on what was wrong with your brother, you would have noticed what poured out of him wasn’t demonic in any way. If I were to make any kind of theory, which, as a High Warlock with hundreds of years more of experience than you, miss Lightwood, makes me quite qualified to do so, I would say that the energy was angelic. But then, why would you trust me? After all, I am only a warlock, the son of a demon. So dissimilar to you and your angelic ascent.”

Isabelle stiffens at Magnus’ words. She looks chastised, like a child being caught trying to sneak out. At least she is aware that she was wrong, Magnus thinks, but there is nothing to say she won’t just start again. Magnus has had his fill of Nephilim and their haughtiness. In the latest century, the only tolerable one has been Alexander. He wonders briefly how those two came to be parabatai. Was the breaking of the bond such a traumatic event that it created two widely different people in what had been an harmonious bond, or were the two already different? Or maybe Alexander has simply become his own person away from his sister. Whatever the reason, he finds that he doesn’t fully dislike the young woman for now, but there is definitely something that irks him about her.

“I apologize for my words,” she says after a few minutes of silence. Her head is bowed and her hands grip her knees tightly. She is the perfect picture of sorrow, with her silver dress catching the moonlight and her dark hair casting a shadow over her face. She is entrancing, Magnus will give her that. Attractive, lethal, quick-witted, and from a good family. It’s a wonder she isn’t already married to a male shadowhunter, producing offspring for their ongoing war. Against what they are fighting, Magnus isn’t certain. Is it, as they say, against the demonic hordes that threaten to invade their world or is it against anything that isn’t them? He is centuries old, can feel the wariness of the years in the deepest set of his heart some days, and he has seen the so-called angelic warriors massacre and kill Shadow People, for nothing more than sport and fun. He doesn’t have an ounce of respect for their war. Allowing Alexander to keep his weapons had been difficult, but the desperation in the eyes of the young man when he had said that hunting demons was all he was had shaken Magnus. For that only, he hates Nephilim. Raising your children and teaching them that, if they aren’t fighting, they have no reason to be is cruel and quite simply awful.

He is about to speak again when he feels his ward repelling someone, and it takes him a second to recognize Clary and Jace. He lets them in and stands back up.

“We can talk later. Your brother and Clary are back. You can sleep in the living room until the morning.”

Clary bursts in with an angry look on her face. “The vampires have Simon!”

---

She can’t believe she was so stupid. She doesn’t know what they are all talking about now, but she can’t believe she let that happen. Simon got hurt because of her. Simon is being held captive because of her. Clary hates herself for it, but mostly, she hates all the people who put her in this situation. Isabelle, Jace, her mother… All of them are to blame for Simon’s kidnapping.

“We can just raid the vamps right before sunrise,” Jace proposes. “It’s not this far at this point, and if Magnus portals us in it’ll be easy.”

“Hold on a minute, blondie,” Magnus protests. “I’m not your pet warlock, I’m not yours to command or anything. I’ve already refused to help you once, and I’m only allowing you to stay here because you are important to Alexander, who is important to Eve, who is my ward. You have got no privileges, no right to ask anything of me. You are guests and I’m an agreeable host, but do not push me.”

“Listen, the vampires have broken the accords,” Isabelle tries to argue, “they’ve taken a mundane, and who knows what they are doing to him right now. Are you really going to let them torture an innocent because Jace misspoke?”

“I am not—“

“Enough!” Clary is standing up, her hands clenched into fists. She is smaller than all of them, especially when Isabelle wears those heels, but she radiates pure anger that has all of them quiet down and look at her. “My best friend has been captured by vampires and you are all here talking linguistics! Who fucking cares! I just want Simon back.”

They stare at her with unblinking eyes. Magnus is the first to move again.

“If you would stop shouting, I would appreciate it. There is a very frightened eight years old warlock sleeping quite close, and if you wake her up I will have to kick you out. Now, for the matter of your friend. I have friends within the vampire clan, and it doesn’t surprise me that their leader tried something like this. However. You are all exhausted, and I am as well. I will call my friends now, but you three will rest. And since I don’t trust you to not go attack them now like the idiots you seem to want to be, I’ll have to ask you to stay here.”

He moves around as he speaks, snapping his fingers to let appear three camp beds. It’s very clear to both Shadowhunters present and Clary that Magnus’ request is actually an order. She opens her mouth to protest, but a look from the warlock silences her. He is familiar, she realizes now. There is something... she can’t quite put her finger on it, but the light of his magic is of a familiar shade and she is certain of having already seen that exact shade of brown. Or maybe it was gold...

“Go to bed, all three of you. Alexander will be pleased to see his family in the morning.”

He leaves the room at that and there is the distinctive sound of door locking. They are as prisoners here as Simon is with the vampires.

Clary falls asleep with great difficulty. She is surrounded by strangers, in the home of a man she is sure she has never seen and yet she can tell is familiar, and her best friend has been kidnapped by vampires. Her nightmares that night are vivid and bright, and she wakes up with increasing frequency, until a small hand touches her forehead.

Clary opens her eyes to see the little girl from earlier. Magnus’ daughter? She isn’t sure.

“Is there a problem,” Clary asks gently.

The little girl shakes her head. “You need to take it out before you understand,” she says in a soft, sleepy voice. She caresses Clary’s hair, seemingly fascinated with the long ginger strands.

“What...? Understand what? Take out what?”

The girl shrugs and her little hand pats Clary’s forehead again. From the pocket of her pajamas, she takes out a folded paper that she places onto Clary’s hand before leaving again. The young woman sits up on her cot, frowning. She unfolds the piece of paper with a frown and her frown deepens when she sees what’s on it.

Drowned in a soft yellow that glimmers gold with the early morning light, a feminine figure with the same wavy red curls as her own stands arms apart in the drawing. In one of her hands, there is a long sword with blue markings, and in the other is a staff. It’s not exactly a staff; one end has a slightly curved blade attached to it. Next to the woman, a large wolf that reaches up to her waist and then some. It’s a beautiful drawing, if frightening, especially for a child of the girl’s age. But Clary isn’t focused on that.

Her mind is stuck on two questions, two simple questions that come back stronger and stronger with each passing second. Why does she hold two weapons in this drawing? And why did the young warlock give this to her?

---

Simon’s eyes open lazily despite the incessant shaking of his shoulder. He doesn’t know why someone is so insistent on waking him up; he was having a perfectly pleasant dream in which he drew blood from the deliciously extended necks of a hundred strangers. As he re-enters the waking world, he realizes that this kind of dream would be categorized as a nightmare usually. It had felt so good though, the blood dripping down his mouth and in his throat…

He shakes his head. The ceiling, dark and high, moves with his head and he blinks rapidly, trying to adjust his eyes to the darkness. The hand on his shoulder doesn’t stop shaking him.

“Are you ever going to wake up properly or do I need to toss you outside while you’re still sleeping?”

The angry voice that mutters this is one Simon doesn’t recognize as familiar, but that he knows he has heard before. Was it yesterday, when he was with Clary? No. He looks towards the voice and startles. He recognizes the man now. His name is Raphael, he is a vampire, and he was the one who brought Simon to Camille.

Simon startles and moves away, falling from the couch he was sleeping on, and hitting the cold stone floor. The impact hurts, but not as much as his wounded pride. Still, he rolls away from Raphael, trying to find something to protect himself with. The other man is faster though, and stronger as well. Raphael lifts him up on his feet and examines him quickly, groaning when he notices that blood is imbibed in the shaking man’s sweater jacket.

“Did you drink her blood?”

The question confuses Simon. He doesn’t remember much from the previous night. He had been talking with Clary one minute, and then a woman had come up to him, and… After that, everything is blurry. He can picture Camille, the leader of the vampire, beautiful and cruel, can see Raphael waiting…

“I don’t… I don’t know?”

Raphael groans and swears under his breath, clearly annoyed. He puts Simon back on his feet properly and pushes him towards stairs hidden behind a wall. They go up and up, Simon’s head spinning more with every passing second. He feels weak, weak and unsteady, like he has no more center of gravity and is trying to walk despite that. His head is floating in clouds of red mist, and each time he closes his eyes he falls back asleep for the duration of the blink. He is not just tired, he’s exhausted beyond measure. He has never been this tired before.

Raphael shoves him against a door at the end of the stairs. “Open it,” he orders as he hides behind a closet.

The fear in the vampire tells to Simon that behind the door is either something very good, that will rescue him, or something very bad that even the undead fears. Considering that no one knows where he is, he is more inclined to believe the second option.

“Open it!” Raphael shouts, insistent and angry, looking backwards with a worried expression.

At this, Simon obeys on instinct. The light that pours inside the small room assuages all of Simon’s fear. This is a very good thing. He looks backward and sees Raphael disappearing back to the stairways before the sunlight can touch him.

Simon steps onto the roof, relishing into the early morning light that blinds him. He is safer here, at the top of a vampire den, than he ever was inside. A man is waiting on the left side of the door, twirling rings on his hands. He looks tired, but there is something impressive about him. He is a king amongst peasants, Simon thinks madly, as he steps towards him.

“Simon Lewis?”

Simon nods, and before he can say anything else, he falls down, unconscious.

“They really need to all stop doing that,” Magnus mutters as he catches Simon with his magic. “I’m not always going to be there for them.”

He takes a portal back to his apartment, making sure that he keeps Simon well within his grasp. It would be a shame if the mundane ended up lost to the void.

---

It’s peaceful when Alec wakes up. Eve is curled up against him, her hair tickling his neck and her small hands gripping his shirt tightly. In her sleep, she looks agitated, as if she is having nightmares. Alec caresses her hair lightly and presses a soft kiss to her forehead as he slowly extracts himself away from her. The girl protests and she opens her eyes slowly.

“Alec!” She is back to her normal, excited self as she throws himself in his arms again. “You’re awake! Are you okay? Are you feeling better? Mags said you needed to sleep, did you sleep enough?”

He chuckles warmly and lifts her in his arms. “So many questions, little lady! I’m fine, and yes, I slept more than enough. Were you here the whole time?”

She nods seriously. “Yes! Someone needed to make sure you were okay.”

He smiles softly and presses another kiss to her forehead as she cuddles against him, getting more comfortable in her perch. She’s featherlight in his arms despite her age. He worries sometimes, wonders what happened to her before Magnus found her. She’s so young and lively, so full of joy. He can’t bear the thought that anyone would hurt her.

The entirety of the events of the previous night comes back to his mind then. The men who had held a knife to her throat, the strange feeling that had overcome him… The magic in his hands. It’s crystal clear. Alec had used magic, the same way Magnus or Eve do. Maybe not the same way exactly but… It had felt similar enough. How could it be? Alec isn’t a warlock. He’s a Nephilim, a shadow hunter. He has angel blood in his vein, not demon.

“Alec,” the little girl taps at his chest lightly to gain his attention. “I’m hungry.”

The request evident in her voice makes him feel a bit lighter. The girl is a real joy to be around and he counts himself lucky that she trusts him.

“Then let’s get you fed, shall we?”

They start towards the kitchen, Alec putting her back down so she can walk next to him while holding his hand. She is still scared, he realizes as she stays close to him. She doesn’t want to go back to her room and her hold on him is tight. It makes his heart ache that she doesn’t feel safe anymore in her home. A flash of fury burns in his chest. He’ll make her feel safe again.

The doors to the living room are closed, which surprises him. In the three weeks he has been here, he has never seen them closed. He puts his hand on the handle, but it doesn’t bulge as he presses down. Eve shrugs when he sends her a question look.

“Maybe you gotta knock?”

Her suggestion makes him smile, but he does as she suggested, not hoping for much. He wonders why Magnus would lock the door though; it’s uncharacteristic of the warlock who always leave all the doors open, even the one to his workshop, and then will scold Alec for walking inside while looking for him. Living with Magnus is a startling different experience from living at the Institute. It’s cozy and warm, and despite the multiple disagreements that come with near-strangers living together, it’s the most comfortable Alec has ever been. Which is why he feels so unsteady at this sudden change.

The door opens after his first knock, the lock clicking loudly in the mechanism. He gives a look at Eve and she smiles innocently, but he can tell she did something by the way she pushes her hands behind herself quickly. He gives her a wink before looking up. Three pair of eyes look back at him and he freezes. His siblings are there, staring at him. The girl he helped the week before is there too, looking startled by his presence. Magnus is nowhere to be seen.

“Alec?” Izzy’s voice is soft and questioning, like she can’t believe what she is seeing.

He lets go of Eve’s hand and walks forward, hesitantly at first, but there are tears in his sister’s eyes, and he can’t let that happen. As soon as she is within reach, he tugs her in his arms and holds her tightly. He feels her sobbing, feels her hands holding tightly onto his shirt, so tightly his shirt is close to ripping. Being with her again is perfection. His soul sings at the closeness of his former parabatai, and he wonders again at whether or not their bond was affected by the disappearance of the rune. Magnus has been looking into it, but it’s been a fruitless search for now. The strength of his emotions as he is reunited with her leads him to believe the bond isn’t fully broken. He feels his hands ache, an echo of her pain, and there is a barrier that breaks in his mind as he embraces her. They are back to being, to existing in full now that they have found one another again.

They stay like this for a little while, until Jace comes to clap him on the shoulder. At this point, Alec turns and hugs his brother tightly as well. He turns when a little hand tugs at his shirt and brings Eve in his arms when the girl beckons him.

“Eve, this is my sister Isabelle, and my brother Jace. Guys, this is Eve, she is Magnus’ ward.”

Eve waves a bit, but she doesn’t say anything, which Alec knows isn’t unusual. He can’t help the pang of disappointment though. He had hoped, maybe a bit foolishly, that if Eve ever met his siblings, she would immediately take to Izzy, at least, like she did with him. But the wave is better than nothing, so he simply smiles as his brother and sister as they say hello.

“Um, hi?” The voice comes from the redheaded girl— no, woman, Alec realizes as he looks at her closely.

She is young, younger than Izzy, but she is probably eighteen or above, from the way she holds herself. She is wearing one of Izzy’s dress, dark and a bit uncomfortable from the way she tugs on it. He would smile, but she is a stranger around his family. Instinctively, he puts a had on Eve, turning ever so slightly so the girl is slightly hidden.

“Who are you and why are you here?” Alec’s voice is hard and unrelenting.

“My name’s Clary, and be assured that I would rather be elsewhere, but your boyfriend locked us in here in the middle of the night.” She crosses her arms and stands proudly, refusing to give an inch.

He respects that and doesn’t pay attention to her boyfriend comment. “What business do you have with Magnus?”

“Your mother directed them towards me,” Magnus says from behind, the swoosh of his portal closing sounding at the same time, “and they followed me despite my clear refusal.”

Eve runs to her foster father and hugs him tightly. She looks much younger in this moment, less like the serious young warlock she pretends to be with the people she doesn’t know, and more like the child she really is. Magnus hugs her back and keeps a hand on her shoulder as he snaps his fingers, a passed out young man lifting from the floor to go lay on one of the couches Magnus had brought in for the impromptu guests.

“Simon!” Clary runs to the boy. “What happened to him?”

“He met with some vampires, and I can only assume they were quite hungry,” Magnus replies calmly. He looks exhausted, and Alec wonders when was the last time he slept.

“You let vampires feed on him?” Jace accuses as much as he questions and Alec frowns. It’s nothing unusual coming from him, and a few weeks ago he would have not hesitated to ask that same question. Now though, he hears the accusations and the judgment for what it is, and it irritates him. Jace should know better than to believe that Magnus would bring a mundane to a vampire den and let the vampires feed on said mundane, and that she assumes he did that because he is a Shadow People… It’s unbelievably irritating. Magnus, and all his people, deserves much better than this treatment. Alec is slowly understanding why Magnus doesn’t like or trust shadow hunters.

“I did no such thing,” the warlock bites back, and the anger in his voice is palpable. “Might I remind you that I went to get him back, had a friend risk his life, just because you and miss Fray were too busy arguing to pay attention to what went on around you? Now, insult me again, mister Wayland, and I will have to ask you to leave. It’s only because of Alexander that I allowed you to stay, but now I would rather have you out of my house.”

Jace looks as if he’s been hit by Magnus’ reply. Alec sighs a bit at this. He doesn’t know what’s happening with the mundane, with this Clary, but if Magnus really did bring back the boy from the vampires, they should be a little more grateful.

The redhead doesn’t seem to be offended by Magnus’ tone. Rather, she seems to be in agreement with him and throws Jace an annoyed look.

“Thank you,” she tells Magnus. “Is there anything we can do to help him?”

“Just a lot of rest, biscuit.” This time the answer has a fond tone. Alec knows that tone; Magnus uses it when he speaks about his friends, those he rarely ever sees, and their shenanigans. “From now on, he’ll be fine as long as he gets plenty of rest.”

Clary nods and Magnus’ attention is brought back to Alec. A smile, small and private, illuminates his face. It’s only intended to the deruned shadowhunter but there is no doubt his siblings catch it. Alec doesn’t really care what they think of it. Magnus is family, despite the little they have known each other.

“You look like crap,” is the first thing that he says to Magnus, and he immediately winces.

Rather than be offended, the warlock laughs. “So do you, Alexander. It’s good to see you back on your feet. You must be quite confused about all this, so why don’t we have a chat while we have breakfast? Your siblings may stay, if they wish so.”

“It’s fine,” Izzy answers a bit shortly. Alec almost wants to say she seems jealous, but of what? Of the familiarity between the two men? Of the way Alec has relaxed when Magnus arrived? “Alec, you should come home with us. We’ll explain everything there, and even without your runes, you can still live at the Institute. Mom misses you, and Max does too. You can come home Alec.”

Home. The only problem is… When Alec pictures home, he doesn’t see the Institute anymore. He sees this place, with Eve and Magnus, and Cat dropping by every so often. The home Izzy refers to is her home, but it was never really his. He had never felt safe there, except when he had been with her or Jace, and his entire time had been spent hiding or obeying. Here, he is free. Magnus doesn’t control him, only gives him limitations on what not to do around Eve, but those Alec accepts willingly. The Institute had been stifling. He has never felt as good then since they deruned him. It’s a strange thought, but he is thankful for the experience. It gave him what he has always wanted and always thought he could never have: unconditional acceptance, and a chance to be himself fully.

“I’m already home Iz,” he says and the pang of sadness coming from her is so strong he can’t help but reach out to her.

She pushes his hand away. “How can you say this? You have been here only a few weeks! Do you not miss us, miss me?”

“Of course I miss you—“

“But you prefer staying here to live with warlocks.” Jace interrupts, and the way he says the word warlock is so harsh that his meaning is clear. The idea that Alec would rather stay with warlocks, with downworlders, revolts him. Alec can hear him thinking they’re beneath us and you should be with your own people. But Alec is with his people, he has realized that over the days. Of course, his siblings and his mother will always be his people as well, but he has found a home here. He’s happier here than he was at the Institute.

“Yes,” he snaps at his brother, walking towards him and using his height to make himself bigger. He couldn’t take Jace in a fight before, but now… “Those warlocks, as you said, helped me. Took me in when I needed help. They showed me more kindness in the last few weeks than Nephilim all my life. They are wonderful people. Magnus is a great leader, and he always makes sure all the people under his care, because he doesn’t consider it a command, are safe and happy. Even those he dislikes. All the warlocks I’ve met in my time here have been kind and nice. They have helped me more than the Clave ever would have. They know who I am, what I am, and they don’t love me despite it, but for it. So I would think, Jace, you should watch your words. Because you may be my brother, but Magnus, Eve, and all the warlocks, they are my people now. And I’ll protect them till the day I die.”

A long silence follows his speech. He doesn’t back down, stays towering over the blond man and staring into his heterochromatic eyes. He can feel Magnus’ eyes on him, knows without looking that the man is trying to regain control of himself after this declaration. Alec has never properly told him how grateful he is, how happy he is about all Magnus has done for him. Now, it’s out in the open, and he doesn’t regret it one bit. Jace looks away after a minute or two.

Alec turns away then and goes to stand next to Magnus. “Now, if you want to stay, Magnus said it was alright. But if it’s to assume that warlocks are beneath you, then I would rather you go.”

Izzy walks closer to him and takes his hand this time, her eyes filled with tears again. She opens her mouth to speak again, but no words come out. There is sorrow and realization coming from her. He has stopped questioning why he fills her emotions still; he doesn’t care anymore for the reason. He drags her into his arms and kisses her forehead. If she understands the pain she causes, then it’s not too late for her. Alec has learnt that with Magnus, who has been patient with him. But the warlock shouldn’t be expected to explain to every single shadowhunter why their words, their prejudices, their very behavior towards Shadow People. If it takes Alec raising his voice to stop the negative comments from the others, then Alec will yell and rage on behalf of the warlocks and all Shadow People.

“I’m sorry,” Izzy whispers against his shirt, and then repeats it to Magnus, who nods gracefully.

Eve is nowhere to be seen, but Alec doesn’t worry. He can hear her in the kitchen, trying to cook breakfast for them. Judging from the noises, she’ll soon try to use her magic to do it. They should hurry their discussions, if they want to avoid that. Last time she tried, the coffee she made had been bean juice, and it’s an experience he isn’t looking forward to repeat. He stares at Jace, who crosses his arms before looking at them.

“I didn’t mean to imply this. I’ll be more careful from now on.”

“Good,” Alec answers his brother. He turns to Magnus then. “I was promised breakfast? I’m starving.”

“When are you not,” Magnus rolls his eyes, but he pats Alec’s arm fondly and leads them all to the kitchen.

Chapter Text

Clary looks at all the people gathered around the table and sighs. She is around strangers, her only friend is passed out in the next room, and she has a strange drawing made by a child in her pocket. She doesn’t feel particularly unsafe, but all the people around the table are powerful, even Eve, and she feels so small and weak. She doesn’t understand much of what is going on, besides that apparently magic is also a thing now, and that Isabelle and Jace have a brother who was forced out of their home for some reason.

“I’m glad to see you are doing well Clary,” Magnus says as Alec pours them all a cup of coffee, except for Eve, to whom he gives a cup of hot chocolate she accepts eagerly.

“So you know me?” The redhead woman questions.

“And you know me as well, although you probably don’t remember me. Your mother brought you here when you were a child, and a few times more, when you saw beyond the veil.”

“Why though? Why did she bring me to you, why do I not remember?”

“Ah,” Magnus looks a bit contrite at this, “Your mother told me she wanted to raise you as a mundane, without any knowledge of the Shadow World. Each time she brought you here, you had seen a demon, or in the later years a Shadow Person.”

“Shadow Person,” she interrupts with a questioning tone. Does he mean Shadowhunters? Or maybe Downworlders? Clary doesn’t really know what to think.

“An inhabitant of the Shadow World, most of the time others than Nephilim.” He must see the confusion on her face because he smiles gently and explains further. “Nephilim are Shadowhunters, the children of angels. Shadow People are warlocks, seelies, vampires and werewolves.”

“Downworlders then?” She regrets instantly her question, because Magnus’ face hardens and Alec tenses.

“That term is only used by Nephilim to describe us. Shadow people consider it demeaning and insulting and prefer being called a shadow person. It’s much more appropriate.”

Clary apologizes and the man relaxes slightly, but he gives a wary glance to the two Shadowhunters in the room. If Clary understood well, Alec is no longer a shadowhunter, but he is still a Nephilim. But he has magic powers, so is he a warlock...? She’s getting confused, and no one is explaining anything clearly enough.

Focusing back onto her first questions, she continues, “So my mother came here, for what?”

“She asked me to remove your memories. Of course, at first I didn’t want to. But—“

“But she offered you payments, so you forgot all your principles and did it anyway,” Jace scoffs.

Alec rises up, looking at his brother angrily. But he doesn’t have time to do anything. Magnus puts a hand on his arm calmly, his face completely blank, and Alec sits back down. Clary is a bit surprised at the way the two men move around each other. They seem close and more than friends, but there is a distance in the way they hold each other apart. A strange separation that doesn’t seem natural, but Clary doesn’t know either of them well enough to judge.

“Yes, I did.” Magnus answers, on a calm tone that let see a sea of raw rage. In that instant, the warlock is a predator calmly waiting to pounce on its pray. “I removed Clary’s memory. I suppose you know what happens to warlocks that refuse service to a shadowhunter? I’m sure you understand that, despite the payment I asked being quite outrageous, I made sure Clary was safe. I placed a warlock with Jocelyn and her, made sure they were safe away from Clary’s father. And that warlock came back to me with a hole in her stomach made by a shadow hunter’s blade. Made by Jocelyn Fairchild. So yes, I “forgot” my principles, but consider this. I did it because I had to. And I did not do it happily. So keep your scoffs and your mockeries to yourself, Jace Wayland. You might not appreciate to what my “principles” bow when I am threatened and insulted in my own home, repeatedly.”

Jace, seemingly unhappy with Magnus’ barely veiled threat, starts to get the dagger that hangs onto his belt out. Before he has the time to let it slide more than a couple of inches, a glowing blue blade is pressed against his throat. Alec has moved with an inhuman rapidity, so fast he was just a blur in Clary’s vision. She doesn’t understand why Jace is acting this way, why he and Izzy seem to have an issue with him. She is starting to understand that the Shadowhunters, as a whole, have an issue with the Shadow People; but Maryse was the one who had sent them here. Clary thinks the Head of the Institute knew her eldest son was here, and she knew that Magnus was the one who had taken Clary’s memory. How she knew that second part, the redhead has no idea.

“Move your blade, brother,” Alec says in a low, threatening voice, “And we will see which one of us is the fastest once and for all.”

Jace has an angry light in his eyes, but he puts down his weapon and moves his hands on the table. Alec waits a few seconds before moving backwards and placing his own sword back in his pocket.

Izzy hasn’t moved. She said nothing during this whole time, but Clary can tell she is thinking about something, examining her brothers intently. Her eyes keep falling back on Alec though, and Clary wonders if she recognizes her own brother in this man. Alec seems so different from his siblings, if it wasn’t for his resemblance to Isabelle, Clary would have troubles knowing they are truly of the same family. Have those last weeks really changed him so much that his own siblings don’t recognize him, or has Clary not seen enough of him?

“Back to Jocelyn,” Magnus breaks the silence with a sip of his cup and addresses Clary. “Your mother came to me when you were maybe a few years old, six I think. You had seen a demon in a park, and your mother begged me to remove the Sight from you. Because I judged it too dangerous, she asked me to take your memories. I did it, for a price. I wasn’t foolish, I knew who your father was, but —“

“My father? What does a dead police officer has to do with this world?”

Magnus stares at Clary at her interruption. He is dumbfounded, clearly. Her question took him aback. She’s getting confused herself. First, her mother had spoken of her father before trying to attack her, and now Magnus. Her father had died before her birth, that’s what her mother had always said. He had died while they had been on a vacation to Kiev and that was why they went there every summer for a week. Her mother had told her he had been attacked by a band of feral animals. It had terrified Clary of the woods for a few years, but she had gone back with Luke and Simon after a while.

“Did Jocelyn not tell you about who your father was?”

She shakes her head and Magnus sighs deeply. He seems as old as he really is in that instant, and not the late twenties, early thirties man he appears to be.

“Your father’s name is Valentine Morgenstern.” Multiple gasps from the Shadowhunters resonate, and Clary sees Alec take hold of his blade again. “I don’t know what your mother told you about him, but he was a monster. A real, Nephilim made, monster. He was a shadowhunter, long ago, but he quit the Clave when he formed his own little group, the Circle. His men are those who attacked us yesterday. They are easily recognizable thanks to the rune Valentine places on their neck. He tried to annihilate all demonblooded creature. And your mother was right there with him, until she disappeared with the Mortal Cup.”

“The Mortal Cup,” Clary questions, “isn’t that what the vampires wanted in exchange of Simon?”

“Every single Shadow Person, including Nephilim, wants the Mortal Cup,” Alec answers this time. “Whoever has it can control demons. It’s a powerful tool. The Clave had it before Morgenstern’s rebellion. Since then, it’s been lost.”

“So what, my mother stole this cup, left my father, and then decided to raise me normally?”

“Seems like it,” Izzy shrugs next to her. “Didn’t you say she talked about your father before attacking you though?”

She did, and that’s what troubles Clary. She doesn’t understand her own mother anymore. She had thought she had known her mother to be a caring and sweet woman who was grieving a dead husband and had refused to date again because of it. Now, she is hearing that her mother was married to a bloodthirsty man who wanted to kill more than half the population of Shadow People. She wonders what else she doesn’t know.

“Alright,” she says decidedly, putting down her cup. “Tell me everything I need to know about this world.”

---

“Wait, wait,” Izzy interrupts for the first time since her brother’s reprimand. “You gave her memories to Valak?”

A flash of regret illuminates Magnus’ face, but he crosses his arms.

“Yes I did,” he answers calmly.

“But why? He’s a greater demon! He’s dangerous!”

“I was supposed to keep Clary’s memories hidden,” he answers, not relaxing. Alec is a bit tense next to him, but the two men don’t touch. “If Valentine knew I had her memories, he could have tortured them out of me. He can’t do that with Valak.”

She’ll admit that, despite the danger and the madness of it all, his reasoning is sensible. She doesn’t understand him. She can tell Alec has a great deal of respect and appreciation for him, and something else she is afraid to acknowledge. If she did, it would make it real, and she would rather be in denial. That way, she doesn’t lose her brother again.

Magnus is kind, but ferocious. He is a well of anger, much deeper than she is, but he has a calmness that is soothing and gentle. He is the most powerful warlock Izzy has ever met, but he doesn’t use his magic without good cause, which is probably to benefit his ward, Eve. Here is another puzzle that doesn’t fit with what Izzy knows of Downworlders. They aren’t parental beings, they are just there to spread their illness... or at least, that’s what she has been told, both at the Academy and at the Institute. Just like the fact that all Downworlders, because of their demon blood, are lesser than mundanes, she finds herself realizing that it’s probably not true.

She thinks it’s partly because Alec has realized this as well, because he called them his people and she can’t bear the thought of Alec being different from her in such a way. The Clave insisted that Alec was a monster, wasn’t worthy of living, just like they insisted that the Downworlders aren’t either. If it isn’t true for her brother, because she knows it isn’t, then why would it be true for them?

She comes back to the conversation when Clary says, “then we have got to summon him, so I can get my memories back!”

“Summoning a Greater Demon isn’t as easy as you appear to think it is,” Magnus answers. “It’s particularly unsafe, and something that should be considered for a little time. In my state, I couldn’t do it without putting us in danger. So for now, I would advise you, Miss Lightwood and Miss Wayland, go back to the New York Institute. Maryse Lightwood is not a woman you keep in the dark about this kind of thing.”

“I can just call her,” Izzy offers, aware of the stillness of Jace next to her. “She is the one who sent us to you and who gave us your necklace.”

Izzy still has the necklace around her neck. She had put it back after the attack last night, after Magnus had disappeared off to take care of Alec. It feels wrong to keep it now, and she goes to take it off, but the smooth skin of the warlock’s hand is over hers in an instant.

“Keep it. It hasn’t been mine in many years,” he says softly, and there is something in his eyes, pain and agony. He is unmistakably human in that moment, bleeding from centuries-old wound on his kitchen table. “Your family has had it for many years. And I know Alexander doesn’t fancy jewelry, so I would rather you have it. It will warn you of incoming demons. Any pain that you feel, Alexander will as well, and I would rather avoid that for the foreseeable future.”

Alec has told him about the strangely unbroken bond then? Izzy wonders how much her parabatai has trusted this man. It amazes her a bit, how three weeks changed him. Last time she had seen him, he had been sullen and quiet, so withdrawn within himself she had sometimes forgotten he was there. She had been lighter, happier. With her brothers by her side, she could have taken on the whole world. Now, Alec is gone, living with Magnus, with eyes that glow blue and a child attached to him. And Jace… She hadn’t noticed the toll it had taken on him before now. How three weeks can switch the whole world, she doesn’t know. But she knows it happened. No sense fighting it anymore.

She clasps the necklace back around her neck and nods. “Thank you. I would rather stay here with Alec, if that’s okay with you? I’m sorry to impose my presence so much but—“

“Of course,” Magnus says, although he seems a bit surprised. Probably at her apology; she truly didn’t give the best impression.

“I’m going back to the Institute,” Jace says, a bit bitter. “Clary and her mundane should come with me, to not raise suspicion. Maryse will tell people you are still out on the field.”

He is already up, gathering back his jacket.

“Hey, who said I was going to follow your every order?” Clary is indignant, and Izzy wants to bang her own head against the table. The girl is strong headed, and usually Isabelle would admire it, but now? Now she just wants a moment alone with her parabatai, to talk with him and reconnect, and learn again who he is. If Clary would agree with Jace for once, it would make their lives so much easier, at least until the next day.

“You can learn more about Valak if you go back to the Institute,” Jace argues back. “Since it looks like we’ll be facing him soon, that would be much better for everyone. So now, let’s go, get your mundane up, and back to the Institute. We’ll check him fully then, make sure he is completely alright.”

Clary argues a bit more, but she relents when Magnus says that yes, he will summon Valak if she goes back to the shadow hunters’ home. The warlock is clearly exhausted, because he doesn’t even demand a payment. Maybe, Izzy ponders, he feels like he owes it to her? He was the one to take them from her, after all. At her mother’s demand, yes, but if Izzy were in Magnus’ position, she would feel some guilt still.

Before they leave, as Clary is getting Simon from the next room, Alec grabs Jace’s arm. The two men exchange a few words, and the worry that had wrinkled both of their forehead smoothes out. They knock their forehead together gently and smiles to each other. They are brothers, no matter how much they may fight. Izzy is sure that, just like herself, Jace would do anything for Alec. Just like he would do anything for the two of them.

Magnus excuses himself from the room, going to see Eve who went back to sleep after her cup of cocoa. And so Alec and Izzy are together again.

They stay silent at first, staring at each other with a shared amazement and pain. There is anger on her part as well. Not against him, but against everyone else still. All those who separated her from him, they’ll pay one day.

“I’m here,” he says softly, breaking the silence as he walks closer. He touches her elbow lightly and she realizes that, defensively, she wrapped her arm around herself. She feels so small.

“I’m here,” he repeats and drags her into a tight embrace. Both are crying now, and words wouldn’t be useful for now. Their hearts soar in unison, a beautiful song of renewal and love. The skin where their parabatai runes had been prickles and it feels like they are on fire. They are one again, despite all the attempts of the Clave to break their bond.

---

Magnus hates this whole situation. Because of the Clave’s bigotry, he finds himself entangled in shadow hunters’ affairs once more. He likes Alexander, perhaps more than he should, considering they are a warlock and a former shadow hunter, and there is also Clary who he likes, but all the mess around them? He would rather not have it in his life. Taking in Eve had been already a difficult choice. If Catarina hadn’t been there, with Dot dropping by whenever she could, and Ragnor calling whenever he left his infernal self imposed isolation, he isn’t sure he would have made it.

“Magnus?” Eve is waking up from her second nap of the day. She had been curled up in his bed when he had come to rest, and she had only woken up to snuggle close to him. He hadn’t minded too much. It felt… nice, to be loved by a child. She trusted him to take care of her, to teach her and love her, and he did her best to not disappoint her. She wasn’t easy every day, but the good outweighed the bad. Her shyness and fear also stopped her from really letting herself free to behave however she wanted.

“Yes sweetpea,” he answers, caressing her curls and smiling.

“Is Alec going to leave us?” Her eyes doesn’t meet his, and she looks sadder than he has ever seen her before.

The question, and more importantly her behavior, break his heart a little. “I don’t know darling,” he answers truthfully. “Alec has his family to look out for, and he misses them a lot since he came here with us. He might want to go back to his home, where there is his mother and his sister and brothers.”

“But here, he has us,” she pouts, looking sadder for his answer. “He doesn’t love us enough, is that why he is gonna leave? I don’t want him to leave! I’ll make him love us more!”

“Eve, you know it doesn’t work that way. Alec loves you very much, but sometimes grown ups have to move away. I’m sure that, even if he goes back to his home, he’ll come back to see you all the time.”

“I can make him love us more, that way he never has to leave,” she says and her eyes are sparkling with the galaxy she holds within.

Magnus feels her magic an instant after, and it pierces through his body with the precision of an arrow. She is so powerful for her age, and she has so little control, but as she focuses on her fear, it all becomes one iron tipped will. She is trying to gain control over Alexander, but he acts as a shield. She panics a bit when she realizes what she is doing, and her control slips. Her magic comes loose. Suddenly, it’s not only Magnus’ mind that is under attack. It’s his magic, his being, his everything. And through him, all the enchantments and wards he has placed upon the apartment.

The walls shake furiously. Magnus groans and, with great effort, he clasps his hands over Eve’s.

“Stop it!” He shouts. She barely hears him, lost in her own magic, her eyes so out of focus he doesn’t even think she is aware of his presence anymore.

He grabs her face and plants his eyes in hers, drawing on his magic to contain hers. She snaps back in control when he touches her, and together they manage to stop her spell.

“I’m sorry,” she cries out and hugs him tightly, “I’m so sorry Magnus!”

“It’s alright,” he soothes her.

The door is thrown open right as she is looking up and Alec steps through, looking worried as he holds a seraph blade low. His sister is slightly behind him, a staff in her hand. It surprises him to notice she looks as worried as he does. Maybe he misjudged her. Or maybe she is changing, for her brother.

“Is everything alright?” Alexander is panicked as he speaks, his eyes searching for a potential threat.

“We are fine,” Magnus reassures him and indicates to the blade. “Would you mind putting that away?”

He nods sheepishly and goes to put the seraph weapon away. His sister doesn’t seem reassured still, and they exchange a long look before he leaves the room. Parabatai pairs, Magnus remembers from his readings, often grow so accustomed to the other’s heart and mind that conversations can be reduced to a few words and glances. Although, it probably helps that they just had two hours to talk together.

“What happened,” Isabelle asks, not unkindly but with the same tone he has heard from hundred of shadow hunters before her. It’s authoritative and demanding, clearly establishing superiority. Magnus resents that tone and would rather see the young woman out of his bedroom. He feels uncomfortable with the siblings’ presence here. This is his own sacred space, where he goes when he needs to relax or to get away from the world.

Eve is out of his arms in an instant and she runs to Isabelle, her eyes wide.

“Please don’t take Alec away,” she cries again, tears rolling down her cheeks. “I don’t want him to go!”

Isabelle is surprised, that much is clear. She looks at the child clinging to her leg with her mouth hanging open for a few seconds. She crouches down as her brother comes back and smiles gently. It changes her whole face, so different from her stern and angry looks from before. She looks like the 20 years old she is, with dimples and high cheekbones, and a lovely smile. Her eyes are kinder as well, no longer overshadowed by furrowed eyebrows.

“I’m not taking him away,” she says in a gentle voice. “I’ve missed my brother a lot, but where we live, it’s not safe for him. They don’t love him like you and I do, and they think he shouldn’t be able to come back. That makes me really sad, but I know he is happy here with you and Magnus. Can I ask you to do something though?”

Eve nods a bit shyly.

“Can you watch over him for me? If you and Magnus are okay with that, I would like to come by to see him, but when I’m not there, I need someone to make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid.”

“Like exploding the lightbulbs?” Eve asks shyly again, but she looks calmer and smiles a bit.

“Exactly like that. Do you think you can look after him sometimes? He told me you are a very important person and the strongest warlock he knows, so I hope I can count on you!”

Eve nods eagerly now, having brightened up at the compliments. “I’ll do just that, miss Isabelle!”

“None of that miss stuff,” the woman chuckles warmly. “Call me Izzy okay?”

Magnus watched the whole exchange with curiosity and a latent fear that Izzy would say something that would hurt his ward. But rather, Eve looks much happier now, and she goes to hug Alec now, who smiles warmly and hugs her back. The nephilim passes an arm around his sister and hugs her as well.

And well. Looking at them, Magnus doesn’t think he hates the situation altogether. Yes, he would rather not put Eve or himself in danger, but the younger warlock is opening up more and more to the world. The smile on Alexander’s face as he takes comfort in Eve and Izzy’s embrace is also worth quite the amount of pain. It is quite a beautiful smile.

---
Simon’s thoughts are muddled when he comes back to himself. He had nightmares upon nightmares, and his neck aches. He sits up, and the hard bed under him tells him immediately he isn’t at home. He is in a strange room, with strange drawings around, and—

He gasps as he remember. Clary, the vampires, the man on the roof… And then nothing? Is he at the Institute, the place Clary had told him about? If so, they should really improve their furniture. This bed could be made of rock, he wouldn’t notice the difference much. There is no one in the room with him, but the door is slightly ajar, showing a corridor. Simon doesn’t feel really inclined to explore, but still.

He stands up slowly, unsure of how much his legs will take. He is still tired and he is hungry, but the cravings are strange. He has never felt anything like it. He probably just needs a strong cup of coffee. Nothing heals his soul like a large cup of coffee.

He stops as he catches sight of himself in the mirror that hangs next to the door. He is still dressed in his clothes from… however many days have passed, and there is blood smeared over his t-shirt. There is a dark mark over his neck, around which there is dried blood. He looks as exhausted as he feels, with dark marks around his eyes. But what made him stop, rather than his appearance, is the woman standing behind him in the mirror.

It’s the vampire who drank from him. Camille, he thinks her name was. She smiles sweetly, her teeth showing, white and sparkling. She is beautiful yes, but in the way you would find beautiful a predator. He checks behind himself; there is no one.

“Don’t worry, my darling,” she purrs, “I’m just with you. Only you can see me.”

Despite the cold shiver that runs through him in that instant, there is a part of him that feels honored that she chose him. A voice in his mind whispers that it was a privilege to be chosen by such a woman, with so much power and abilities. She wouldn’t choose anyone at random, after all. She decided he was worthy of her attention. She had even let him drink from her… It was a proof of trust, wasn’t it? She decided to trust him.

He snaps himself out of that line of thoughts. She drank his blood, manipulated him, and now she is in the mirror. In his head?

She smirks like she knows exactly what he is thinking. “Now, my darling, don’t get your head twisted. You are a very special man, aren’t you?”

Her voice is enchanting, deep and delicate. It wraps itself around Simon like a hot blanket over his body on a freezing day. He shakes his head. She can’t do this to him again.

“Don’t you want to know why I chose you?” She purrs again. “After all, I gave you my blood… Don’t you see it’s a sign that you are destined to be great? After all, not everyone can claim to have drank from a vampire as powerful as I am.”

“Stop it,” he protests, “Leave me alone!”

“But why would I do that,” she asks, her tone so sickeningly sweet it made him want to throw up, “don’t you want me to stay?”

It turns his stomach that some part of him does actually want that. He wants to be back with the beautiful woman, back close to her, back in her arms. The memory of her teeth is even a sweet one. The intense pleasure that had coursed through his body as she had fed on him had been so great and amazing he can’t help but want it again. And yet… he knows it wasn’t right. He knows what she did was assault, that she manipulated him into enjoying it with her powers or whatever. He really doesn’t want to see her a second time and have her do the same thing to him again.

She’s just about to speak when Clary bursts into the room.

“Simon!” She shouts this so loudly his head spins a bit, and the woman in the mirror disappears with a wink. “You’re awake!”

She throws herself in his arms, hugging him tightly, and he instinctively wraps his arms back around her. He finally feels like himself again as he hugs his best friend. Everything will be alright as long as they have each other, he is sure of that.

Chapter Text

Magnus only calls Izzy and the others two days after their first visit. It’s a bit unnerving to wait for so long after finally seeing Izzy and Jace again, but Alec doesn’t protest. Eve’s outburst had shaken him up, when he had heard why she had been so distraught. He is as attached to her as she is to him now, and he knows he couldn’t leave her anymore either. He knows he could make no claim to her. She is Magnus’ ward, she is, if anyone, Magnus’ daughter. But he has grown to love her more than he had expected. He might have saved her life on that first night, but ever since then, she has saved his time and time again.

“Alexander, would it bother you to stop laying on the couch while I work for your sister and her friends?”

Magnus’ teasing voice comes from overhead. Alec is indeed lying down on the couch, reading one of Magnus’ books on shadow hunters, trying to learn more about broken parabatai bonds, while the warlock is preparing a potion. The man is smiling down at the Nephilim, making him even more handsome and beautiful than he usually is with the late morning light that streams inside the living room. An urge to reach out and caress Magnus’ cheek overcomes Alec. He wants to touch that soft looking skin, wants to know how those red lips feel on his. He wants Magnus suddenly.

It’s sudden, and yet not at all. Those last few weeks have been a slow built up to this. It’s not an overwhelming desire, more like a slow memory of something that’s always been within Alec. It’s quite similar to the love Alec has for Eve; it feels like the most natural of things. He was born to be Alexander, but also to adore Eve, and to appreciate the beauty of Magnus Bane.

“So?” Magnus asks a bit impatiently and grins when Alec rolls his eyes.

“Alright, alright, what do you need me to do?” Alec stands up, putting the book on the table. “I can’t exactly make a potion like you do or shoot fire out of my hands.”

They haven’t talked about what happened the night the Circle attacked. Magnus had not broached the subject, and Alec hadn’t either. Izzy had tried to ask him about it, but he had brushed her off. He doesn’t want to think about what happened. He doesn’t want to believe he did that. Maybe it was Eve’s closeness. It probably was. It can’t have been him.

“You never know what could happen,” Magnus says softly, putting a hand against his bicep. “But I’m not asking any of this. Cat and Dot are dropping by to pick Eve up. I’m not keeping her while we are summoning a Greater Demon. Could you get her to pack a small bag? I need to keep working on this potion.”

“Sure,” Alec agrees easily enough, ignoring the warmth that blooms under Magnus’ palm. Now that he has understood what he feels, it might be a bit more difficult to ignore the way his stomach swoops and drops when Magnus touches him. Which is often, considering how tactile the warlock is. It’s hardly a hardship though.

Alec goes to Eve’s room and finds the little girl in deep concentration in front of her bright orange backpack.

“Need any help?”

“Alec! I don’t know which games to take. I don’t know if Auntie Cat has any games at her house!”

“I’m sure that even if she doesn’t have a game, she’ll get some for you. And there is her fiancée, Dot. You remember her?” At the girl nods, he smiles. “You know, I’m sure they know tons of games I don’t. Plus, you get to spend the whole night with your favorite auntie, isn’t that cool?”

Eve nods eagerly and claps her hands a bit. “You think she’ll let me have ice cream?”

“I’m sure she will,” he laughs. “You’ll just have to be very nice. But I’m sure you will be, isn’t it?”

When she grins and nods again, he helps her finish her bag. He can hear the bell ringing but doesn’t pay any attention. It must be Cat and Dot, so he lets them a bit of time to chat with Magnus before they take Eve with them.

When he brings Eve out, he finds that it is his siblings and the redhead young woman, Clary, who are talking with Magnus. Jace seems to have calmed down, and to be more civilized today than the last time. Izzy is wearing more comfortable clothes than her silver dress, and Clary has borrowed clothes from his sister. Eve smiles at Izzy and goes to say hi immediately.

“Bag all packed then?” Magnus asks conversationally. He doesn’t smile, but there is a small light in his eyes. He isn’t angry, at least, and for that Alec is glad. He is aware that Magnus didn’t have to do this for Clary, didn’t have to put himself in danger just because the young woman asked for her memories back. After all, he was paid to bring out the memories, and there is nothing in exchange this time.

Alec suspects Magnus is doing it both out of guilt and also to allow Alec to spend time with his siblings. It’s a very Magnus thing to do, and only one more reason that adds to the fact that Alec is starting to fall for the other man.

Eve chatters excitedly with her foster father, telling him about the games she hope to play with her aunt Cat, and Magnus listens patiently while Izzy comes closer to Alec.

“You trust him?” She asks this despite knowing the answer, but she’s looking for something else. Something he might not be ready to tell her, or anyone else. Something he isn’t sure he is ready to tell himself.

“Yes,” Alec answers simply, voice firm with conviction. “With my life and more.”

Izzy nods and she doesn’t say anything, simply resting her head on his shoulder. The familiarity has his heart sing with happiness. He is glad to have his sister back, glad to have introduced her to Eve and Magnus, who are so important to him already. He knows Isabelle and Jace doubt Magnus still, knows that they are wary of warlocks, but he hopes that they can get over it, that they can see what he saw; a world worth protecting.

---

Simon’s head is spinning as he wakes up. Everything is too bright, too loud, too much. He feels as if he is burning and freezing at the same time, and yet he doesn’t sweat. Two bright points on his neck, Camille’s bite remains the only constant in this shifting world. The wound is healed, and there is no trace of it anymore, but Simon can still feel the woman’s fangs in his neck, drawing away his blood avidly. He hates that the memory fills him with trepidation.

He can hear his mother pacing in the hallway; it’s very likely that it’s what woke him up. He came home the previous morning and let her yell worriedly about his absence before hugging him. It was nice, having his mother in his arms again, when he had thought two nights prior that he would never see her again.

“Simon,” she knocks on the door as she speaks worriedly, “you’ve been in your room for over fifteen hours, I’m coming in.”

He doesn’t have time to answer before the door swings open and Elaine Lewis walks through the door, looking worriedly about the state of the room. She’s dismayed, and he understands her. He usually is quite tidy, not one to let his dirty clothes on the floor instead of the hamper. It’s a habit his sister Rebecca and him picked up when they were younger and their mother was struggling with her addiction; if the house and their rooms were clean, she could focus on her recovery more.

Nonetheless, she crosses the room until she reaches the bed where he is still lying down, pillow halfway pressed over his face.

“You’re so pale,” she says, “did you get sick while you were out?”

“Maybe,” he croaks out, voice still rough after his long sleep. “I have a headache, but it’s nothing too important.”

“Nothing important?” She refutes his argument with a dismissive wave of her hand, before she places her hand on his forehead.

Her hand feel like burning iron on his cold head, but he doesn’t say anything. Maybe she won’t notice anything and will leave him alone. That would be very lucky for him, but he has been somewhat short on luck ever since Clary’s birthday.

Proving him right, his mother pulls back her hand with a frown. “You’re really cold… Stay under the blankets, I’ll bring you something warm to drink.”

As she says that, she pushes him back into his pillows, tucking him as if he were a child again. Her hair moves slightly, exposing her neck, and a chill goes through Simon’s body. His whole being suddenly screams kill. Anticipation fills him as he imagines the taste of blood, the warmth of the liquid as it will go down his throat. There is an euphoria in just thinking about it.

“Bite her.”

Camille’s voice resonates in Simon’s ear and he startles. He can hear his mother asking if everything is alright, but he doesn’t give her any attention. He can only watch as Camille’s reflection appears in the mirror. The woman is beautiful, in the way a painting is beautiful. Marbled skin and bright red lips, eyes designed to enrapt you… She was born to be a vampire, long before she became one. She is smiling at him in the mirror.

“Why don’t you bite her? You know you want to. It would give you satisfaction. You would finally know.”

He would. If he just gave in and tried, he would know if what she did to him really turned him into a vampire. But no. This is his mother, the person who read stories after stories to him when he had nightmares, who held him close and whispered that she would love him until the world would end when he had come out, shaking and afraid. This is his mother. He can’t bite her.

“Simon?”

His mother’s voice breaks through the cold numbness of his mind, and Camille disappears in the mirror, waving. It makes him feel nauseous. She’ll be back, sooner or later, and he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to resist her again. He wants to listen to her, to obey her and follow her orders. He refuses to be a mindless goon that attacks everyone. Plus, he doesn’t even know if he really is a vampire. There is sunlight in his bedroom, and even if the light hurts his eyes, it doesn’t burn him. So maybe he isn’t one yet.

“Simon,” his mother repeats, “Are you listening to me?”

“Sorry mom,” he says a bit plaintively. “I feel better though. I think I’m going to head out for a bit, okay? I’ve got… a band thing, with Maureen!”

He’s already standing up as she protests. He has to get out of here. He can’t risk hurting his family.

---

Magnus is a bit dumbfounded to see Clary clinging to Dot’s neck, sobbing. Dot is hugging her back tightly, tears shining in her own eyes. When he had asked Dot to watch over the Frays, he hadn’t expected this outcome. He hadn’t expected Jocelyn to have lied, to attack Dot and nearly kill her, yes, but he certainly hadn’t expected this attachment to develop between his friend and the daughter of Valentine Morgenstern. It’s definitely strange, but doesn’t think it’s quite so bad a thing when he sees how tightly they are hugging each other.

“I thought you were dead,” Clary is saying, “I couldn’t find you after I left and I thought you were dead and then this demon thing attacked me in the street and Izzy brought me to the Institute and no one could tell me anything and—“

“Shh,” Dot interrupts, caressing her cheek maternally and wiping her tears. “I’m here, I’m fine, we are both fine…”

The three Lightwoods, well two and one Wayland, are looking as shocked as Magnus feels. Catarina, next to her fiancée, has a soft smile and a hand wrapped around Eve’s shoulders, who is peering at Clary and Dot with confusion.

“What’s going on?” Alexander asks in a low voice.

Magnus is about to answer when Cat interrupts their poorly concealed conversation. “Dot and Clary both thought the other was dead for the last three days, they consider each other family, and now I believe they are crying again.”

She speaks with a tender smile illuminating her face. Her glamour is up again in the presence of the shadow hunters, but she doesn’t hide the love she has for her companion; Cat was never one to hide. It’s a thing Magnus has always admired in her, how strong she is. They have seen each other at their ugliest and darkest moments, and Catarina’s unwavering faith that she would carve her way out of this, whatever the consequences may be, has always left a strong impression on him.

He smiles lightly at her explanation, and her rightful observation. He wonders if they ever will be able to summon Valak if this goes on. After all, he doesn’t have all day for this. Cat accepted to take Eve partly because of the demon, partly because she had assessed he needed one day to himself. Magnus knew Alexander would probably rather go with his siblings than stay with him, which is why he had accounted on taking the day to himself. The thought didn’t exactly bother him, but he had grown used to the other man’s presence. He had become more and more relaxed in the latest days, before the Circle’s attack at least. His presence around the apartment brings a sort of domesticity that Magnus had always yearned for.

Even so. Alexander, despite his sweetness and kindness, is a former shadow hunter, a Nephilim who still has ties to people working within the Clave. It was a dangerous association. Magnus should try to limit his involvement with the man. And yet… he doesn’t want to. He likes Alexander. The man is serious and a bit rigid, with a tendency towards anger that apparently runs in his family, but he has been kind towards Eve, and eager to learn and detach himself from his past mistakes. There had been a reasonably difficult evening in the second week he had been there, where Alec had sat down with Magnus in the living room, and their discussion had turned to the Clave.

“They are bigoted and rather idiots,” Alec had said, “but they believe in protecting the world from demons. That’s a noble cause, at least.”

“Are you sure that’s what they believe in?” Magnus magicked himself a glass of vodka gin, too lazy to make it himself. “Because I remember quite clearly seeing shadow hunters ask warlock friends of mine to summon demons, just so that said shadow hunters could have some fun.”

The look of shock and disbelief on Alexander’s face hadn’t surprised Magnus; he doubted the Clave wanted this kind of knowledge spread around. It had disappointed him slightly though. He had, perhaps quite prematurely, hoped that the Nephilim would know what his ancestors did.

“And let’s not speak of the pre-Accords time. Or the time ever since the Accords. Shadow People have been hunted down by soldiers of the Clave, killed and parts of us exposed in houses of prominent families of your society. The Clave didn’t seem quite concerned about demons then.”

Alexander hadn’t said anything for some time, clearly thinking about what he knew, what he had been told, and what Magnus was telling him now.

“So what do you think the Clave represents?” He had asked finally, looking at Magnus firmly.

Magnus remembers having thought that the Clave had lost a perfect soldier in Alexander. The burning determination, the eagerness to do right and to follow a system of principle… Had Alec been born in a traditionally male body, how different would he have been? Would he and Magnus have met?

“A system through which Nephilim have found a way to establish themselves better than anyone else, and which helps them enforce it through violent ways.” Magnus had answered.

Their conversation had gone on longer, but the warlock is drawn back to the present to Eve tugging on his hand.

He clearly has missed something, because Clary and Dot have separated now, although they are still close, and Catarina is back to her fiancée’s side.

“Goodbye Magnus!” Eve says loudly, and he bends down to hug her gently at her request.

“Be nice with aunt Cat and aunt Dot,” he instructs as he replaces a misplaced strand of hair. “Listen to what they say, alright? I’ll see you tomorrow.”

The little girl smiles and nods, hugging him again before getting a hug from Alexander as well. It’s cute, how much both of the people he has taken in his home are attached to each other on a level he had never expected. They are also attached to him, and he to them, but he tries to not consider that too much. Alexander will soon leave, go back to his family in some way, and Eve… Magnus doesn’t know how long he’ll be allowed to keep her. Yes, he considers her his daughter after only three months spent with her, but he knows he isn’t the most suitable warlock for parenting.

He watches Dot and Catarina leave with Eve, and Clary dries her cheek on her sleeves, looking puffy eyed. Magnus feels a twinge of guilt and pain for the young woman. She is barely more than a child, and everything she knows has fallen off a cliff without anything to hold her back. He comes closer to her and smiles gently.

“Come on dear,” he says, and extends a box of multi colored cray to her. “I remember you were quite the artist when you were growing up. We have a rather complex drawing to make for this, do you want to try your hand at it?”

Clary takes the box and sighs, nodding. She doesn’t speak up, far from the fiery young woman she had been two days ago. He supposes the Institutes will do that to the youth; exhaust them and turn them away from who they are into mindless soldiers for the Clave. Gently, he leads her to an empty room and gives her a depiction of the summoning circle. She takes it and nods to herself this time, clearly readying herself for the task ahead. He leaves her quietly, knowing that it will be better for her to be alone for a bit.

Alexander and Jace are out on the balcony by the time he gets back to the living room, and Isabelle looks a bit uncomfortable. She is in much comfier clothes than the last time, but strangely she seems more rigid.

“Can I offer you something to drink,” he proposes, ever the graceful host. Let it not be said that Magnus Bane is an unremarkable host.

Isabelle shakes her head and hesitates a bit, her head jerking towards one of the couches. “May I?”

Magnus, a bit surprised by this, nods. He had assumed that the shadowhunter would want nothing to do with him, just like her blonde haired brother.

“I wanted to ask you something,” the young woman starts after sitting, her hands wringing together on her knee.

“What is it? I’ll try my best to answer.“

“What’s up with Alec? I’ve felt… Since our separation, there are things coming from his side of the bond. And I thought I imagined it, but I know it’s real. Sometimes I wake up at night because I can feel another heartbeat besides mine. When your daughter scared the hell out of us, I felt Alec’s worry stronger than my own fear. And then, there is… that… thing he was. The other day.” She is more hesitant on the last words, looking back towards her brothers on the balcony. “I could feel something running through my veins. I don’t know what, but it felt like…”

She struggles and he finishes for her. “Like pure power.”

“Exactly,” she agrees eagerly. “I just want to know, why? What’s happening to him? To me?”

He sighs deeply, summoning himself a glass of lemon water; this discussion allows for no alcohol. He wants to keep a clear mind for the ritual after, but he also wants to talk with the young woman about this honestly. He sees the worry on her young face, the fear that agitates her hand and bouncing knee. Without stretching the truth, he can say that he shares some of her anxiety.

“I can’t tell you what I don’t know myself,” he answers truthfully and observes as her shoulders slouch. “However, I have a few theories I can share if you would like.”

“Yes, anything. I just want to help my brother.” She runs a hand alongside her left ribcage, in a movement Magnus has seen more than once on Alexander when he had been distracted. She’s touching the former placement of their shared parabatai rune in a mechanical manner. He notices the calluses on her hands and the barely covered bruises, the broken skin and the purple shading of the knuckles. She hasn’t been taking very well care of herself.

“The books I have consulted are quite vague, and I need to contact someone who might know more than I do on that subject, but as far as I can see, there is nothing wrong with your parabatai bond. The fact that Alec was deruned didn’t exactly break the bond. It weakened it and changed its nature, but you can still feel each other. Especially if you’re near one another.”

“Changed its nature?” She questions, leaning forward on her knees.

“Rather than be a primarily physical bond that also linked your two souls, it has changed to a psychological bond. The physical pain one of you receives is less intense through the bond than the emotional pain. Alexander has shared with me that he feels your emotions as strongly as he feels yours. It has caused him immense distress when something agitated him a few weeks ago. I can’t say why, or how, it happened, but my theory is that something intervened to stop the breaking of the bond. Something wanted you two to keep being parabatais.”

“Are you… Are you talking about the angels?” Isabelle whispers this, sounding a bit frightened by her own voice.

“The angels, some god or the other… Who knows. It perhaps might even have been you and Alexander, simply. Too perfect of a bond, too stubborn to let go of the other… I’ll contact a friend of mine for that.”

“And…” her anxiety spikes with this following question, her hands almost tearing at the sleeves of her shirt. “And for the other thing?”

This time, Magnus takes a bit more of time before answering. He doesn’t have any well formed theory; Alexander has shown no interest in knowing what had happened to him or in even discussing it. Magnus has also been too busy with Eve and her current emotional state.

“For this, I am not sure at all. As I told you before, the energy I felt when we arrived was very similar to the runic energy. It was just stronger. Infinitely stronger than what I had ever felt coming from a Nephilim before.”

“But what does it mean? Alec doesn’t have runes anymore. He isn’t a shadowhunter anymore.”

“And yet, he can still wield a seraph blade. Your bond with him is still open. There are many things that are untold in this world, and Nephilim are not known to be sharer of their knowledge. But as I said, I know someone who might help us with this. I’ve been researching on my own, but for now I’ve come up with nothing solid.”

He dares not tell her about Eve’s prophetic dream. He remembers fairly well that it hadn’t been just Alexander, bathed in that unnatural glow. His siblings and Clarissa as well had been touched by the angelic light.

“Everything alright in here?” Alexander is just coming back with Jace, both of them looking strangely at Isabelle and the warlock.

“Just fine, Alexander,” Magnus answers with a smile. “Your sister was asking about…”

“The wards at the Institute! I wanted to know if they would allow you through and if you would still see the Institute rather than its glamour.”

“Exactly.” Magnus exchanges a glance with Isabelle, who smiles slightly. “And I was saying that, since you can still see past glamours right now, you should be able to do it as well at the Institute!”

Alec gives them both a questioning glance, but he shrugs. “Alright. I guess that’s good to know if I ever want to visit.”

“Right. Visit.” Jace mumbles. “Not live.”

“No,” his brother answers on a soft tone, almost apologetic. “Not live.”

Magnus observes this quietly. There is something that went on with the brothers, something that Jace hasn’t made his peace with yet. Like all things with family, the warlock knows it will take time for the blond man to heal properly, but he hopes, for Alexander’s sake at least, that they will find a common ground again, and they will be able to go back to their previous relationship. The deruned Nephilim had told Magnus and Eve many a story about his adolescence with Jace.

Things stay quiet for a few moments, and no one tries to fill the silence. Alexander has sat down next to Izzy, and his sister has her head against his arm; it’s clearly a cherished and well known gesture, judging by the soft smile that illuminate her parabatai’s face.

Clary pops her head through the doorframe a little while after that, clearly unbothered by the silence in the room. Her cheeks are red and her eyes a bit puffy, but Magnus has to admit she is still as pretty as ever. She has grown so much throughout the years he has seen her; he hates that she doesn’t remember him because of what Jocelyn made him do.

“I’m done,” she says in a somewhat flat voice, and she looks at him directly.

The fun can begin now.

---

Clary’s relief at seeing Dot again had faded through the process of drawing the strange pentagram. Dot is a warlock too. Dot knew about all this and didn’t tell her anything. The redhead doesn’t want to feel betrayed, but she does, and she hates herself for it. All the people she had loved and trusted have turned on her in the last few days, all except Simon. She doesn’t even know where Luke is, when she had tried to call him after waking up at the Institute the first time he hadn’t answered. He hasn’t ever since. It’s strange for Luke not to answer her; he had always been here for her when she was growing up.

She is brought back to the present when Magnus come to inspect what she drew, and she watches him a bit anxiously. Strangely, this feels as important as her different trials for the Academy of Art. Maybe even more so. This is even more personal. This is gaining back her memories, the sense of self she feels like she has lost over the last week. This pentagram holds the key to her mind.

“Perfect,” he declares. “Even better than Michelangelo.”

Something like mirth must strike him, because he follows up that statement with, “Who was excellent in bed, might I add.”

And Alec, scary powerful Alec who held up a blade to his brother’s throat, snorts. Now, she’s thoroughly confused.

“Can we start then?” She doesn’t have time for their games and flirting, she wants to know everything.

Izzy and Jace has told her all about Valentine Morgenstern, her father, and she had hated every second of it. She has trained at the Institute, under Izzy’s tutelage. The woman is a powerful warrior, and even with how distracted she had been, her blows had been precise and powerful. Clary doesn’t want to know what happens to enemies of her in battle. She likes Izzy well enough, she just has a healthy dose of fear.

Jace is... different. His anger is prominent, but rather than being distracted by it, he uses it as a tool. He has been kind to her, but there is something about him that has made her uneasy a few times. A sharpened edge, like he is a blade constantly under pressure. She wonders when he’ll break. If there is one thing she knows for sure, it’s that all the Shadowhunters are bound to break and explode at some point.

Magnus starts giving out instructions and they all move. Clary finds herself in between Jace and Isabelle, and she doesn’t miss the worried glance they exchange over her head. For her own part, she’s a bit excited to see what will happen. Magic is still strange to her, still a mystery, even if she has seen Magnus’ portals, and Alec’s… whatever it was. The runes on Jace and Isabelle, and all the other shadow hunters, also have magic, but it’s less… flashy. It feels more like a cheat code in a video game than the exciting thill of magic.

They link hands, and she doesn’t miss the charged look Alec and Magnus exchange when this happens. Clary doesn’t know or understand what’s going on with them, but when she had asked, Isabelle had insisted that the two were friends. She somehow doubts that it’s only this, but well. She doesn’t know either of them well enough to ask them directly.

“Now,” Magnus says when they have all linked hands, “I will ask that all of you keep your focus on the demon and the summoning. Valak will ask something of us, and we will have to give it to him if we want to obtain Clary’s memories.”

“What is he going to demand?” Jace asks, tensing a bit.

“We’ll see when we get there,” Magnus answers coolly. There is no love lost between the two of them.

Magnus starts chanting, and Clary feels the runes on her own body, the one Jace had placed on her arm the day before and the one on her neck, start to tingle. It’s not a burn, but it’s unpleasant and she looks forward to that feeling disappearing. Smoke rises from the ground, from within the pentagram she drew, and she is captivated.

It feels so strange, so surreal. She can’t believe this is happening. Two weeks ago, she was considering asking out a girl, now she is summoning a demon in the presence of a warlock and three Nephilim. It’s utterly wild, and she can’t believe how much she adores this. It thrills her. Her heart is racing in her chest, and her blood feels like it’s boiling with how exciting this is.

And yet… Some part of her wants her old life back. She wants to go back to being a simple girl hanging out with her best friends in Brooklyn, going to parties and flirting with girls. She wants to get her mom back, the one she thought she had, not the woman who married a genocidal maniac who is hellbent on killing everyone. She doesn’t know who she is anymore.

“Valak will take a memory of the one we love the most,” Magnus announces, breaking Clary’s bubble of thoughts. “Be ready to surrender a memory to him!”

Magnus goes first, and they all see a woman dancing and laughing. It’s Catarina, Clary realizes, with a man whose skin has a green color and who has horns peeking out of his grey hair. Another warlock then.

Alec’s memory shows Izzy training at a young age, not older than thirteen, and there is a fond look exchanged between the two siblings through the pentagram. Izzy parallels his memory by giving a memory of Alec, or at least Clary assumes it is. The figure is much more feminine than the Alec she has met, but they have the same hazel eyes and the same determination.

Jace’s memory shows a man she doesn’t recognize. It’s not a shadow hunter she has met at the Institute, but he has the characteristic runes on his neck and arms as he trains a smaller version of Jace, still as blond and full of energy.

When Valak turns to her, Clary is sure that a picture of her mother will show. After all, who else could it be?

Nothing happens for a few seconds. No images, no shining red hair with bright laughter, nothing. Just an endless scream, with a rage that pierces her heart. And then an explosion of color blinds her. All the people she loves, Simon, Luke, her mother, Maureen… Everyone appears and disappears within microseconds. There is nothing anymore after a few seconds, and Valak roars.

Clary panics. She steps back just as Magnus shouts “don’t break the bonds!” She lets go of Isabelle and Jace’s hands, trying to put as much distance between herself and the demon.

Hell breaks loose in the room, and there is a never ending shriek as Jace attempts to protect her. He draws out his seraph blade, but something happens, the demon must push him away without troubles, because the next thing Clary notices is his body hitting the wall next to her, falling limply.

She is so focused on the blond man that she doesn’t see what happens on the other side of the room. She only looks back when Izzy and Magnus both yell in unison.

Alec is floating mid-air, glowing a beautiful bright blue. One of his hands is outstretched and goes deep with Valak, piercing through the smoke easily, until nothing remains. The shout of the demon as it dissolves resonates through the room, a ringing sound that echoes in Clary’s mind long after. When that is done, Alec turns, and she can see him fully now. His eyes, that she had thought quite beautiful, are no longer hazel. They are black, and void of any humanity.

He looks terrifying, and Clary wonders what other horror awaits her as he slowly lowers himself to the ground.

Chapter Text

The Hotel DuMort is even more frightening by daylight than by nighttime. It may be due to the fact that Simon was mostly out of things during the whole time he was there previously. Or simply that he only remembers the inside of it, and maybe a bit of the rooftop, but he mostly remembers the thrill of Camille’s teeth sinking into his neck. She had chosen him after all.

“Yes I have,” the woman whispers in his ear, and he shivers at the phantom feeling.

He knows she isn’t physically there, has gotten used to her by now. It’s been three days since he was at the DuMort the first time, and he has been obsessed with going back ever since he left. He had tried to fight it at first, but it had been useless. He wanted this, didn’t he? He wanted to be back with the older woman, to let her feed on him and make her feel special.

Simon had wanted to talk about it with Clary, but his best friend had been busy with something or the other, and today she hadn’t answered at all. He knows she is busy with all her shadow hunting stuff and everything, but it still hurts. She has never ignored him or pushed him away like this before. He feels alone in the world. He doesn’t want to be without her. Clary and him, they are together till the end of times, best of best friends. That’s what they had sworn to each other when they were twelve, and since then they’ve held on to that.

“Don’t think about her,” Camille’s ghost breathes against the skin of his neck. “She doesn’t care about you. Only I care about you. I will help you, little one, make you great, and then no one will be able to stop you. You and I will be together, and I will make you worthy and great.”

There is nothing Simon wants more suddenly. He wants to be this great person she keeps repeating, over and over again, that she will make him. He must be pretty pathetic right now, for her to want to do this. Camille is so wonderful. Ever since she bit him, she has only wanted to help him. He just didn’t think well in the beginning.

Following the instructions of the woman whispering in his ear, Simon walks into the Hotel DuMort. He knows he will find his destiny there, will find the purpose he has felt he was lacking in the last few days. Only Camille can help him with that.

---

Alec feels so alive. Every inch of his body is reacting and tensing, and the light that pours out of him doesn’t blind him; rather, it feels like an extension of himself. He should be panicked about this, about what’s happening to him. He can’t bring himself to be. After all, this all feels so natural. Ever since he rescued Eve, he has felt this thing within himself growing, this little bit of freedom and liberty, this beautiful power that found his heart and nestled there. The little warlock was right; Alec /is/ magic. He just hadn’t noticed until now.

He slowly allows his floating body to fall back on the ground, and his back tenses a bit as he finds his footing again. How wonderfully bizarre it is suddenly to walk. A part of himself had forgotten what it was while he had been suspended in the airs.

“Alec!” Two voices cry out, and he sees Magnus and Izzy in front of him now.

It’s strange, Magnus never calls him Alec. It’s always Alexander. He likes that. It makes him feel special, makes their relationship feel different from any other Alec has with the people close to him. Alec can almost imagine it is whispered the way a lover would. But the fear in Magnus’ voice creates a very different tone from what the Nephilim wants to hear. And Izzy… His parabatai, his sister, the lost half of his soul, heart and body… He can feel her heartbeat in his chest, can feel her blood pumping in his own veins. And she can feel his as well. It scares her, he can tell.

So he extends a hand and touches her cheek gently. “Don’t be afraid, Isabelle,” he means to whisper, but his voice is clear and loud, and it resonates in the empty room. Valak really had filled it with his demonic energy. The residue of it makes Alec’s skin crawl and angers him slightly.

“Alec,” she says again, this time laced with desperation, “what’s happening to you?”

He smiles gently and kisses her forehead. “I am alive and free.”

The gesture strikes her and her knees buckle. He catches her before she falls completely. He doesn’t want her to hurt herself in her shock, especially since there are already tears burning in her eyes.

Alec turns to Magnus then, and he beams. The warlock is looking at him calmly, without any ounce of fear that Alec can detect. There is something Alec had never noticed about him, and it takes Alec a second to fully comprehend it. The warlock’s eyes are pure gold. They are beautiful, and Alec, in all his powerful and strong stance, feels something shift within himself.

Suddenly, the weight of Isabelle’s body holding onto his arms is much more real, and he notices Jace and Clary in a corner of the room, both staring at him with wide eyes.

“Your eyes,” the redheaded young woman says, a bit shakily, “they are back to normal.”

---

“I’m so glad to see you again,” Camille purrs in his ear.

She is so close, Simon almost can’t deal with it. This is what he wanted, this is what he has thought about, obsessed over, for the last three days. To be beside Camille, to walk next to her, it’s a bliss. He can’t wait until she drinks from him again. She wants to, he knows, because he had seen her fangs, slowly pointing out of her mouth when she walked closer to welcome him inside.

There isn’t anyone else at the DuMort, or at least not that Simon can see or hear. It’s eerie, but he is floating already. He follows the vampire woman through the hotel until they reach a room similar to the one they were in the last time. It’s not the same, the artifacts on the walls are different, but it has a very similar atmosphere, and that chills Simon slightly. He hadn’t liked it so much the last time. It had felt cold and distant.

“Don’t worry, my little caramel,” the woman says, and again her voice is honey coated, “We are safe here this time. We won’t be disturbed, and you won’t be able to leave in the morning again.”

“I don’t want to,” he says and looks at her, smiling a bit dumbly. He feels slow, like his brain is caught in some kind of molasses. “I want to stay with you, Camille. You said I could, isn’t it?”

“Of course you can,” she caresses his cheek, her nails dragging on his skin and sending a shiver down his spine. “I just need you to do a few things for me. But first, we’ll both have a snack.”

As she says this, she makes him sit on the couch and her fingers drag down to his neck, tapping lightly the place where she had bitten the last time. The marks are not there anymore, but it’s something she is clearly looking to fix. Simon will happily let her.

“Why don’t you have your snack first?” She offers and he nods eagerly.

Easily, she cuts open her own wrist so a little bit of blood trickles down, and he laps at it eagerly, sucking on the blood happily, It feels good to do so. He has been craving it for the last few days. He had missed the taste of her blood, the irony aftertaste and the way it clings to his whole palate. It’s so heavy, and yet so light to swallow. He really loves it.

Camille allows him a few minutes of lapping at her skin before she pushes him back and smirks. “Now, my darling, why don’t you tell me who helped you leave last time?”

Simon tells her all about the man on the rooftop, and Raphael helping him get there. He babbles on for a few minutes about how he had wanted to see her and stay with her, but how he was so tired and he couldn’t do anything else then follow Raphael’s orders. All throughout his tale, the careful marble of Camille’s mask slowly cracks and sparks of anger and fury shine through. It’s when he notices it that he stops.

“Thank you, my caramel,” she says as she takes hold of his jaw. Her fingers hurt. “You’ve been so helpful. But now, I’m thirsty and I think you’ll be a full meal rather than a snack.”

When she plunges her teeth in his neck, at first it feels relieving, but it quickly dissolves in unbelievable pain as she keeps drawing his blood, and Simon shouts. For the first time in days, he feels clear-headed. He is about to die, and no one will come to save him this time.

---

Izzy stares at her brother, at her parabatai and closest friend, and suddenly she knows. She opens up herself to him, and she can tell that this thing happening to him, it’s right. It feels natural. Their bond is strong again as she stares at him, takes in the way his eyes caress Magnus Bane, and she feels that unspoken feeling beating in her chest, a phantom beat of his. Alec loves Magnus, or is starting to, and she knows there is no way avoiding it.

“Alec,” she whispers softly, and she can tell he feels her better as well, because he blinks and beams.

She repeats his name, over and over, like a prayer, and she hugs him. She had thought nothing could surpass what she had felt the first time she had seen him again, but this is much better. This is what truly having him back means. He is there, present and perfect, just like she had wished so many times during the past month. Her anger doesn’t fully leave her, but the heaviness of it is lifted away and she feels like she is floating.

Her brother is an /angel/. Since Clary had spoken, the truth of it, the duality of Alec has become clearer. He becomes something else when he protects, and the shift back to the normal Alec she knows is startling. There is a comfort in it though; it’s easier for her to deal with this new reality when her brother looks like himself.

Alec has turned to Clary and, walking forward while keeping Izzy close to himself, almost carrying her, he looks at the redhead and frowns.

“Did you hurt yourself?”

Clary shakes her head, astonished. “I think Jace might have though, when Valak threw him against the wall…”

Alec nods and looks at the wound his brother has suffered before looking at Magnus. Izzy doesn’t miss the fond eyeroll as the High Warlock rolls up his sleeves and walks up closer.

“Take your sister and Clary to the kitchen while I take care of this, Alexander. I will send Jace your way as soon as he is back with us.”

“Call out if you need me,” Alec says with a smile. Izzy wants to puke a bit at the overwhelming tenderness of her brother. It’s interesting to see him like this, but she is still feeling a bit faint.

She detaches herself from him and helps Clary up, both young women holding onto each other as Alec shepherds them to the kitchen. They sit next to each other, and for the first time Izzy is glad to have the other woman with her. Before, she hadn’t really given her a chance. Even during the training, she had been unfair. From now on, Izzy vows to herself to do better.

Alec is a bit agitated as he makes them cups of coffee. His eyes are drawn to the doorway regularly, and Isabelle rolls her eyes.

“Magnus is fine,” she says. Clary is strangely silent, something unusual from the mouthy redheaded who always has an opinion.

“I know he is,” Alec answers. “I’m worried about Jace. That didn’t look so good, and I couldn’t intervene before.”

There is a few beats of silence that follow that statement, and then Clary looks up.

“So what are you really then?”

Alec blinks, surprised, and Izzy tenses a bit. “He’s a Shadowhunter, just like us,” she starts before Alec interrupts her.

“I don’t know why I change sometimes,” he says honestly as he grabs his own cup of coffee, and exhaustion makes his features sharper. “It just happens when the people I want to protect are in danger. It’s the first time I can really remember it, and it’s only the third time I know it happened.”

“When did it start?” Jace’s voice comes from the hallway, and Izzy smiles widely, relieved as she bounces up to him and embraces him, hugging him tightly. He returns her embrace, and when Alec comes for a hug, he allows it as well before sitting down. He doesn’t look fully well, but at least he is alive, and that’s all that matters to Izzy. She loves her brothers too much to lose any of them.

“The first time it happened was the day I was kicked out of the Institute.”

Alec proceeds to tell them about how he had saved the little Eve, and how that had led to him living here. Izzy had had some of those details previously when they had talked, but this paint a much fuller picture. At some point, Magnus wanders in, looking more tired than he had before, but he still sits by Alec without interrupting. Izzy doesn’t know if the warlock feels what Alec feels, but it’s clear to her that he is fond of her brother, and that they have a nice companionship.

She has never really been one for relationship, and she doesn’t really get romance well, but she can sense how happy her brother is. None of her own relationships have ever had that same romantic aspect she can feel building up between Magnus and Alec, even if there is nothing between them right now. Meliorn is a friend, and she likes him a lot, but she doesn’t feel any sort of romantic attraction for him. The sex is great, and he makes her laugh when they talk, makes her feel free and happy, but there is a clear understanding between them that there is no romance. She likes that.

“I don’t think I’m a shadowhunter anymore,” Alec says, breaking her out of her reflection and she feels a sharp pain in her heart at this. Are they on opposite sides now? “I thought it was the only thing I could be, the only good thing I could ever do, but it’s not. I’ll always be a nephilim, and I’ll always have angel blood in my veins, and nobody can take that away from me. But when the Clave deruned me for being myself, they took my future as a shadowhunter away from me. And I’ll never give them the satisfaction of doing their dirty work for them again.”

Magnus puts a hand on his shoulder and Izzy sighs a bit.

“So you aren’t coming back to us isn’t it?”

“Iz, I’ll always be your brother and your parabatai… But no, I’m not going back to the Clave. They really aren’t all that great.”

Jace frowns and crosses his arms from where he is sitting next to Clary. “You were always the first one to say that the law is hard—“

“But it is the law. Yes, I know.” Alec acknowledges that with a sigh and a nod to his brother. “The law is wrong though. I’ve been talking with Magnus a lot, and Catarina Loss as well, and they have… helped me realize how bad it is. And I don’t want to be a part of this anymore.”

“You don’t want to be a part of us anymore?” Jace exclaims, and Izzy can sense the agitation within him. She can’t say she blames him. She wants Alec back too.

“I just think that there is a different way of going at it,” Alec answers again, trying to calm his brother down.

Everyone is tense again. Isabelle wonders if that’s how it will be from now on. Constantly torn between her two worlds, shadow hunting and her brother. She doesn’t want that. She wants it back the way it was before, with Alec leading her and Jace through troubles that they had brought on. But on the other side… She likes the happier Alec she sees in front of her right now. She likes the way that, even with the difficult subject they are talking about, he seems relaxed somewhat, and he takes the time to check in with Magnus quickly in between two tirades. She doesn’t really understand it, the way he treats the warlock almost preciously, as if he is something holy, but she knows that she will try to. Losing Alec because she is too much like the Clave isn’t something she is willing to go through. It would feel too final that time, and she knows he wouldn’t forgive her so easily.

“Before you two continue,” Clary cuts in as Jace is gearing up to argue again, “Can I ask another question that has absolutely no relation to what you two were speaking of?”

Alec smiles a bit at that, and isn’t that a new sight. Izzy’s pretty surprised again when he agrees.

“Why didn’t Valak take a memory of someone I love? Why did he lose control when he got to me?”

“I believe I’m the one who can answers that,” Magnus says quietly.

All eyes turn to him, Clary the most attentive. She’s still shaken, and gently Isabelle squeezes her hand. She forgets easily that the young woman was a mundane not a week ago.

---

The failed retrieval of the memories has exhausted Magnus. He wants to get his daughter back and make sure that she is safe. He doesn’t want to deal with the shadow hunters anymore. He has stopped pretending to himself that Eve isn’t his daughter; he is raising her, teaching her how to control her powers and make sure she’ll know how to keep herself safe later on. He already feels paternal towards all the shadow people he has helped when they were learning to deal with their abilities, like Raphael, but Eve is different. She lives with him, loves him and he loves her right back. She is his daughter, and right now, he misses her intensely.

Still, right now Clary wants an explanation, and Magnus is the only one in the room who can help her. So he sighs, pours himself another cup of tea, and starts speaking.

“There is a division within you. Your sense of self is tilting, and your own psyche doesn’t know who it loves the most. When Valak wanted to take that memory of you, just like he took the memories from all of us, he felt this division. He must have believed he had been tricked, that you weren’t a real person, or that you were refusing to subject to the ritual, so he attacked you.”

There is a long silence now, and Clary retracts on herself. Magnus feels almost bad for the young shadow hunter, but he’ll admit that he is too exhausted to care much at the moment. He just want to go back to his life, away from the shadow hunters, with Eve and Alexander. It’s not realistic, but he can’t help but wish for it for an instant. If he ever finds Elliot, he’ll rip him apart for selling the warlocks out to the Circle, simply because Magnus had disagreed with him.

“What does it mean for me, then…?” Clary’s voice is so small it surprises him.

She had been such a strong girl before the summoning of Valak, full of spirit and uncontrollable anger that threatened to spill over. She’s been reduced to a shadow of herself, fearful and wondering what will happen to her. He doesn’t blame her. What has happened to her lately can’t have been too easy. That’s why he had been so against removing her memories… He should have stood his ground better in front of Jocelyn. Now, Clary will never regain her memories. She’ll never find in her memories the Cup, object that she is convinced can help her find her mother. She isn’t wrong, after all. If she finds the Mortal Cup, Valentine Morgenstern will not take too long to find her, and then the happy little family will be reunited. He doesn’t think that’s what she wants. He sighs again.

“I don’t know what it means, biscuit. You need to take some time to get over all of this, to accept that this, the Shadow World, exists and you are a part of it. Like Jace and Isabelle, you are a Nephilim, a descendant of the angel.”

“Like Alec?” She asks, looking at the man she mentioned curiously.

It is a good point. Magnus really should get Ragnor to come. The old bugger is sure to know one thing or two about what is happening with the young man.

“Like Alexander, yes, although it appears that he may be a bit of a special case, at the moment.”

Clary nods thoughtfully and looks around the table a bit hesitantly. “Could I… Could I stay here? I know we don’t know each other well, but I’ve… The Institute is cold. And strange. And Maryse Lightwood doesn’t like me very much…”

“She doesn’t like many people,” Alexander says at the same time as his sister, and Magnus smiles at that.

He thinks about what Clary asked. It would mean having another Nephilim in his home, around Eve…. But Clary hasn’t been raised by shadow hunters. Well, she has been raised by Jocelyn Morgenstern, but he knows that Luke has also kept an eye on her and taken her under his wing. So he’s fairly certain she isn’t as prejudiced as her people are. It could benefit both him and her, to allow her to stay here. Plus, at this point, he might as well run a shelter for outlawed shadow hunters.

“There are a few rules you’ll have to abide by, but yes. If that’s alright with Eve, we’ll find you a room.”

As he says this, he is already working his magic, creating a bedroom for her with material for drawings and painting. He has, after all, listened to Luke talking about her more than once.

“Thank you,” she brightens a little at that. “I promise I won’t be a nuisance.”

“I’m sure you won’t be.”

Magnus stands up, putting a hand on Alexander’s shoulder. He is going to call Dot and Catarina to check up on Eve and tells them about the news. The other man’s hand covers his own, and Magnus smiles softly. He had forgotten how comforting it is to have a companion by your side, someone you appreciate and can relax with, who has their own life but will always makes space in it for you. He is glad he has found it again in Alexander.

---

Night has fallen and Clary has just discovered her bedroom when there is a knock on the door. Next to her, Magnus frowns. Eve is on her way back with Cat and Dot, but the two warlocks were going to portal in directly. And Clary knows that anyone who can knock means that it is someone who can get through the wards; a friend of Magnus then. She had been explained all of this a few minutes ago, while Alec and his siblings had been talking on the balcony.

“I’ll go see who it is,” Magnus says.

She knows he would rather she doesn’t, but she is curious, so she follows him. He opens the door to a young man, maybe a couple of years older than her, with a light brown skin tone. He is holding something that looks heavy, but that he holds easily. It’s quite large and long.

“Raphael,” Magnus questions with a frown as he opens the door. “What brings you here?”

“I couldn’t stop her, Magnus.” The voice of the man is remorseful, but he still stands proud. “I tried to tell the mundane to stay away, but she must have given him some blood…”

The mundane…? Clary looks closer at the thing wrapped in white, and she realizes with a horrified gasp that it’s a body.

Magnus lets Raphael in hastily and Clary follows the two men. Attracted by the agitation, the Lightwood siblings come back inside as the newcomer puts the body on the couch.

The white sheet falls off the face, and Clary’s world shatters. Paler than he has ever been, her best friend is lying dead on Magnus’ sofa. She screams.

Chapter Text

“How could you,” Clary is screaming, Izzy restraining her as she tries to get to Raphael.

Izzy doesn’t know what the other woman is intending to do if she gets a hand on the vampire, but whatever it is it can’t be good. Clary is, after all, despite the newness of it all, of Nephilim blood. Izzy is slowly understanding that it doesn’t mean they are better than the downworlders — Shadow People? She isn’t sure anymore — but it also means that she is stronger than the average mundane, and that, had she a stele, she could hurt people. Good thing they haven’t allowed her to get her mother’s stele back yet.

“You let him die! You killed him!”

“For the love of God, stop shouting,” Raphael rolls his eyes. “I didn’t kill him. Camille did. And I didn’t bring him back here so he would be left for dead.”

“Then why?” Clary has tears rolling down her cheeks as she stops struggling against Izzy, and Izzy sighs of relief.

“You have a choice to make, Clary Fray,” the vampire says, clearly unfazed by the audience he has. “Your friend still has Camille’s blood in him. You can revive him, if you don’t want to lose him.”

This time, it’s Isabelle who looks at Raphael. She vaguely knows of him, he’s the right hand of Camille Belcourt, the leader of the New York Clan. She didn’t know he knew Magnus though. It’s a bit strange to think about, how all the downworld knows each other and works together, and yet the shadow hunters believe they are the one thing that keeps them from tearing each other to pieces.

“You aren’t serious,” Jace says behind the two women.

“It’s the only way for the mundane to keep living.”

“He would be dead,” Jace insists. “A vampire, drinking blood and only able to go out at night. That’s not a life.”

“Maybe not to you, shadowhunter.” Raphael says the last word like a curse, and Izzy hears the anger underneath. This is a man who has dealt with their kind before, and who did not enjoy it. “It’s not your choice to make.”

All eyes in the room turn back to Clary, who is now shaking. Izzy puts a comforting arm around her and leads her to the sofa, making her sit down away from Simon’s body. The redhead is confused, clearly, and she doesn’t look like she can speak.

“How long can we take until we decide,” Izzy asks, looking up at Raphael.

“Until the next sunset. After that, it will be too late.”

Checking her phone, Izzy sees that it gives them less than twenty four hours. This is a pretty tight schedule. Izzy wonders what Clary is feeling like. From what she knows, Simon has been Clary’s best friend ever since they met, and the two have always considered each other like siblings. She thinks of Alec, thinks back to when he had been deruned and driven out of the Institute, and she knows what Clary is feeling. She knows that, despite the desperation and confusion she is feeling right now, Clary will fight to keep her friend. She has a feeling that this won’t be the last time they deal with vampires.

---

Clary doesn’t sleep that night. She sits on the balcony, wrapped in a blanket despite the warm air of the August night. Everyone is back inside, Catarina and Dot have brought back Magnus’ daughter, and the Lightwoods are talking together. Magnus put Simon in another room and did some magic to preserve him, but she wasn’t listening. Simon is dead. He’s gone. She knows she could bring him back but… Does she really have that choice?

“Hey Clary.” She turns to see Dot leaning against the wall.

She can still see the woman with the hole in her body, the blood all around her. She hates that image. Everyone around her is nearly dying, or dead, or lost and apparently married to some genocidal maniac. She hates this. She wants to go back to her normal world, where everything was simple and she was considering asking out a girl.

“Life hasn’t been very good with you lately uh,” Dot says gently as she comes to sit next to her. She draws Clary in and the younger woman doesn’t resist. She puts her head on Dot’s shoulder and allows herself to be comforted by her friend.

“I think I should be the one saying this to you.” She looks up slightly and there is a tired smile on Dot’s face.

“Yeah. I guess we both had a rough time lately. But you’re the one who just got thrown into this world, who lost your mom and your best friend in the span of a few days, and who now has a choice to make about whether you want to bring back Simon to life as a vampire.”

“Magnus caught you up?” She huffs a bit at the older woman’s nod. “Guessed so. I don’t know what to do Dot. I don’t think I can do this without Simon, but I don’t think he would want this…”

“Probably not. Though, if I know one thing about him, it’s that he loves you. You two aren’t just best friends. If he was still alive, he would hate for you to be left alone. I remember you two always talking about going off together before college. There was never a world I could see for you without him, or him without you.”

“You think I should bring him back?”

“I can’t make that choice for you Clary. You know him better than I do. It’s not a curse, to be part of the Shadow World though, I can tell you this. But you should ask Luke for more information about this. I was born part of this world, but he lived through the transition. Maybe talking to him will clear your mind and help you decide.”

Luke… She hasn’t spoken to him in days. She hope he is okay. Jace had said something about him and the New York Pack, but the subject hasn’t come up since, and she kind of forgot about. She’s curious though. Considering everything, he probably knew about all of this. So why didn’t he tell her? And why didn’t Dot? Why didn’t anyone tell her anything?

Dot stands up and her hand tangles in Clary’s hair gently, pushing it back in a familiar gesture.

“Don’t overworry yourself, Clary. You’ll need some rest before you make the decision, and you’ll need to think carefully.”

Dot leaves after this, going back inside. Clary sees her exchange a brief kiss with the other warlock, Catarina, and she wonders how much the people she loves have been hiding from her. She never knew Dot was attracted to women, and much less that she had a fiancée. She wishes she had known, especially when her mother almost rejected her. She guesses that’s why Dot didn’t bring it up, she didn’t want to get in troubles with Jocelyn. Considering Clary’s mother stabbed her a few nights ago, Clary doesn’t blame Dot. She still wishes she had known.

She takes out her phone and scrolls through her contacts until she finds Luke’s name. Her thumb hovers it for a little while, but she finally clicks on it. Unlike the days before, he picks up.

“Clary? Where are you, I’ve been looking—“

“Luke, I know.” She cuts in a bit harshly. “I know about the Shadow World, about everything, about Mom and my father, and I know you are a part of it. And I think we need to have a talk.”

---

Alec has just finished putting Eve to bed and is walking back to the living room when he sees Clary walking to the main door. He can hear the low chatter of Catarina and Magnus, Dot’s voice coming up every once in a while. The redhead is slowly opening the main door, clearly trying to be as silent as possible.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

Alec’s siblings have left an hour or so ago, back to the Institute after another discussion. Alec is tired, and he wants nothing more than to sleep, but now that Clary lives here, she’s under his responsibility. He’ll take care of her the same way he would anyone Magnus offers protection to. It’s the least he can do.

Clary startles when he speaks and she turns to him, alarmed. “I’m just… getting some fresh air.”

“There is a balcony.”

“Yeah, it’s not exactly the same.”

Alec doesn’t know her well, but he knows this no-bullshit attitude well. She’s hiding something.

“I’ll go with you.”

“I don’t need you to.” She crosses her arms and he rolls his eyes, grabbing his jacket from where it’s hanging next to the door.

“Yeah, we saw what happened the last time you went out alone.”

She looks angry for a second before her anger falls. He feels a bit guilty for this. He knows she has a hard time already dealing with her friend’s death, and he just made her feel worse.

“Listen, I’m not going to stop you from going anywhere okay? I just want to make sure you stay safe. The vampires might still attack you, and there are demons in the streets.”

He doesn’t say anything as she thinks. Rather, he checks his pockets, make sure that the seraph blade he keeps there is still in place.

“Alright,” Clary finally agrees.

“We should tell Magnus.” He ignores her groan. “If you really want to live here, you’ll have to agree to the few rules Magnus has. He’ll know that we left anyway.”

“Fine,” she agrees with a sigh and walks back to the living room, knocking on the door. “Magnus?”

The warlock looks towards them with a surprised look. Alec guesses he wasn’t expecting them to be together at the moment.

“Anything I can do for you, biscuit?”

Clary shakes her head. “I’m going out and Alec is coming with me.”

Alec shrugs when Magnus gives him a questioning glance. They’ll talk later, hopefully after Alec gets some rest.

“Try to be back before sunrise,” Magnus says, not dismissively but it still feels like an end of discussion.

“We will,” Alec answers and pushes Clary gently back towards the door.

The redhead doesn’t need much encouragement. As soon as they are out of the door, she starts walking quickly. Alec doesn’t have much knowledge of the mundane world, but he is pretty sure she is faster than she should be, especially after the day she had.

“So, where are we going?”

“To some place called the “Jade Wolf”? Luke is there.”

Alec startles a bit at this. They are going to the home base of the New York Pack, and he isn’t exactly sure how well he’ll be received. He’s had a few runs-in with them, when he was still a shadowhunter, and he can’t say he was very fair to them back then.

They don’t talk much on the way there. Alec hesitates a bit to ask her about whether she knows where they are going and who they are going to meet. He really hopes she does; she’ll have a nasty surprise otherwise when she gets there and finds herself face to face with werewolves. He doesn’t ask her. The younger woman already doesn’t look too pleased by his company, and he would also rather be in bed than walking the streets of New York City with her. Still, someone has to make sure she’ll be safe.

When they arrive at the Jade Wolf, she looks a bit dubious about the environment she finds herself in.

“Not what you expected?” Alec questions calmly, his eyes darting around to see if there are any potential threats he can detect already. He wishes he had his bow more than anything else. He can’t shoot people down with just a seraph blade, and his powers, or whatever they are, are too unstable. He doesn’t know how to control them just yet.

“I don’t know what I expected,” Clary answers, voice subdued from the fierce anger he had seen earlier. “Let’s go in. Luke said he would be waiting for me there.”

Alec nods and he follows her inside. She’s small but she’s strong, and he doesn’t doubt that she could put up a fair fight if they were to be attacked. They are both on their guards as they walk into the seemingly run down Chinese restaurant. Clary lights up when she sees a black man seated in one of the middle booth, and she runs to him quickly, Alec following at a slower pace.

The man — Luke ? — is handsome and well built, and he catches the redhead in his arms with a relieved smile. Alec has never dealt with the leaders of the Pack, it was always his mother, but never him. It hadn’t bothered him at the time, and even now he isn’t overly annoyed by it, but he still wishes he had any previous experience working with the werewolves leaders. It would make all of this easier for him.

“Who is that, Clary?”

They are looking at Alec now, and he can tell all the people in the room have their eyes on him. He must smell like a Nephilim.

“That’s Alec Lightwood, he’s a friend... sorta?”

There is a growl coming from the mouth of one of the men on Alec’s right, and he tightens his hold on the seraph blade.

“I didn’t know Maryse and Robert had a son this old.” Luke says as he extends a hand to Alec.

The man holds out a hand and Alec shakes it, sitting next to Clary across from him. He didn’t know the werewolves knew his family so well. He doesn’t hate that Clary named him by his parents’ last name, rather than his mother’s. He still hesitates to call himself anything, whether Lightwood or Trueblood. He prefers Alec, simply.

“They don’t exactly talk about me often.”

Luke eyes him, and his eyes light up with some sort of understanding. Alec really, really hopes it’s about his lack of runes and not anything else. He doesn’t feel up to defending his identity; he hasn’t needed to in the last month, and he can’t say he misses it. He enjoys the bubble of simplicity and happiness he has with Magnus. He doesn’t think it’ll stay this way now that Clary has been thrown into the mix, but a man can hope.

“I see. I’m Luke Garroway. I’m… well, I thought I was a friend of Clary’s mother, but seeing what Clary told me, I’m not sure anymore.”

“Listen, Luke,” Clary starts, reaching for the man’s hands. She looks so young then, and Alec feels a bit like he is intruding on a private moment. Perhaps he can wait outside. “I need your help for something.”

“Anything,” he answers seriously, squeezing the redhead’s hands back. “You might as well be my daughter, Clary. You know I love you like it, so I’ll help you as much as I can.”

Alec stands up discreetly now. He can’t be here, this is too private of a moment. “I’ll be waiting outside,” he tells Clary, and the girl nods with a thankful look in her eyes.

Quietly, he steps out.

---

“So, Alec and you?”

Magnus looks at Dot, who is leaning against her fiancée. She still looks tired from the wound she sustained a few days ago, but there is color back into her cheeks. There is also a very mischievous light in her eyes.

“What are you asking about, my dear?”

“I’m just wondering,” his friend continues, “what makes him so special. Cat explained some of it to me, but she didn’t say that you were so taken with him.”

Taken with him. Magnus bristles a bit. That’s ridiculous. Alexander is a friend. A wonderful, beautiful, charming friend. But only a friend. Yes of course, Magnus has noticed the beauty of the man who lives with him, has noticed the kindness and sweetness he keeps for Eve. But anyone would notice those. Everyone would feel their heart skip a beat when those hazel eyes settle on them with undeniable fondness and…

“You may have a point.” He says this calmly, but he can’t stop his heart from beating wildly. He’s exhausted and hungry, and he doesn’t know what to do about this revelation, but Dorothea is right. “I may have… feelings beyond friendship for Alexander.”

Cat and Dot grins at each other, and he can tell they are about to keep going on and on about it, but he stops them with a hand raised.

“But it’s neither the right time to pursue such an interest, nor would it be beneficial in any way. He lives with me, and if we date and then break up, it would be too detrimental for Eve. She would be devastated.”

“You can’t know you’ll break up when you haven’t even attempted it,” Catarina says gently.

“No, but for now I would rather focus on something else. Like the fact that he apparently has powers.” That gets their attention again. “I was wondering if any of you two have any idea where the magic he uses could come from? I’m coming up empty-handed in my current research.”

“When I examined him, I didn’t feel any non-nephilim energy from him,” Cat says, frowning. “He didn’t seem in any way particular. He had a lot of energy, which I did find a bit uncommon, but it wasn’t uncommon enough that I thought it worth looking into.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I remember that despite his weakened state, he was… practically pulsing with energy. Not magical energy or anything like that, but just… pure energy. Like it could be morphed into anything, be it magic, sports, keeping his body up and moving… I discarded it because I thought it was just residue of his runes, but if you say he can use magic…”

“I’ve seen him do it twice. He doesn’t ever seem to be fully conscious that he is using magic though, it doesn’t feel like a spell or enchantment… It acts through him, by his will, yes, but it’s different from my magic. Or yours.”

“Have you considered calling Ragnor?” Dot suggests, hiding a yawn behind a hand. “He is pretty good at obscure factoids, and it sounds exactly like what you are looking for.”

Magnus groans loudly, almost petulantly. Ragnor Fell, while being one of his very best friends with Cat and Dot, is also a grumpy old man who retired to the English countryside a few years back and decided on a retreat from society for a couple of decades. He only replies every so often to fire message. He also happens to be one of the oldest warlocks Magnus know, and he really shouldn’t pass that opportunity.

“I was… thinking about it,” he acknowledges.

“Thinking about it,” Cat parrots with an eye roll. “Stop thinking and just go see him. I’m sure he misses you. And I know you miss him.”

“I do not,” he protests but is interrupted by Dot.

“Whatever is the matter, you should really talk to him. Even if it’s just about Alec.”

Magnus knows his friends are right. He has truly been intending to give a call to Ragnor. After all, he might be the only one who has any idea of what’s going on with Alexander. The old fool is probably tremendously bored in his cottage as well. Who ever thought of retreats like that, when one is warlock as powerful as he is?

“Stop rolling your eyes,” Cat pokes him in the ribs and he startles a bit as his friends giggle lightly.

“Fine,” he agrees. “I’ll pay the old man a visit.”

---

She doesn’t know how to start explaining herself, how to start asking Luke all the questions that are drowning her mind. She doesn’t even know what exactly she wants to ask. There is so much Luke, and her mother, have hidden from her. She can’t believe it, how long they kept her in the dark. This sparks a ember of anger inside her, but she quells it quickly as she reminds herself why she’s here. She’s glad Alec went outside. She doesn’t think she could talk about Simon like this in front of him. She barely knows him, after all.

“It’s Simon,” she finally chokes out. “He’s dead.”

The word feels so heavy on her tongue, so difficult to say. She refuses to accept it, that her best friend, her brother, the boy who supported her through everything, is gone from this world. And at the same time… She doesn’t know if she wants to bring him back. It’s a difficult decision to make. Which is why she needs Luke.

“I’m so sorry kiddo,” Luke says and he tightens his hold on her hand. His hands are so warm, and hers are so cold. The night isn’t particularly hot, and she hasn’t had the time to warm up yet. “Do you want help telling Elaine—“

“I can bring him back,” she rushes the words out of her mouth as fast as she can. They scare her.

“Bring him back?”

“As a vampire. He died because of um,” she struggles for a few seconds to remember the name, “Camille Belcourt? She gave him some of her blood though, so he could be turned. I just… I don’t know what to do.”

She’s in tears again by the end of her speech, and Luke moves quickly to her side, hugging her gently. She feels like a child again, and she burrows in his warmth. She’s always wished for him to be her father, for him to adopt her officially. There is no one else she has ever considered like a father. Luke is simply the only one who knew how to soothe her, how to make her forget her worries and hurts. He was there for her after she came out, assuring her it was fine. He had even helped her after her first girlfriend had broken up with her. She and Simon had stayed at his apartment that night, playing video games and eating ice cream, and singing karaoke. It’s one of Clary’s favorite memories.

“Life as a vampire isn’t like life as a mundane, Clary,” Luke says in a gentle tone. “There isn’t any certainty that it will work, first of all, but if it does it won’t be nice in the beginning… Vampires feed on blood, Clary. You understand that? It means that Simon will be doomed to that life… Is that what you want for him? To always have to drink blood, to never be able to see the sunlight again, to stay forever young while everyone he knows and loves grows old and dies?”

“I just want him back,” she sobs, but he knows he is right. She doesn’t think this is what Simon would want. But Simon would also rather not be dead, she knows that. “Is it so terrible, to be a part of the Shadow World? Everything I’ve seen so far is fighting, and demons, and angry siblings… Simon is the only one who is still… He’s the only thing that makes sense in this crazy new world.”

Luke sighs deeply. “It’s not always that. It’s rarely that, except with the shadow hunters. Here, within the pack, we take care of one another, we protect each other. We make sure that everyone here leads a life they are happy with, and if they aren’t, we try to lead them on the right path. It’s not always easy, but it’s our life.”

“So why wouldn’t Simon be happy as a part of the Shadow World too? He would still be with me, be my brother… We would always be side by side!”

“Clary…” He sounds resigned now and caresses her cheek in a fatherly gesture. “That’s not the way it works in this world. Shadowhunters like you and vampires like Simon would be, they aren’t on the same side. It works differently here, despite how much we are trying to change it…”

“Well I’m not a shadow hunter! And I don’t want to be one. I just want to be with my family, and Simon is part of that.”

He sighs again, and she can tell that he won’t argue with her anymore. She isn’t sure she made up her mind, but she doesn’t think Luke can help her much more anyway. Except maybe…

“How did you become a werewolf?”

Discomfort overcomes his features and she feels slightly bad for doing it this bluntly. Maybe she should have thought a bit more before speaking.

“I was turned when I was a little over 25,” he answers quietly. “Someone I trusted set me up and I was trapped with werewolves in a room. They attacked me because they thought I was an enemy… I barely made it out alive, and then I turned a few days later.”

She can tell he isn’t telling her the whole truth. She doesn’t think he is lying, not entirely, but it’s a very hazy summary. She doesn’t push though.

“Do you regret it? Being a werewolf?”

He shakes his head. “I don’t. It made me a better person. I wish it hadn’t happened the way it has, yes, but I don’t regret that I am one now.”

/So why do you think Simon would hate being a vampire,/ she wants to ask, but doesn’t.

He is about to start speaking again when the door of the restaurant opens and Alec walks back inside, his back facing the inside, hands in the hair. In anyone, it would look like pure panic, but Alec radiates absolute calm.

A wolf, huge and imposing, growling loudly, follows Alec inside, its teeth bared.

“Maia, that’s enough,” Luke snaps, but the wolf doesn’t stop its growling. “Maia, he isn’t a shadowhunter. He is a guest.”

That stops the wolf, and Clary relaxes slightly. At the movement, the wolf’s head turns towards her, and the deep brown eyes that fixate on her are intelligent and ferocious. There is a beat of silence before the wolf — Maia? — retreats, snapping its jaws as it passes besides Alec to go in the back of the restaurant.

“You okay,” she asks Alec, who doesn’t look really perturbed, but it’s a reflex at this point.

He nods and looks back at her and Luke. “You want me to leave you two alone again?”

Luke shakes his head. “It would be better if you stayed inside, the wolves won’t trouble you again if you’re with me.”

“Alright.” Alec settles down next to Clary, towering next to her. She feels ridiculously small.

A woman walks out of the back of the restaurant a few minutes later. Looking at her, Clary feels her heart stopping lightly. The woman’s curly hair frames her brown face, moving lightly with each of her steps. She slams her hands on the table and stares at Luke.

“What do you mean, those are guests? They smell like Nephilim.” Her nose scrunches in disgust at that, and Clary gulps slightly. Is it so bad? “They shouldn’t be here.”

“Maia, calm down,” Luke answers, his deep voice still as smooth as ever, but there is an edge of command to it. “This is Clary, my daughter, and Alec, a friend of hers.”

“Nephilim friend.”

“Yes,” Luke sighs. “They both have angel blood. But they aren’t shadowhunters.”

“She has a rune.” Maia points out, and Clary’s hand instinctively flies to her neck, where she knows the iratze is.

“Listen, I didn’t even know I was a Nephilim until like, a week ago. I’m not here to cause trouble. I just came to see Luke, who never bothered to tell me about all of this until now.”

“What about the other one?” Maia asks, but she has relaxed a bit, rolling her shoulders back and sitting at the table, next to Luke. There is a grace in her movements, something wild and beautiful. Clary guesses it’s the werewolf part of her, but she isn’t sure. Maia is intriguing, and Clary didn’t fail to notice that she looked like the wolf on Eve’s drawing.

“I’m just here to make sure Clary stays safe.” Alec answers, his eyes not leaving Maia.

“What are you, her bodyguard?”

Alec almost smiles at that. “It wouldn’t be the first time I have to protect her.”

“I’m not this helpless,” Clary protests without any strength. Alec did save her at least twice.

“Right,” the man smiles this time before turning to Maia. “I’m Alec.”

Maia nods, her clever eyes never leaving Alec’s face. She still looks on her guard, Clary notes. She wonders when she started noticing this kind of detail. Before, she had rarely felt the need to analyze people’s body language, to search for a potential threat. Is that what it is, to be part of the Shadow World? Always be on your guard, expecting at any instant an enemy to attack you?

“So why are you here?”

“I’m just trying to find a way to help a friend,” Clary answers, trying not to get flustered at the intensity of the other woman’s gaze. She always had trouble holding her own when faced with this kind of beauty, the wounded one that makes you stare into your own soul.

“Why do you need the pack for that?”

“Maia, enough.” Luke sounds stern and his look silences the young woman’s reply. “Clary came to see me, not the pack.”

Maia rolls her eyes but accepts Luke’s words, standing back up. “Fine. But Nephilim shouldn’t come here. Theo won’t be happy when he learns about it.”

She leaves with an air of finality, and Clary doesn’t miss the flash of worry on her father’s face. Luke is tense, and she is tense again. Is this what living in the Shadow World will do to her?

Chapter Text

Everything is so dark. The world has inverted itself, where there should have been light to guide his path, Simon can only see darkness. His chest feels hollow, missing something as he claws out of the earth imprisoning him. He’s hungry too, ravenous and delirious with his need for something. Dirt falls in his mouth and he repeatedly spits it out, rejecting its taste as he continues his upward ascent. He will free himself, of that he is sure. He can feel the pull, the call for something better. Something tingles in his mouth, a phantom pain and memory of something that should not be.

His hands break through the surface of the earth, and the cool night air wraps around his fingers, but he doesn’t feel the cold it brings. He doesn’t feel much, in all honesty. The hunger that tears him apart dulls everything else. He clings to it as the rest of his body emerges from the dirt.

Looking around, he sees a flash of ginger hair, tombs, trees, everything that surrounds him assaults him in flashes. The world tilts as he stands up, and he immediately falls down on his knees again, trying to breathe deeply to calm himself. But the intake of breath doesn’t do anything. He feels idiotic as he focuses on his hands clutching the soft, slightly wet, dirt. It’s raining lightly, a soft pit pat that slowly pushes his light curls downwards.

“Simon?”

He knows this voice. It’s soft, lulling and gentle to his ears. He can hear the trembling of the throat that said it, the sniffles of the person, the way they are trying to hold back their tears. Clary’s voice. His almost sister’s voice, his best friend. He focuses on her, and suddenly a mouth watering scent fills him. Something in him begs for it, demands it, and when he looks up, three packs of something have fallen in front of him, one of them slightly opened. He can’t help himself; he takes the opened one and starts drinking. The liquid is ambrosia in his throat. After drinking two of the bags, he finally feels settled enough to see what it is. He doesn’t notice right away the red trail that he leaves on his arm as he wipes his mouth. Blood, the label of the packaging tells him, and he looks up in horror at his best friend.

Clary is standing under a large umbrella, a blond man — Jace, he remembers— by her side, and another man unmoving. He knows him too, Rafael.

“What did you do to me?” He asks, and his voice is wavering. “What did you do!”

He can’t shout; his voice is too hoarse, but the intensity is there. Rafael, or Camille, or whoever he doesn’t care, anyone, everyone — did this to him. They turned him into a bloodsucking vampire.

“Camille did this to you,” Rafael says calmly. “And your friend decided to bring you back.”

He gestures to Clary, and Simon looks at her. How could she? How could she betray him like this? Do this to him… He can’t stand the idea of what his life — no, his afterlife, will be.

“I couldn’t stand to be in this world without you,” Clary chokes out, looking like she wants to reach out, but Jace stops her.

“So you decided to make me a vampire?” Simon’s strength is coming back and he stands up slowly. He is exhausted still, but he feels his body vibrating with excitement. He doesn’t understand all this.

“I just, I couldn’t let you die, please Si!”

“I was already dead!” He shouts, and he can see the frightened startle she gave. They don’t know how to be angry at one another, but he is at the moment. So intensely, purely angry he almost can’t recognize himself.

“Now, now, my caramel,” Camille’s voice comes from behind himself, and he finds himself freezing. He doesn’t want to be in her presence even another second. “You can’t go and frighten the little shadow hunters like that.”

---

The rain is intensifying, but Clary doesn’t hear the heavier drops crashing on the umbrella above her. She’s concentrated on the woman who has appeared a few meters away. She’s beautiful, Clary will give her that. But there is nothing attractive about her. Clary hates her sight immediately, and it doesn’t take more than a second for her to know who it is. Camille Belcourt, the one responsible for Simon’s death. Every single fiber in Clary wants to kill her. She’s angry, so angry. She wants to protect Simon, but she also knows she failed before. She isn’t even a real shadow hunter. She’s just Clary.

“Get away from him,” she shouts anyway.

“You’ll talk when you’re allowed, little girl,” Camille replies coolly, but Rafael steps forward.

“What are you doing here Camille?” His voice is so flat it’s barely a question anymore.

“Why, I just wanted to see what my caramel was up to. After all, I know you and Magnus have been scheming to bring him back. But I’m his sire, isn’t it right that I come to see his rebirth?”

“You aren’t welcome here,” Rafael continues. “You turned the mundane and broke the accords.”

“What are you going to do, report me to the shadowhunters?” Camille sneers and walks closer.

Simon topples backward in his haste of avoiding her, and Clary catches him, dragging him closer to her, but he brushes her off. He’s still angry then. She doesn’t really blame him. Maybe she shouldn’t have done this to him. He should have had a choice. But he was dead, and she couldn’t deal with losing him.

“You betrayed me, Rafael,” the woman hisses, her fangs showing as she walks straight to Rafael.

“I protected the clan,” he replies calmly, and Clary admires his attitude.

She couldn’t be like that opposed to the other woman. She wishes suddenly that she were more like Alec or Magnus, or any of the others. They are all fearless, and she feels smaller than the smallest ant. She hates that too. It’s not her fault she knew nothing about this world up until a few days ago.

The two vampires are arguing and bickering, but Clary is lost in thoughts, lost inside herself. She wants to be bigger, she wants to show everyone who she really is. She’s Clary Fray, the artist, the girl who came out at 14 and has always been proud of it. Her mind replays the memory of Simon’s words whenever she is feeling down.

“Come on, stop that,” He would say, shaking her shoulders, “you’re Clary freaking Fray!”

He has always been her best friend, her favorite person in the whole wide world, for this very reason. Not once he let her wallow in self pity. They are forever together, forever linked in this new world too. She’s Clary Fray, and he is Simon Lewis, and whatever happens, Clary will protect that. They are in this together.

Something burns on her neck and she cries out in pain, clutching the spot where she knows the iratze is. It hurts, like hot iron piercing her skin and looking for the tender flesh underneath. Tears leak at the corner of her eyes as she feels Simon crouching next to her, his anger forgotten in his worry for her.

“Clary? Clary!”

Suddenly he isn’t there anymore and Clary, despite the pain, looks to find him again. He’s pinned against a tree by Camille, and he looks terrified. The pain fades slowly as she stands back up; she won’t let that woman hurt him anymore.

“Stop that!” Her shout is hoarse as her voice, still recovering from the intense pain, breaks.

Camille laughs, but Jace is already walking towards her, his seraph blade out already. Clary wishes Izzy had come, or better yet, Alec. He would have just used his powers, and Simon would have been free. Clary wants that, wants to be able to protect the ones she love. She can see clear as day Alec hovering midair, bathed in the cold blue that always surrounds him when he uses his powers. His hand had been outstretched, aiming at Valak the last time, and he had torn him apart. A bit hopelessly, she finds herself mimicking him as she keeps shouting at Camille to let go of Simon. She doesn’t have any hope, but she’ll fight anyway, as much as she can.

She is exhausted suddenly, the pain having taken the last of her energy, and she stops trying to shout; it’s of no use. Her hands drop to her sides, limp, and she oscillates. She doesn’t feel very conscious anymore, and she is falling down, readying herself for the impact of the damp earth.

It doesn’t come. Her body floats midair, and she opens her eyes slowly again. Everything is tinted golden around her, and she can feel the vibrations of the world, the way every breath she takes is released, the way Jace’s heart beats steadily. She can feel the warmth of the dirt that’s slowly leaving as the water infiltrates it. She feels so alive, infinitely so. She’s Clary Fray again, the fearless girl.

---

Simon stares at his best friend as she hovers mid air. He remembers her description of Alec a few days ago, and he suddenly understand much better what she was trying to explain.

“He was... I don’t know how to say this, but it was both terrifying and reassuring, you know? Like... he was clearly a fighter, and he could have torn us to shreds if he had wanted but... he chose to protect us?” Her voice had been tentative.

“He barely seemed conscious too. It was like... like he was Jean Grey, when she becomes the Dark Phoenix in the original movies?”

Her hazy reference makes much more sense now. She is glowing golden and he can see the air fizzling around her, like thousands of lightnings breaking apart the glum atmosphere. Her eyes are gold, pure and terrifying. Yet he knows her. He sees the Clary that he knows, the girl that he grew up with, went to his first dance with because they would rather be together than with anyone else. But there is so much more, and that frightens him. There is a gap between them, something so wide and new he can’t comprehend it fully. Still, within him, a resentment simmers. Clary created this gap between them.

Camille’s grip on his throat tightens as they all look at Clary, and he is brought back to the reality of the moment. Clary is hovering mid-air, Jace is staring at her with his strange glowing blade out, Rafael is slowly getting back up, half his cheeks torn by Camille’s nails, and he is being slowly strangled by Camille, who has stopped focusing on the floating young woman.

He tries to push back, but his limbs are uncoordinated. He moves too slow and too fast at the same time, out of sync with his own body. He struggles without any real chance of changing anything. He’s a minutes old vampire, an 18 year old Jewish boy who fell for her tricks twice before. She can play with him as much as she wants to; she is the predator, and he is the powerless prey she toys with before devouring it whole.

“Now, where were we, my little caramel?” She asks this, not expecting an answer, and she is leaning towards his neck to bite him again when a cord of golden light wraps around her neck.

She shrieks at this, her throat burning as she flings herself backwards to avoid the light. Simon doesn’t feel anything when the golden cord lightly touches his skin. Looking toward the source of it, he sees Clary, her palms open, with light escaping in small trails. One is caressing Rafael and slowly healing his wounds, and the vampire seems frozen in shock.

“I said, stop that.” Clary’s voice is clear and pure like crystal.

On the ground, Camille struggles and groans, gasping as she manages to get away from the golden light. Her throat is jarred and burnt where the light touched her, but it’s not deep, and she seems quite able to still protect herself. She runs and jump towards Clary, but the floating woman turns to her faster than the eye can follow. When Camille gets to her level, she catches her by the throat, and throws her back to the ground. There is not much force, but it’s enough that, when she falls on the ground, Camille doesn’t get back up immediately.

When she does however, she rushes away, using all her leftover energy to go back to where she came from. Simon pants heavily. He can’t believe this just happened. It’s all so much. He’s a vampire, has proven by the dried blood that sticks to his shirt and neck, Clary is hovering mid-air, and Camille just fled. It’s a lot to wrap his mind around.

“Clary!”

Jace’s voice startles Simon, and he looks back at Clary. The redheaded woman, with her golden aura slowly fading, has stopped floating, and she is falling. It’s not a rapid fall, but it is a startling one. Simon doesn’t think, he acts.

His feet hits the earth strangely. It’s so light. His movements are seamless and he doesn’t feel in any way winded when he jumps up slightly into the air. He catches his best friend against himself maybe a meter above the ground. She makes a quiet noise of protest when he does so, and he lands while holding her tightly. His knees buckle up under the impact and he tips forward, but Jace, who is inexplicably right next to him, holds him back.

Clary is so light in his arms. It’s disconcerting, and he sits her up gently against a tree. She looks so peaceful like this, so calm… Nothing like the fiery girl he knows.

“You’re coming back to the clan with me,” Rafael says dryly. It’s an order, not a question, and Simon doesn’t even attempt to protest. He has a feeling it would be useless anyway, and he would rather keep his energy for what’s about to come. Plus, it might do him some good to be away from all the shadowhunter craziness for a bit, even if it means dealing with vampire craziness. He needs to figure out what being a vampire means to him.

---

Vampire craziness isn’t too much, in the end. He is introduced to some members of the clan, and Rafael uses him as an excuse to seize control of the New York clan. No one seems very upset by that, from what he can tell. The few pieces of info Rafael gave him paint a rather interesting picture; Camille was liked well enough, but she was reckless and kept endangering them. It makes sense that they would rather have Rafael, who has tried to protect the Clan as much as he could, risking his own life for it.

Now, Simon is in a bedroom by himself, and he stares at a wall. At his request, Rafael found him a computer, and he has been doing research on vampirism, but also on what his community would say about his new state of being. It’s one of the most frightening aspect of this. Now that he is a vampire, what does it mean about his Jewish identity? Does he have to push it away, to deny who he is? He doesn’t know who to ask, so he turns to the internet.

As always, it’s very confusing. He is worried that, when he dies, if that happens now that he is apparently immortal, he’ll be stuck in Gehinnom rather than meeting with his family and friends in GanEden. Will he be like Ahitophel and Balaam, stuck in Gehinnom?

He’s never been the most religious person, but he has also always believed in the stories of his people. He has never doubted once in his life what his Bubbe Helen used to tell him. How the kings of old and the prophets would be rewarded, and those who did not sin and led a pious life, would get directly into GanEden. How, in the end, they would all be together again. Even his father would be there.

Being a vampire complicates so much more. He already knows he won’t ever be able to enjoy any of the Holy Days with his family again. He can’t be in the sun, and he can’t eat anything else other than blood. He’ll never taste his mother’s challah again, or enjoy the tremendous amount of fried food his extended family would put together when they spent Hanukkah together. He hasn’t even had the opportunity to notice the lack, but he already aches from it. This change, this vampirism, it cuts him away from his people, his culture, and he hates Camille for doing this to him.

He has stopped blaming Clary. He realized that he would have done the same if their situations had been reversed. He’s still angry, but not at her anymore. They are like brother and sister, after all. Anger and annoyance fades quickly between them.

He snaps the computer shut, frustrated. Everyone’s opinion is different, and he doesn’t know who would listen to his ramblings at this hour. He is tittering on the edge of insanity, torn in between those two sides that he can’t reconcile. He would ask Rafael, but the older vampire looks terribly annoyed by him, and Simon has noticed the way he talks, and the little medallion that hangs around his neck on a golden chain; Rafael is catholic, and it means that they are in two widely different worlds.

He can’t ask Clary either. One, because she’s probably sleeping at this hour, and two, because she wouldn’t know. She has always been very curious about Judaism, but she wouldn’t be able to know and tell him what he wants to hear. Bubbe Helen is also out of the equation; he can’t bring himself to call her in the morning to ask her this. It would worry her too much. The same goes for all the members of his family. He can’t even call Rebecca. The very idea of it seems rather frivolous. Usually, they don’t spend much time talking, a luxury of living in the same house. But at the moment, he desperately wants to call her and tell her everything. He has already called his mother to tell her he had gone on an impromptu eighteenth birthday trip with Clary. He doesn’t know what he’ll tell her later.

He doesn’t let himself dwell on this. For now, he needs to focus on himself.

One restless attempt at sleeping later, he thinks of a solution. It’s the early morning now, according to the clock hanging on the wall next to the door. He hates this room so much. Looking through his pockets, he realizes he doesn’t have his phone, and he groans loudly, letting his hand fall back against the pillow. Of course. He couldn’t have just sprang back alive with his phone in his pocket and a clear idea of how to manage his new life, that would have been too helpful.

He sets out through the Hotel DuMort, looking for Rafael, or anyone really. He just needs a phone, any phone. He needs to call his rabbi.

---

Magnus can hardly believe what Jace told them as he brought Clary back to the apartment. The young woman had been almost unconscious when they had reached Magnus’ loft, and she is now sleeping in her bedroom.

“You’re sure of what you saw,” he asks for what feels like the hundred of time to the blond shadowhunter, who groans.

“Yes,” Jace repeats, frustrated. He’s pacing and moving up and down the living room, restless. “She was hovering midair, shining bright gold, and her irate had disappeared! And when I tried to apply a stamina rune to make her be able to come back here, I couldn’t do it. It was like my stele was gliding on water. I tried on her neck, her arm, even her belly, but it wouldn’t work!”

Magnus looks at Alexander and Isabelle, who are sitting on armchairs, facing Jace as well. Alexander looks concerned, but there is something like relief shining through his eyes. Magnus can imagine what it is. Up until now, he was the only one who glowed and had powers when he wasn’t supposed to. Isabelle is a bit more tense, but she doesn’t look angry anymore. She had arrived shortly after her brother, Jace having informed her of what had happened.

Magnus doesn’t know what to do with all this anymore. He’s in over his head, and he can’t understand what’s happening. Eve is still sleeping in his bedroom, having had a late nightmare that had drawn her to his bedroom, seeking comfort. He loves her more than he thought he could love another being, and he is worried about her nightmares. He thinks half of those might be the same kind of dreams that had made her draw Alexander in those few first days.

Turning his thoughts back to Clary, he looks at Jace.

“Jace,” he calls out, and the man turns his head to him quickly. “Draw a rune on Alexander.”

It startles all the Nephilim. After all, Alexander was deruned not so long ago, and it’s taboo in their culture to rune again someone who has been banned from entering their halls. He rolls his eyes at all of them.

“Do it,” he insists. “Trust me.”

He adds this last part for Alexander’s sake, who nods and extends his arm to his brother. Jace takes out his stele hesitantly and looks back at Magnus, who nods decisively, before putting his stele to Alec’s skin. The tip of it glows, but there is no rune that appears on Alexander’s body. No matter how hard he tries, Jace can’t seem to make a rune appear on Alexander’s skin.

The man frowns again, and he applies a rune to his own body. His stele works there. He looks at Magnus, his siblings turning with him.

“What does this mean?” He asks, and there is a fear in his voice that Magnus has never heard in a shadowhunter. A fear that there is something wrong with Nephilim, that suddenly the Angels have turned their backs on them.

“It means I must go see an old friend in the morning,” Magnus sighs, but there is a bit of a relief in his voice. At least, if he gets Ragnor here, he won’t be the only warlock to deal with this madness anymore.

---

“Simon Lewis, is that you?” Rabbi Abromowitz’s voice comes slow through the phone, and Simon sighs of relief.

It feels so good to hear him. Simon hasn’t been to the synagogue in a little while, but he has always loved it there. He feels at peace when he enters his home synagogue; he feels part of a much bigger whole.

“Yes, I’m sorry to bother you so early but—“

“Nonsense,” the older man says, and Simon hears some rustling. “I know it must be urgent and troublesome if you call me at six in the morning on a Friday, Simon. Is it your mother or sister? Has something happened?”

“No, nothing of the sort! They are both doing good.”

“Are you in trouble then?”

Define troubles, Simon thinks a bit bitterly. He wasn’t thinking properly before calling. Perhaps he shouldn’t have. He can’t exactly say to his Rabbi that he is a bloodsucking vampire as of a day ago. It’s simply not possible. He wouldn’t be believed firstly, but there is also the possibility that the answer he is seeking would not help him feel better. He doesn’t want to be more alienated from his community than he already does.

“Forget it, I’m sorry to—“

“Don’t you dare hang up on me Simon.” The Rabbi’s voice is stern, but not unkind. “Tell me what bothers you. I won’t judge or repeat anything you tell me in confidence.”

“I just…” Simon hesitates still, bites his lips, paces in the small room. Finally, he sighs. “I have a theological question of some sort.”

“Then you have called the right number. Ask away.”

“If, hypothetically, someone had to eat or drink anything that can’t be kosher, like blood, to survive… Would they be condemned for it?”

There is silence on the other end of the line. Simon paces more. The walls around him are blurry as he waits for an answer, and he tries to calm his anxious mind.

“It’s quite an interesting question you have there Simon. I can tell you would rather not be too direct about it, but before answering, know that the synagogue will always have its doors open to you.”

“Right,” Simon breathes out. He hadn’t realized how much he had needed to hear that, even without his question being answered by Rabbi Abromowitz. He can still have a place within his community.

“Concerning your question, I would say… While the rules of kashrut should be respected, you know pikuach nefesh takes precedent over everything else. a growing child, a pregnant woman, a sick man, they do not fast on Yom Kippur, because it would cause them trouble in their health. Not even Shabbat is holy enough to put itself before a man’s health. If eating food with blood in it is a matter of survival, then I don’t believe there is anything you can be condemned for. However, one must not have it more than is needed to keep in health. It would enter the realm of non-survival based acts, and then it could be badly looked upon.”

Simon could cry of relief from this answer. Drinking blood is the only way he can survive from now on. But as long as he doesn’t abuse it, he can still hold onto his faith and his people. He doesn’t have to force himself away from this. He can be Simon Lewis, a Jewish vampire.

“Thank you,” he says, and doesn’t hide the pure relief from his voice. He exchanges a few more words with his Rabbi, making it clear that yes, he is fine, and yes, he will come to the synagogue as soon as possible, before he sits down on his bed after hanging up. Rafael’s phone is still in his hands, but Simon doesn’t care. He finally feels a bit settled. He won’t come close to accepting his vampire ness for a while, he knows this, but at least he doesn’t have to abandon who he is.

Now, he just has to figure out how to make who he is fit with his new status as a vampire, but he knows he at least has Clary to help him with that. They are together in their discovery of the Shadow World.

Chapter Text

The portal closes behind him, leaving him in the middle of a green field. Magnus groans at the light rain falling; he had liked the sunny autumn day of New York City much better. And yet... He is relieved, ever so slightly, to be here. Ragnor is near, or at least was until very recently. It’s a thing Magnus grew accustomed to in latest centuries; the residue of magical beings over their surroundings. He can tell Catarina’s, Dorothea’s and Ragnor’s apart much better than anyone else after so many years, but it’s not too hard to follow a track back to its original master, if one follows the track closely enough.

He’s glad to be here alone. Jace and Isabelle had tried to come with him, giving arguments about his safety and whatnots, but he had held strong. It’s better for him to be alone here. Ragnor wouldn’t like to be surrounded by shadowhunters suddenly, and he himself doesn’t want to see his old friend again while being surrounded by them.

He walks forward into the field, following Ragnor’s magical tracks, and he stops as a wall of green fire erupts suddenly in front of him, surrounding him fully.

“Damn you, Ragnor Fell,” he mutters. There is no need trying to use a portal. He won’t be able to use magic right now. He knows that quite simply; he had learnt that very same spell from the other warlock, who had created it to stop being bothered by young wizards who wanted to become his apprentice. Ragnor had never liked the company of people much.

He steps through the fire and finds himself suddenly tied up to a chair. Of course. Of course Ragnor would have modified the spell since then.

He is in a house now, green fire still licking at his feet. One word of Ragnor, and it’ll send him back outside to the empty fields of rural England. The house is warmed by a roaring fire on the opposite side of the room, and books are on heaps and piles everywhere, despite the bookshelves. Though, those are already full, so Magnus isn’t surprised. There has never been a bigger bookworm, although it might be more accurate to call him a book Dragon, than Ragnor Fell, former High Warlock of London.

Noise resonates in the hallways to the left and Magnus tries to tilt his head to look, but he is fully immobilized by the spell Ragnor has. It annoys him that he hadn’t expected it, that little trick. Has he truly forgotten his friend so much?

“Ah, Magnus, it’s only you,” Ragnor says as he comes into sight. He doesn’t, however, removes any of the bounds that stop Magnus from either moving or using his magic. There is a fair chance that he is enjoying this, the old fool. Magnus tries to speak but his mouth doesn’t move and no voice comes out of him.

“You should have warned me of your visit,” Ragnor says, picking up a few books from the floor. He is actually enjoying this, there is a small grin on his face. “I would have made some tea, got some biscuits out, maybe even cracked open a bottle of brandy, I know how much you love those…”

Magnus glares at his friend. Ragnor hasn’t changed one bit, from the tip of his small horns to the way his twitching lips betray his amusement. Even the spells are similar. Magnus glares some more.

“Oh very well,” Ragnor says with a sigh and an eye roll. “You always manage to cut all the fun out of my life.”

“I think that’s my line,” Magnus says a bit roughly as his voice comes back to him and the spell drops away.

“Oh well, for once I assumed you wouldn’t mind sharing the spotlight. What brings you here?”

“You didn’t receive my fire message?”

Ragnor shakes his head, snapping his fingers so a warm cup of tea appears for each of them as he sits with Magnus in a small seating area. Magnus would bet this house hasn’t been redesigned since the late nineteenth century. It’s almost criminal of Ragnor to have such outdated tastes; he is an immortal warlock, not a time locked creature.

“I need some help with two Nephilim,” this startles Ragnor sufficiently, but his eyes really widen at the next part of Magnus’ sentence, “that I took under my wing and who are living with me.”

“And the young Eve then?” He asks this nonchalantly, stirring sugar into his cup of tea.

“Catarina told you about Eve then?”

“You clearly weren’t going to tell me anything about you becoming a father.”

The older warlock gives a pointed look at Magnus, who can’t help but feel small and reprimanded for an instant. They’ve known each other for centuries, but when they are together like this, Magnus can’t help but feel that he is again the young inexperienced warlock that Ragnor helped get out of the toxic mindset Asmodeus had forced upon him.

“You wanted to live in seclusion, if I recall correctly.” Magnus petulantly defends himself. “But yes. The two Nephilim I mentioned live with me and Eve. One of them is actually… quite close to her. She has taken a strong liking to that young man.”

“Oh? Do tell me what those two Nephilim have that is so peculiar then.”

And so Magnus tells Ragnor the story of how he found Alexander. He tells him everything, and he can hear in his own voice the fondness he has whenever he mentions Alexander and his kindness. He talks about the magic he had felt pouring from Alexander, and the one Jace told him about when he had come back from reviving the young Simon. When he mentions Clary, her parentage and the burnt away rune that is no longer on her body and the way no runes take on either her or Alexander, Ragnor straightens.

“You know something,” Magnus interrupts his own narrative. “Tell me.”

“I can’t be sure until I’ve seen your Nephilim friends.” Ragnor stands up and turns his back to him as he starts looking through books, seemingly looking for a specific one. “But there is an old Nephilim legend, one that I know was burnt from the Clave’s library.”

“And?” Magnus prompts impatiently.

“Shadowhunters nowadays would just be a bastardized version of what they were originally meant to be by Raziel.”

“Stop being cryptic.”

“Don’t you understand?” Ragnor gives him an exasperated look. “Nephilim are the angelic equivalent of warlocks. They have the exact same powers as we do, but they get it from the angel blood that runs through their veins, rather than the demonic blood. Magic, according to that legend, is as essential to them as it is to us. But they bound their powers up.”

“The runes,” Magnus whispers as he understands, sitting back down.

“The runes.” Ragnor agrees with a nod, turning back to find his book.

What has he stumbled upon, Magnus wonders. How to tell this to the Nephilim who are waiting for him at home. Angelic warlocks…

---

Alec is pacing in the living room, Clary sitting on the couch, still looking exhausted. Next to her, Eve is sitting quietly, reading a book, not looking perturbed by the behavior of the two adults around her. Magnus had told her he would be back as soon as he could, and she hasn’t piped up much ever since. Alec doesn’t think she’s afraid, not exactly, but she isn’t fully comfortable either. He can tell because routinely her eyes flicker and he can see the galaxy underneath.

With a sigh, he takes on himself to calm down. Magnus is fine. He is a warlock, a very powerful one at that. Alec’s feelings for him aren’t going to change that at any moment, and furthermore he should really trust that the people he cares for can take care of themselves. He sits down next to Eve and smiles gently.

“So, what are you reading?"

She looks up at him, and he can see the moment she decides to give up on her glamour. Her eyes shine again, and the golden spots of her cheeks flush brightly again. She’s so precious to him.

“The Little Prince,” she answers as she gives him the book.

He takes the book as she slowly cuddles against him, allowing him to put his arm around her. She is still scared from the attack of a few days ago, and everything that has happened since then, he knows that. It makes sense she would read a story that he knows Magnus has read to her in the evening.

“Read it to me?” She looks up at him, her eyes looking almost pleading, and he can’t resist that. “From the beginning, please?”

So he does. He opens the book back to the first page and smiles as he starts reading the words. It is a sweet story and he can see why Magnus and her like it.

“I love this story.” Clary has inched closer to them, listening to his narration, and she smiles as well. “You read it well.”

He doesn’t want to, but he pities her a bit. It must be difficult for her, especially with how fast everything is going. It’s been a little under ten days and she had her mother attack her, her best friend die and become a vampire, and she learned that she was a Nephilim. And now, she has powers similars to his own, which was a shock on its own. He can see it though. There is something about her now, something a bit similar to Magnus and Eve, and all the other warlocks. Something that shines brighter. Does he have the same thing going on?

“Thanks,” he answers instead of losing himself further in his questioning. “You already knew it?”

The redhead nods, her hands curling up in her lap. “My dad, my real one, the one who raised me… He used to read it to me when I was little.”

Luke, she is referring to him then. He wonders how she didn’t know he is a werewolf; there is something about him that calls attention to the powerful wolf inside of him. Her /real dad/. He thinks of Robert and can’t imagine him ever reading to them. His mother had never either, they hadn’t been that type of parents, but there had been… tenderness, he wants to say, on Maryse’s part at least. A bit of pride and joy maybe, when they came home after training, with bruised knees and their hands rough after handling the wooden weapons. She had gotten so much better ever since Robert had left.

He misses her. The realization is sudden and startling, and he can’t help the way his fingers tremble over the book. He replays in his mind the last images he has of her, as she pleaded with the Clave envoy that had sentenced him to his banishment. She had been so strong, and yet he had seen her façade breaking.

“Alec…?” Clary’s voice is gentle; Eve has fallen asleep as she listened to him narrating the book. “Are you alright?”

“Yes,” he answers instinctively, but his rough, almost breaking, voice betrays him. “You just… Your dad, Luke, right? It must have been nice to grow up with him. He looked like a kind man.”

“He is,” Clary says back, looking into the empty living room. “He was always there for me. He and my mom were best friends, you know? Or at least I thought so… And when I came out to my mom, he was the one who calmed her down and who helped me the most, with Simon at least. I used to wish he could be my biological father.”

“Biological fathers really aren't all that great,” he says quietly, and she snorts.

“Yeah, I’ve heard what mine is like, and I'm really much better off with Luke. I don’t want to imagine what I would have grown up to be if Valentine had raised me.”

“You might still have been a pretty good person. I mean, my dad is a piece of sh-“ he cuts himself off as he sees Eve stirring, but starts again as the little girl only sighed and put his head on his chest. “A piece of work definitely, but I managed to do pretty well, and so did Izzy and Jace.”

“I’ve met your mother though, she seems alright. Maybe a bit strict, but she was kind enough to me.”

“She got better,” he says quietly, caressing the golden curls of the sleeping warlock. “After my father left, after I came out… She got better. Was she… How was she, when you saw her?”

She takes a few seconds to think before she answers. “She was sad, definitely. But… There was something else. She is definitely a fierce woman. I think that as long as she knows you’re alright, she’ll be alright, you know?”

He does. He knows his mother, he is like her in many ways. He supposes that’s why he hasn’t seen her since; she is content with the knowledge he is safe with Magnus. Does she think he doesn’t love her as much as he loves Izzy and Jace?

“Alec, the story, you have to read it!" Eve's voice is a bit whiny and she is pouting when he looks down.

He chuckles and kisses her forehead. "My apologies, little miss. I’ll start again right away.”

As he narrates again the misadventures of the little prince, he catches Clary’s eye and nods. She nods back, smiling. They have an understanding of each other, he realizes, and he is happy for that.

---

“You’ve got a visitor.”

Simon startles as Raphael appears in his doorway. It’s around midday, he would say, the day after his turning, and he is quite exhausted still. He has fed on the pockets of blood the older vampire gave him again early on, but hunger still tugs at his mind. He assumes it’s because he is newly-turned, but then he has regularly been told that frantic google searches aren’t much of an authority. He could ask Raphael, or any of the others, but he doesn’t know them well, and he doesn’t feel up to a crash course in vampire socialization just yet.

“Who is it?”

“A werewolf.” Raphael’s answer is court and he stays in the doorway, staring at him.

“Alright…?”

“Well, get a move on! He’s waiting for you in the visitor’s lounge.”

There is a visitor’s lounge? Simon doesn't ask the question, slightly afraid of Raphael’s wrath if he makes him wait even more. Rather, he stands up and follows him. Moving is strange; everything is so light and slow, and he wants to go so much faster. It feels like he has a completely new body, despite knowing that, except for the fangs that his tongue sometimes pass over, he is exactly similar to his pre-death life. He can smell everything in the rooms they walk past; the pungent perfume of the woman inside, the blood that’s trickling down from a vampire’s neck as their partner laps at it, he can even smell the dead rat stashed somewhere in the stairs they take. He doesn’t really understand this new reality, but he has to.

Luke is standing in the room downstairs when they arrive, and Simon sighs of relief loudly. He’s glad to see the older man, and he immediately rushes to hug him. Luke has, despite Simon’s father being present for most of his life, been a father figure to him as well as to Clary. He had hung out with him and Clary more than one evening when Jocelyn had been moody and refusing to talk to Clary, and to see him now here, part of this crazy world, is reassuring.

“Hey kiddo,” Luke chuckles slightly and ruffles his hair when Simon steps back.

“Hey Luke. So, you’re a werewolf?”

Simon hears Raphael retreating from the room, clearly not interested in their discussion. Luke sighs a bit and looks saddened but he nods as he sits down on one of the sofas present in the room.

“Yes. I couldn’t tell you before, I'm sorry about that. Clary has already been over to mention how mad she was at me, but I thought I should give you a visit. See how the vampires are treating you.”

Simon smiles and sits next to him. He had always felt too young before to talk properly with Luke but now… He isn’t any older, but he feels so different that it doesn’t bother him anymore. He feels on a somewhat equal footing with the older man.

“I’m doing well,” he says with a shrug. "Getting used to it.”

“No major freakout?” Luke smiles gently, clearly reminded of many times when Simon would work himself up into a frenzy when something changed.

“Nah, I’m good. Obviously, I already had my freakout,” he jokes and Luke laughs slightly.

“Alright, well you seem to be doing pretty good for now. You’ve talked with Clary since your… transformation?”

There is no judgement in his voice, but there is a slight apprehension, as if he is afraid of Simon’s reaction to his words.

“Not really? It was only last night, and we kind of… Argued, and then this crazy thing where she floated in the air was going on and—“

“She floated?” Luke frowns slightly, and Simon realizes he must not know yet.

No one has told him, despite Clary being basically his daughter. Simon isn’t that surprised; he doesn’t think the shadowhunters would have informed him, but it doesn’t change the shock of it. Luke has always been so intertwined in Clary’s and his’ life, always there for them, ready to protect them and make sure they are fine. That he doesn’t know about what happened to Clary… It makes the change even more stark.

So Simon tell him, recounts the events with Camille and Raphael. It’s somewhat cathartic, telling Luke all of this, and he allows himself to relax. He’s safe with Luke, safer than he has been since his transformation.

---

“Are you ever going to finish packing? You can portal here anytime you want, it’s not like I’m going to ban you from ever leaving.” Magnus says, rolling his eyes before adding under his breath. “It’s not like you would listen to me at any rate.”

He is exasperated now. Ragnor has been walking around his house for the last half-hour, gathering into a bag everything he judges essential. It’s ridiculous; he is a warlock, he can literally summon anything he wants from his place with a snap of his fingers. Why does he need to bring those two copies of this old warlock guidebook with him? One would definitely be enough.

“When did you become such a grump, Magnus? Was it becoming a father that changed you from irresponsible party boy to impatient, demanding man?” The sarcasm in the older warlock’s voice is clear, but he finishes packing faster anyway.

“Finally ready?”

“Oh don’t be such a busybody. Both your man and your daughter are perfectly safe I’m sure.”

Magnus glares slightly. It's annoying how well Ragnor knows him, even more so than Catarina and Dot. They might only have a hundred years or so of difference, but Ragnor had settled in life long before Magnus did. Most days, Magnus barely feels like he has settled, not ever since Camille completely ruined him. Though, caring for Eve, and then getting to know Alexander, has been helping him regain this sense of balance he had buried under drink after drink. He has always felt responsible for his people, for all the warlocks in the cities he has lived in, but making sure that he himself was doing alright? No. It was easier to think of himself the way others did: vain and partying, always a drink in hand, with nothing that mattered.

“Now, don’t get all lost in your head, dear boy.” Ragnor says more gently as he comes closer, his bag closed and an old-looking coat on his arm. “Weren’t you the one insisting that we get going only a few minutes ago?”

“You’re infuriating, I hope you know this." Magnus says this as he opens a portal, Ragnor having lifted the barrier for him earlier.

Ragnor only chuckles at this and grabs Magnus' arm before they both step through the portal. Magnus’ wards around his apartment only allow him to portal in, and he doesn’t want Ragnor to get sent somewhere else completely. It’s something quite common in the warlock community; Dot and Cat have wards that also only allow them to step through portals in it.

When they arrive in the living room, it’s to quite the unusual scene. On the sofa, with an arm holding Eve against his chest in a paternal gesture, Alec is asleep, his hand clutching a book loosely. They look so peaceful like this, so much like a family that, for an instant, Magnus yearns for it. He craves that family, that home he has denied himself so many times throughout the centuries. Perhaps he was just waiting for the right people to come along, he thinks as he looks upon Alexander’s relaxed sleeping face and Eve’s similarly relaxed one. They look like a family, and Magnus knows he belongs with them, even if he refuses to admit it to himself.

“Oh,” Clary’s voice comes from behind them, "you’re back! Eve and Alec fell asleep half an hour ago... I didn’t want to bother them, I know it’s my fault if all your lives have been disturbed so much lately.”

Magnus waves his hand, looking at the young woman in front of him. She’s tired, that much is obvious, but there is a restlessness in the way she holds herself, the up and down movements from her fingers on her arms.

“It’s alright biscuit,” Magnus smiles gently. "This is my friend Ragnor Fell, he decided to invite himself over so that we could be sure of what’s happening to you and Alexander.”

“Nice to meet you. I’m Clary.” the young woman smiles gently, heartfelt as she extends a hand to Ragnor. It’s amazing what growing up far away from the Shadow World has done to her. Curious though, that Jocelyn didn’t teach her more of her bigoted ways.

Ragnor shakes her hand and he nods approvingly, a small smile on his lips. “A pleasure as well. You look much like your mother at your age, although I’m glad to see you possess neither of your parents’ prejudices.”

Clary’s smile dims at the mention of her parents but she keeps a strong face, nodding. “Thank you.”

The silence that follows is almost getting uncomfortable, both warlocks somewhat surprised by the grief emanating from the young woman. It rolls off her in waves. She is wrapped in a heavy shroud of confusion and darkness, mourning the loss of her life slowly, and she is taking all of them with her. It’s astounding really, Magnus thinks, the way her powers turn her emotions into tangible things that can choke up two of the most powerful warlocks of the latest two centuries.

“Magnus!”

Alexander is suddenly up and wrapping him in his arms, and his relief is palpable as well. Magnus only allows himself a second to sink into the man’s reassuring embrace before he steps back and smiles.

“Alexander, this is Ragnor Fell. He is here to help us with your and Clary’s situation.”

Warlock and Nephilim exchange polite greetings, shaking hands and taking in each other. Ragnor scrutinizes Alexander in a way he hadn’t Clary. It’s a strange thing, something only Magnus would notice due to his years of knowing the other warlock. There is however a sense of approval when Ragnor looks back at Magnus.

“I see what you were talking about. Let’s test them to see if I’m right, shall we?”

---

Izzy has just come back from a mission with a few other shadowhunters. She didn’t even pay attention to who they are while they were hunting. She doesn’t want to be here anymore, at the Institute, following the Clave’s, her mother’s, orders. It’s too constricting, too reducing. She has heard of Clary’s own little deruning, of her burning golden in the moonlight. It makes Izzy question everything she has learnt since her childhood. The weight of her Seraph blade in her hand is reassuring, but she dislikes it anyway. If she had been with Alec and Jace, the way it was meant for her to fight, she would have had her whip, not this blade. She doesn’t feel like herself like this, hasn’t really since Alec left. She has been breathing better, learning how to deal with him being … different and living with Magnus Bane, for the last few days, but it’s a lot for her to take in.

“Isabelle.”

Her mother is in the entrance, her arm crossed. Maryse Lightwood is a stern woman, beautiful but deadly. Izzy hates that they are always compared. Her mother is so different from her. Maryse is all about restraint and control and separation while Izzy wants freedom.

In her navy blue dress, her hair drawn up in a severe bun, Maryse doesn’t look like Isabelle’s mother in anyway. She looks like the Head of the New York Institute, the last Trueblood in the Clave. She doesn’t look like any person, just another member of the Clave. Izzy dreads ever becoming like that.

“Come to my office, now.”

Maryse doesn’t wait for Izzy's answer. She strides away, confident that she will be followed. After all, Izzy can’t disobey, not in front of all the other shadowhunters. It would bring shame upon her, adding on to the fact that her parabatai was deruned. So she follows without a word, another shadowhunter taking her blade when she extends it. She shouldn’t bring a weapon, even if she still has her whip with her.

She closes the door behind herself when she arrives in the desk, and she ignores how familiar the room feels. Before the whole Alec fiasco, when they had both been barely more than toddlers, she remembers sitting here on her father’s knees, watching the reports with him. It’s one of the only good memories she has of him.

“How is Alec?” Maryse is sitting, and she looks vulnerable, for the first time since the trial. She fidgets with the rings on her fingers, looks at the wall where the midday sun is dancing, before looking back at her daughter.

“Why don’t you go see him yourself?" Izzy bites back more accusations.

“I don’t think his warlock friend would welcome me. We don’t have… the best relationship.”

“Magnus is a good man,” Izzy feels compelled to defend the warlock despite her relative ignorance. He is important to Alec, thus he is to her as well. “He would let you see Alec anytime. And you could call.”

Maryse looks away, sighing. She has known for the past week and more that Izzy and Alec have been reunited, but until now she hasn’t asked anything. It seems worry and curiosity have won over in the end.

“I know. But Alec…”

“Alec would be happy to hear from you. He has told us that he misses you, as well as Max.”

Izzy feels some compassion for her mother now; they had been getting closer before Alec’s deruning. She comes closer, sits on the edge of the desk next to her mother..

“You should go see him. He has a lot to tell you, and you have a lot to tell him. And… Magnus is important to him now. There is also a little girl, a warlock too, Eve. Alec is very protective of her.”

Maryse listens to her as she tells him some of the things Izzy allows herself to. She asks questions, but she never interrupts.

“Thank you,” she breathes out softly at the end.

“You’re welcome mom.” Izzy smiles a bit tightly and kisses her mother’s forehead. Affection between the two of them is a bit difficult. Izzy had always felt she favored Alec, but Alec had always needed more protection from the Clave. Izzy knows their mother allowed her more freedom than most shadowhunters even dreamed of; she could take time in the mundane world, engage with Shadow people… Despite Maryse’s disapproval, she was allowed to be in a relationship with a Seelie.

She is retreating back to the door when Maryse calls out to her.

“Izzy?” She waits until her daughter turns around before smiling warmly, tears shining in her eyes. “I’m so proud of you. You are an amazing fighter, and the best daughter a mother could hope for. Alec is lucky to have you as his parabatai, and he, Jace and Max are lucky to have you as their sister. And I… I love you, Isabelle. I hope you know this.”

Izzy doesn’t respond. She isn't used to this. She doesn’t know how to react. What is she supposed to do? Should she nod and leave, should she say that she loves her mother too…?

In the end, she settles for striding back to her mother and hugging her tightly. The slight puff of breath Maryse releases is indication enough of surprise. From now on, Izzy swears to herself she’ll try harder to understand her mother.

“I love you too mom. Thank you." Her voice is a bit croaky with unshed tears, but they both pretend to not hear it as they embrace in this rare moment of open familial love.

---

Jace is going to Magnus’ to see Clary and Alec in the early evening, but Izzy is still too shocked by the day’s events to go.

“I’ll join you there whenever I can," she tells him as he leaves. Maryse gave him her approval.

He nods, “Be careful, wherever you go."

She doesn’t feel any shame that he knows she won’t stay at the Institute. She needs to escape everything for a while, needs to find somewhere where she is neither Isabelle the shadowhunter or Izzy the sister. She wants to be herself, to find her balance and peace again. She only knows one place for that: Meliorn’s.

She heads to Central Park as soon as the sun starts setting over the horizon, and she is glad when she gets there. She knows he is there, he had sent her a fire message a few days ago but she hadn’t had the time to answer in the chaotic mess that’s her life. When she finds his tent, she frowns. The Seelies are in mourning for some reason, and she can’t understand why. She hasn’t heard of any death, at least not around New York.

“Meliorn?”

She walks into his home, feeling more grounded here in her red dress and high heels. It’s a comfortable place, warm and blending natural elements everywhere. She likes it. It’s much more interesting and beautiful than the Institute.

“Isabelle, what a surprise to see you!" He turns to her and puts down the scroll he was reading. She likes that about him; he is smart, handsome, and beautifully strong.

“I thought a surprise visit would be fun. Is this a bad time? I noticed the butterflies around your tent.”

“My people are mourning a loss, but I would be happy to spend time with you, dear Isabelle.” He smiles and draws her into a kiss.

She should ask him more, should interest herself to the loss he has mentioned more… But right now, she doesn’t want to think, she wants to feel, wants to feel him and forget herself. So she allows him the distraction, allows him to take her to bed and undress her as she does the same to him. She loves this part, when he makes her shout and forget everything but the pleasure. He is truly magical, that she can say. He knows how to please her, how to make sure they are both content. She forgets the world beyond him.

It’s strange, their relationship. They only ever find each other for sex, but whenever they do they have perfect chemistry. And Izzy enjoys spending time speaking with him too. He is smart, and even if his riddles sometimes twist her brain, he is caring and attentive to her needs. She doesn’t love him though; she has never cared for love. She loves the sex, but she doesn’t want much more than that. Companionship, yes, and she could see herself still going to see Meliorn in the future, but if he wanted more, a real relationship… She doesn’t think she could give that to him. She doesn’t think she could give that to anyone.

“You are thinking quite a lot tonight," he says as they are laying in bed, satisfied and catching their breath before going on further. “Anything you might want to share?”

“Does it bother you,” she asks as an answer, "that I don’t want a real relationship? That we only ever meet for sex?”

He looks a bit surprised by her question, but he smiles and kisses her gently, caressing her body and making her shiver.

“No,” he says. “I don’t mind. I rather like it. We are both free, aren’t we? I find that much more pleasing than a confining relationship. I am glad that you are of the same mind that I am on this matter.”

She is relieved by his answer and she lets him light her body on fire with his nimble fingers a bit more. She is just coming down from her third orgasm of the evening when she sees a beautiful blue winged butterfly flutter around them. The mourning, she remembers.

“Will you tell me,” she asks as she sits upon his chest, feeling him grow interested again. “Why the Seelies are mourning? I have not heard of anything.”

Meliorn sighs, but he grips her waist as he sits up, and she moans slightly. They maybe shouldn’t be talking so seriously when they are still naked and rearing for another pleasure filled hour.

“Our Queen sent scouts to Valentine Morgenstern, after we learnt that his wife had rejoined him and his daughter was roaming New York City’s streets. Only one of three returned alive, bringing back the bodies of the others. We mourn their deaths.”

Her blood freezes. Valentine Morgenstern. Clary's father. She had forgotten about him, about the Mortal Cup and everything else. After all, the vampires had been the only one asking for it, until now… The pleasurable evening is finished, and she sighs deeply, putting her head on his shoulder.

“Would you tell me as much as you can?"

“You know I am not allowed to reveal informations private to the Seelie Queen’s court, Isabelle.”

“What if I brought you to another Shadow People Leader?”

An interested light has emerged in his eyes. It's the first time, she realizes, she doesn’t call him or his people Downworlders. She tries to ignore the shame she feels at her past behavior.

“You have my curiosity now, dear Isabelle."

She smiles slightly and moves away from his lap, but he brings her back almost forcefully.

“We have time before going, don't we?"

His fingers have found their ways around her nipples and he tugs on them. She moans and agrees, breathless. She can be just Isabelle with Meliorn for a little bit more.

Chapter Text

Clary feels slightly disconnected from her body, ever since the previous night’s event. Still, she had insisted to do the tests that Ragnor had asked from her and Alec. It had been a strange afternoon, which is to say after all the changes she has had happened to her lately.

First, there had been some spell casting, but it had produced nothing from either her or Alec. Then some more symbol tracing, similar to when they had summoned Valak. Potion making, wards… It’s been a long afternoon, and now evening is falling on them, and nothing has happened. They hadn’t been able to produce any magic, which hadn’t seemed to faze the other warlock.

Clary doesn’t know what to think of Ragnor Fell. He is an odd man, but he bickers and argues with Magnus in way only old and very good friends do. Magnus trusts him, and she believes that Magnus wants the best, if not for her, for Alec. So, in some way, despite the fact that she doesn’t know him, she trusts him as well.

The two warlocks are discussing in the kitchen, voices lowered down to whispers, and Clary ignores them as she goes to the balcony. She doesn’t feel awake enough to care that she could probably hear important information. Alec is sitting on an outdoor sofa, looking out towards the city. There is still that safe, protective aura around him that she had felt the second time she had met him. She has been meaning to talk to him more, anyway. He doesn’t say much, even to Magnus or his siblings. She has noticed that Eve draws out a tender side of him.

“Did you feel this tired when you used your powers the first time?” She asks as she sits down opposite him, a blanket wrapped around her shoulders.

“I slept for an entire day, and then more," he answers quietly.

“They know what it is, don’t they?"

He sighs and nods. “It looks like it."

“Why won’t they tell us then? We deserve to know. It’s happening to us after all, not them. They shouldn’t be keeping it from us.”

“I don’t know. I’m new to all this too, you know? I wasn’t exactly allowed to see the warlocks or anyone else beyond patrols when I still lived at the Institute. It’s not a whole new world like it is for you, but it’s a whole new side of it I never expected to see.”

She understands, somewhat. The shock of the new world has worn off, slowly but steadily. Now, she’s just annoyed at the way everyone keeps information to themselves.

“Why did you leave the Institute?"

He looks at her, hazel eyes astonishingly bright in the dying light.

“Izzy didn’t tell you?” At her head shake, he shrugs a bit and sighs. “I was deruned for being trans. My runes didn’t burn off like yours did, they actually were taken off by shadowhunters specialized in this.”

She can tell he is remembering, and she thinks back to the way her neck had burnt when the iratze had disappeared. What pain must he have felt when they were all forcefully taken off him? She’ll never understand that, she’ll never feel the same pain he does. After all, it’s not anything she actually understands well. Izzy and Jace have explained to her the importance of rune, the meaning behind them… But it’s not anything she had paid much attention until now. Runes, they were part of the shadowhunters, just like her red hair is part of her, but to have them be taken off by force… She can’t know what it’s like, but she can imagine some of the pain.

“I’m sorry,” she says quietly, and he nods, acknowledging her words. “I thought my mother would kick me out, when I told her I’m a lesbian, you know? But Luke convinced her. The both of us have been… kinda ignoring that moment ever since then. I think she was hoping I would grow out of it? But at least I had Luke, he always had my back.”

Alec smiles a bit then. “Izzy and Jace never made me feel weird about this. And our mother came around, after some time. But my father… Well. He went off and we haven’t actually spoken in years. Luke seems like a good father to have.”

It warms her, that someone else is referring to him as her father. It’s new for her to allow herself to call him that; her mother had always been strict on him just being a family’s friend. It feels good to say he is her father. He raised her, just as much as Jocelyn did. She is as much his daughter as Jocelyn’s. Maybe more now. Thinking of her mother is so painful now.

“Thank you.” She says quietly again, wrapping her blanket tighter around her shoulder.

They are silent for a bit, and it doesn't feel awkward or meaningless. They understand each other better now, a bond made stronger by both of their queerness. It’s not the same experience, and it never will be, but they are a little community now. Stronger together than alone. It feels nice, she realizes after a bit. Maybe they can learn to be friends.

---

Izzy doesn’t know why exactly she feels like she has to bring Meliorn to see Alec and Magnus. She doesn’t even know why she has proposed, or when Magnus become so essential to Alec that she associates the two of them now in her mind. She isn’t cute sure she cares.

It’s almost morning now, dawn not too far away. They fell asleep after their latest round of sex, and she had been quite annoyed with herself when she had woken up in Meliorn’s large bed. The Seelie is walking behind her with a smile on his face, and she knows how handsome he is without having to look. He is beautiful, and she has a surge of fondness for him. He accepted to follow her without asking any question, and she knows that it is both out of curiosity and affection for her. She wonders in how much trouble he could be with his Queen, if she knew how much Meliorn and Izzy trade informations sometimes. She doesn’t really want to think about it.

“You are bringing me to the High Warlock of Brooklyn, Isabelle?”

They are nearing the apartment block, and she nods. There is no point in saying no, or in questioning how he knows where they are going.

“He is not rumored to like Shadowhunters much," Meliorn comments lightly. “Are you sure he will receive you, at this time of the morning?”

“Yes. We have… shared interests, lately.” She doesn’t really want to tell him about Alec just yet. It’s not that she doesn’t trust him, but… She doesn’t really know how to tell anyone. She hasn’t even managed to tell her mother about it, how could she tell him?

“Something is bothering you."

He has stopped walking, both of their glamour making it so that the mundanes passing by don’t notice them, but she can see where he is tense. It’s irregular, she supposes, for him to trust a shadowhunter like this, without any indication. She has been… understanding, more and more, lately. So she walks back to him, and takes his hand.

“I promise, he will welcome us. You two know each other already. And isn’t it true that the Shadow People Leaders share informations amongst themselves they don’t share with us shadowhunters? Magnus will listen to you, and your Queen might not be angry that you have shared information. And…” She hesitates, but she has to give him something, so that he will come with her the rest of the way. “I know where Valentine Morgenstern’s daughter is.”

His eyes light up with the same curious light that he had had back at the tent when she had offered to take him to Magnus. She’s got his full attention now.

---

The knocking at his front door is what wakes Magnus from his half slumber on the kitchen table, where he was reading late into the night, long after everyone had gone to sleep, disappointed by the day’s events. He’ll admit, he was also quite annoyed when the tests Ragnor had imposed on Alexander and Clary had yielded no results. He knows they have powers, it’s just frustrating that they are so linked to their emotions.

When the door swings open, he is surprised to see Isabelle and Meliorn. He knew, of course, that they were together, in some way, but he hadn’t expected this, especially from Alexander’s parabatai. He doesn’t know her well, after all, has only met her for the first time a week ago. Time seems to stretch these days though, short and long at the same time, packed with knowledge and things to discover.

“Isabelle, Meliorn. What a surprise."

“Hi Magnus,” Isabelle smiles, "Sorry to bother you this early. I just thought we should all hear the news Meliorn is bringing. Are Alec and Clary awake yet?”

Magnus steps aside and sighs with a bit of a headshake, letting them both inside. “Not yet no. They both went t sleep late yesterday, but you can go wake up your brother if you want, I’ll take care of biscuit.”

She nods, and Meliorn stays silent, not unusually quiet next to her, but still strange enough that Magnus gives him a look. The Seelie simply shrugs.

Fifteen minutes later, everyone is gathered around the kitchen table, coffee or tea in their hands. Isabelle has been introduced to Ragnor, as has Meliorn, and Clary and Alexander are somewhat bright-eyed, but they both have sleepy faces as they drink in their coffees. They are strangely similar, for two near strangers.

“So, what are those important news?" Magnus questions.

“The Seelies sent scouts to see where Valentine Morgenstern was hiding. And two of them were sent back dead,” Isabelle announces calmly. “And Meliorn accepted to tell us more.”

Did he now? Magnus is surprised. Following the calculating look of the Seelie, he understands though. If he has been promised to meet Valentine’s daughter, he could use that information to salvage his reputation with his Queen. They are engaging in risky business now. They are all in danger, both due to Clary’s father, the Lightwoods maintaining contacts despite Alexander’s deruning, and now the Seelie Court. Still, Magnus is determined to see this to the end now. Alexander didn’t hesitate in calling him and Eve family, and now… Well. He is, despite all of Magnus’ intentions, family as well.

“Tell us then,” he says. “We are all listening."

---

The picture Meliorn paints as he explains everything is frightening, and Alec isn’t sure they are ready for the fight ahead of them. With his blossoming powers, the Clave and everything else happening, he doesn’t know how they can all handle it. Clary is clearly still reeling from her friend’s transformation and the whole Shadow World revelation, Izzy is slowly adjusting to their new reality of being separated parabatai, and he just wants answers.

“Valentine is amassing an army, and his wife is looking to get back the Cup from the warlock she says stole it,” Meliorn is saying.

Clary shakes next to him. He doesn't comfort her. She needs to learn how to deal with their world’s horrors, and he wouldn’t make it better if he coddled her. She is stronger than she looks.

“They are also looking for their daughter," the Seelie looks directly at Clary now, and the redhead isn’t afraid anymore. She’s angry as he continues, “We believe they will be coming to New York first, before going to Alicante to finish what they started twenty five years ago.”

There is silence for a moment. Alec exchanges a worried glance with Magnus; New York is their home, and if the Morgensterns are coming here… They’ll have to fight. But how can Alec fight? He could ask Izzy or Jace to smuggle his bow out but—

His thoughts are cut off by an angry gold light seeping from the young woman next to him. Clary’s eyes are pouring tears of sunlight that burn the table where they touch it, and her whole body is glowing. She’s angry, there is none of the peaceful magic he had felt coming from her when Jace had brought her back. This is the furor of Clary Fray, in all its intensity.

“Marvelous,” Ragnor Fell breathes out as they all stand frozen.

It is one word for it, yes. Alec would rather say terrifying however. He isn’t afraid of her, isn’t scared of the light that oozes out of her and slowly surrounds them, but he can tell there is more to her than to him. Her power is stronger, more confused. If Magnus was right in saying their powers come from their angelic blood, then Alec is ready to bet his right hand that there is more angelic magic in Clary Fray than there ever will be in Alec. It’s astonishing, truly horrifying, and yet… It’s beautiful. This is pure angelic wrath.

---

Maia can’t believe she has to go to the vampires for help. The fucking vamps. They are hereditary enemies, a werewolf shouldn’t have to go seek help amongst bloodsuckers. But Luke had asked her to bring him to the DuMort and ask for Simon, so she’s doing just that. She took Luke’s car, with him in the backseat.

He reeks of vampires and nephilim, even after the fight. She knows he has won, technically. Theo won’t be back, not after the way Luke defeated him. And anyway, Maia would leave the pack and side with Luke anytime. But still. Vampires.

She parks in front of the main entrance of the Hotel DuMort and feels the wolf inside her growl. It’s difficult here, to not transform. She wants to, desperately. She doesn’t feel safe here, but it’ll soon be dawn, and they have to get going. Vampires are night beings, after all.

“Stay right here,” she says uselessly before walking out of the car. Luke is half passed out in the backseat and she doesn’t think he could move if he tried to. He’s lost so much blood, she’s wondering what this Simon vampire can do to help him. He better be an amazing shadow healer, for a werewolf to come to him for help. She had wanted to go see a warlock but Luke had said they needed to go see this Simon first, that he had to be there too or something.

So she’s now banging on the door, half covered in Luke’s blood, the night slowly fading around her.

“Enough, wolf!” The vampire snapping at her is tall, looking furious at her interruption, but she doesn’t care. She’s heard worse.

“I need to see Simon." She plants her bloodied hands on her hips, and she sees the way the vampire tracks her movement with their eyes. “Now.”

“The fledgling has not said anything about more werewolf,” the vampire snaps again.

“Yeah? Well you go and tell him Luke needs him and we’ll see how he reacts.”

The fledgling, the vampire called Simon, Maia remarks to herself now that she is alone. Is it possible that Luke merely wanted to say goodbye, rather than having her drive him to a doctor? That wouldn’t be too surprising of him, but she’s furious if that’s the case.

“Where is Luke? Who are you?”

She turns to look at the voice and frowns slightly. The boy — man? — in front of her looks nothing like the other vampires she has seen before. He is in jeans and a Star Trek t-shirt, and she can glimpse over his shirt a light golden chain on which hangs the Magen David. The fact that he is Jewish as well makes her relax slightly, but still. He is a vampire.

“I’m Maia, Luke is in the car. He insisted on seeing you.” She doesn’t add the for some reason that’s on the tip of her tongue.

She doesn’t really need to, the young vampire is already at the car, throwing the door open, and she can tell he controls neither his speed or his strength yet. The door makes a slight tearing and cracking sound, and there are finger shaped dents on the door handle now. /Newborns/, she think with an eye roll. They can’t control themselves.

For a second, Simon is frozen as he stares at Maia’s Alpha. She guesses the scent of blood is overwhelming him, but she can’t tell for sure. He is crouching next to Luke an instant after, before he turns towards her.

“What happened?”

“He challenged our Alpha after he came back with the smell of vampire and nephilim to the pack. He won the fight, but now…”

Now he is dying, and there is nothing she can do about it. She absolutely hates being so powerless.

“Can you save him?”

Simon looks at her, startled. "Me? No! I've never—“

She cuts him off with a groan, "I knew I should have taken him—“

“But I know someone who might be able to." He says quickly, looking at the way the night is starting to lighten. “We’ll have to hurry though, I can’t exactly sunbathe anymore.”

He goes to sit in the driver's seat like he belongs there, and strangely enough, she can see it. There is something about how familiarly he touches everything, the concern in his voice and his trembling hands as he had looked at Luke’s wound… He may be a vampire, yes, but she doesn’t think he is a danger to them. At least, not for now.

She gets in the passenger's seat and nods. “Drive then.”

---

Clary’s anger is magnificent. Magnus is amazed, looking at it. It’s been a good ten minutes now, but despite the words they’ve tried to tell her so that she would calm down, the red-haired nephilim has only kept burning with anger. The temperature within the room is rising, and he is keeping his magic in check to make sure he doesn’t inadvertently react to it. He can see Alexander’s eyes so clearly in this golden red light, and he can sense suddenly the magic rising in Alec as well. The soothing aspect of it as he puts a glowing blue hand on the shining orange one of Clary is astounding. Magnus’ magic reacts to Alexander’s magic much more, and he knows it’s only the emotions and still…

“It’s alright,” Alexander is saying, "We won’t let them get to you, or anyone else. We’ll stop them. We are strong enough.”

He maintains a litany of reassuring words as he makes her turn fully to him, and Magnus spares a look to Isabelle. The fiery young woman is astonished, that much is clear from the way she is looking at her brother and Clary. Next to her, Meliorn’s face is a mask of perfect impassivity, but Magnus sees the interest from where it lays hidden. He’ll have to keep an eye on Meliorn then, stop him from reporting to the Seelie Queen right away. For now, Alexander and Clary are safe only because no one knows they are different. Meliorn will talk to the Queen, and if the Queen decides that an alliance with the Clave is the most interesting offer… They could have a disaster on their hands.

Clary shakes even more, the air around her beating with fire. Magnus can see an outline of wings being her, and he’s reminded of Alexander as he sent Valak back to his own dimension. He’s pretty sure that, were she not sitting on the chair and facing Alec, the young woman would be floating and sending roaring flames around herself. He’s quite glad for Alexander’s presence once again.

A knock on the front door disturbs them all, but Clary and Alec don’t move from their position. Isabelle had said nothing about Jace coming, and he can’t imagine who it might be that doesn’t trigger his wards at the moment. He is about to ignore it, hoping that the person will just assume he is not there, but the knocking starts again, more insistent and louder. Eve will be woken up by it if this continues, and he doesn’t want her to see Clary like this. Who knows if this might scare her, she astonishes him every day.

“Hi, Magnus right? I’m Simon, this is Maia, and well, we need your help with Luke!”

He recognizes the blabbering vampire on his doorsteps as Clary’s formerly mundane friend, and the woman next to him is a bartender at one of his favorite Shadow bar in New York. In between them, heavily bloodied and breathing harshly, is Luke Garroway. If he thought Clary was angry at the news about her parents, he doesn’t want to think about what she will do when she sees the man she considers as her father hurt and on the edge of death.

He lets them in and takes them to the living room in a hurry. “What happened?”

Maia explains as she and Simon puts the wounded man on the couch, and he frowns a bit. He isn’t sure he can heal bites from an alpha wolf right away, he might be missing some ingredients…

“What’s going on?”

Alexander has walked in the room, and Clary is next to him. She has calmed on a bit, it seems. Fire is still around her like a soft blanket, but she is almost back to her normal self. And then she catches sight of Luke.

He sighs as her fire intensifies again. The day isn’t looking up.

---

Maia steps back as the woman she saw at the Jade Wolf catches fire. It’s strange, she could have sworn the beautiful woman was a Nephilim. She had noticed, because despite the way her nose had wrinkled at the double smell of the Nephilim, there had been such a beauty about Luke’s daughter. Her hair, golden and fiery, had surrounded her graceful face in a strange halo. Maia had liked looking at her, it had been a nice break. But now…

Now her hair is aflame, and her eyes are lost in a golden haze. She looks even more beautiful like this. She sees the faintness of wings painting themselves on her surroundings. The air is so warm, almost suffocating. It hurts, to look at the woman — Clary? Maia remembers that it was how the other one, Alec, had introduced her.

“Clary!” Alec places himself in front of her, drawing her attention to him.

Maia can’t tell exactly what he is aiming to accomplish, or what his relationship to Clary is, or to Luke, or anyone in this room. Except maybe that one other woman, the gorgeous one with the luscious dark hair. They have a familial air, and there is something more to it, but Maia doesn’t really care at the moment. She recognizes Meliorn from the bar, and Magnus as well, but otherwise they are strangers.

A child walks in, yawning and seemingly unperturbed by the woman on fire in the room. She goes to cuddle against Magnus, who picks her up, and Maia can see the instinct of it. It’s a practiced move, repeated over and over, that has become a mechanism now. She didn’t know the warlock was a father.

“Clary, breathe,” Alec is saying, his hands on her shoulders and forcing her to look at him. “You can’t do anything like this.”

The child, her golden curls bouncing as she gets put down again, stretches a bit and walks to Clary.

“Come on,” she says calmly and tugs on Clary’s hand. “It’s okay, but now you have to calm down.”

Her voice, so sweet and quiet, is powerful in the room. She is a force of nature, that child, Maia can tell. So young, and yet so full of strength. Maia has never seen anything like it. She’s seeing a lot of things she has never seen before at the moment.

Clary stops flaming now, and falls to her knees. Tears fall down her cheeks relentlessly. It looks like she has been defeated by life. Maia doesn’t pity her, but she does feel sad for her. There is something so heartbreaking about her now, nothing like the golden queen she had been a few seconds ago.

---

Luke’s breathing is ragged when Magnus finally gets to him. He’s sent Isabelle and Ragnor to get something he knows will help, and he had intended to restock that particular thing anyway. No better time than the present. At least Ragnor will know exactly what he needs, and he may even have some interesting addition. One good thing about having that old man there is definitely that. Eve is looking over Clary with Simon, and Maia went there as well. Meliorn left at the same time as Isabelle did, while Magnus was looking through his supplies, and the warlock is annoyed by that. He can’t control how much the Seelie Queen will know now.

“Magnus, do you need any help?" It’s Alexander, kneeling next to him as he looks at Luke.

He examines the new alpha's wounds quickly. It’s not pretty, there is something definitely starting to fester. If they don’t get to it quickly, Luke could forever be bothered by this wound. He wouldn’t die, not on Magnus’ watch. But his transformations could be even more painful than they are now, and there are little chances he could ever actually run again in his wolf form. So Magnus has to get to it right now, and stop the poison from spreading more.

“I’m going to need your strength." He looks back to the Nephilim and smiles slightly at the deep trust and admiration there is in the man’s eyes. They’ll need to talk soon, but there are more urgent matters for now.

“Anything you need.” The sincerity in the voice of the man is almost overwhelming. “Whatever it is, my strength, my mind, my body, it’s yours.”

Those words cut deep, deeper than Alexander probably imagined, and Magnus stares at him in awe. He can’t let himself be overwhelmed, he has work to do. He knows now. He knows for sure that those feelings growing inside him are not unreciprocated.

“Luke,” he croaks out after an eternity. I just need you to…”

He extends a hand to Alexander, who takes it and squeezes it reassuringly. Magnus feels the surge of Nephilim energy, and he can feel the magic underneath, beating with Alexander’s heart, resonating with his own. It’s reassuring.

He places his hands on Luke's torso, Alec's own hand entangled with his touching the blood. The first surge of magic is exhausting, but it’s nothing he can’t handle with Alexander there. They are together in this now, and he hopes it doesn’t change anytime soon. He couldn’t bear it.

---

Clary’s eyes flutter open for the second time of the day. She feels cold, like she had been standing in front of a chimney right before and she has stepped into the cold air now. Cool air makes her shiver as she sits up and she looks around.

Simon’s face is the first face she sees. He is anxious, standing in the doorway of her bathroom, away from the sunlight of her open window. It’s when she sees that that she remembers everything. He is a vampire, he can’t stand the sunlight. It would kill him. Still, when she croaks out his name, he starts moving towards her instantly, before hissing as some ray of sun hits his hand. He steps back, hiding again in the doorway.

“Hey Fray,” he says quietly and waves at her. “How are you feeling?”

She shrugs. “I’ve had better days.”

A snort come from her left and she turns to see the woman from the Jade Wolf. She is as gorgeous as the last time, and Clary feels a strange need to cover herself and hide, despite being in a thick blanket. Eve is next to her, sitting on a chair and drawing calmly.

“I bet you have,” the gorgeous woman says. Luke had introduced her as Maia.

Luke…

“Where is Luke? Is he alright?" She tries to stand up, but as soon as she swings her legs on the side, she feels herself grow weaker and she falls over.

“Hey, stay in bed pretty girl..." Maia's not smiling, but her eyes are kind. “You had it rough earlier, give yourself some time to recover. Luke is doing alright, Magnus took care of him.”

Clary sighs of relief. "Great... Is he going to be alright?”

“Magnus said so yes. He just needs rest. And so do you, so shoo.”

She manhandles Clary into bed, and Clary tries not to think of the strength underneath those delicate arms. It’s strange, everything is so clear and so pristine… She remembers the burning sensation of earlier, and the burn… And yet, she feels cleansed from it. She feels complete, for the first time of her life.

“You’ll have to give him some of yourself," Eve says suddenly from her chair, looking up. “He’ll need it.”

“He?” Clary is a bit disturbed by Eve, but that’s nothing new. There are moments the child feels… too much like she has seen everything in the world and is always on the edge of destroying it. She doesn’t feel like a child in those moments. And yet, whenever she smiles, whenever she demands a story be told to her by Alec or Magnus, she is the sweetest eight year old Clary has met.

“Yes, him!” Eve points at Simon, who's gnawing on his lips, paler than he has ever been before.

“What do you mean, I’ll have to give him some of myself?”

“Isn’t it evident? He already needs it."

Clary looks back at Simon, and she sees it now. The way he quivers, the way he is wringing his hands… He is hungry. He wants blood. And Eve says she is the one who has to feed him.

“Now?”

Eve shrugs and comes closer, giving her the drawing she was working on. It’s clearly infused with her magic, because the likeliness of the characters on the page are astounding. It’s herself, giving her wrist to Simon, who stands beneath a golden sun. So that’s exactly what she meant. Clary looks at her best friend, who frowns.

“No,” he says as she stands up, stronger than before. Maia still sticks close, despite the fact that they don’t know know each other.

“It’s alright, I know you won't take too much.”

“Don’t come closer.” He steps back, and Clary looks at Maia, nodding, and the woman steps away.

“It’s alright,” she repeats. "It's just us. We are friends. You and me, forever.”

She doesn’t know why she's so intent on this suddenly. The thought still terrifies her. But the drawing… They had been so peaceful. If she had believed in any faith, she would have said there was something holy about the way Eve had drawn them. Simon had radiated with such a pure energy, something so beautiful… And she? She had been…. powerful.

She takes his hand, faster than he can move back. “The two of us, we promised each other we would be there for each other. And now, you are the one who need me. Please, let me do this for you.”

He looks at her and shakes her head one more time, trying to get away from her grip, but she doesn’t let go. She sighs, and focus on the fire within her. Slowly, on her wrist, blood pools up and trickles down on her hand, coating her fingers in the red sticky liquid, and staining Simon’s wrist. His pupils dilate, and she knows the moment he gives in, where his need overcomes his worry for his friend.

When his fangs plunge into her skin, she doesn’t say anything, doesn’t move. She keeps the pain to herself and lets him drink.

Chapter Text

The bite marks refuses to leave her wrist. It’s not exactly a bite mark, Clary thinks as she looks at it. It’s thin, long and yes, she can see the tiny imprints of Simon’s fangs but… It’s mostly her own magic that cut her open like this. The mark is healing just fine, better than fine actually. It’s only been a day, and it’s already scarring delicately. But still. She can tell it won’t go away. It’s too… precious, she wants to say. It’s a visual representation of her bond to Simon, maybe that’s why she wants it to stay. She loves that scar, strangely enough.

“Biscuit?”

Magnus is at the door of her bedroom, looking at her gently. The warlock has been nothing but kind and helpful ever since they met, and she almost burnt down his home yesterday… Maybe she should go elsewhere. Maybe back to her apartment… But that would make her too easy of a target. The Shadowhunters’ Institute could be an option, but she doesn’t like that much. She doesn’t want to go back there since she learned about what they did to Alec.

“Clary?” Magnus has crossed the threshold of the bedroom ad puts a hand on her shoulder gently. “Are you alright?”

It startles her out of her reverie. If Magnus doesn’t say anything, it’s that he probably doesn’t mind.

“Yes! Sorry, I was just lost in thoughts. Is there anything you need from me?”

“Luke is asking for you," he says with a bit of a frown. She doesn’t think he completely bought her excuse, but she doesn’t want to tell him. He’s too much the kind to take everything on himself to fix it, and she doesn’t want to bother him again. He has done enough for her.

“Oh, alright.” She smiles and pushes her hair back, catching her reflection in the mirror. Maybe she should cut it. She has always thought maybe cutting it right above her face could work. “I’ll go right away then. Is he doing well?”

She feels a bit guilty. Ever since Simon and Maia brought him in yesterday, she hasn’t gone to see him. It’s been too much. She had talked with Maia a bit after Simon had left to go sit on the balcony, staring at the sunny Manhattan for hours. It might have been only a few days since he had been Turned, she has a feeling he had already thought himself condemned to a life spent in darkness and secrecy. She is glad that Eve told her to do so, but she is wondering why she felt so compelled to obey, to the point that she basically forced Simon to bite her, despite his repeated refusal. The little girl has something truly fascinating going on, with her visions and her ability to make anyone obey.

Maia is also quite the fun company, though she left the previous night. She had promised to drop by again during the day to check up on Luke, and Clary can’t wait. She almost can’t believe Luke never introduced them; Clary is sure she would have gotten along with Maia even before those events. But well. She gathers that Luke couldn’t introduce Clary to any part of the Shadow People he knew.

Magnus pushes the door of the bedroom where Luke is resting open and lets her with a quiet smile, before he disappears beyond the closing door. She guesses he has either gone back to Alec or to his friend, Ragnor. She would bet a lot that he is back with Alec.

“Clary,” Luke says from the bed, and she turns to smile at him. “I’m glad to see you’re doing alright now. Magnus said you had some issues.”

“Hey, don’t steal my line," she jokes weakly as she sits down next to him on the bed. She tries to avert her eyes from the wound still healing on his chest, but she can’t help it. She has to look, to check that he is doing alright, that he is staying with her. She can’t help the tears that fill her eyes either. It’s her /dad/, laid in bed with bandages, who could have died the previous day while she was just furious and useless.

“Don’t cry.” Luke sits up with some difficulty and drags her in his arms, hugging her as tightly as he can. “I’m alright now, everything is fine. Magnus took care of the wound, and your friend Alec came by to see if I needed anything a few times. I’m alright Clary,” he keeps repeating as she sobs heavily. He doesn’t say anything more than this.

In his arms, she feels like the child she was years ago, when she would have a nightmare and he would be there to take care of her, make sure she would be alright. She knows nothing of this is a dream, but still. Luke has always made her feel safe and loved, and she has always thought of him as her dad. And she knows he thinks of her as his daughter. She had been so scared when she had seen him hurt, so scared she would lose him right after she lost her mother. Because the Jocelyn Fray she had known and loved, it isn’t the Jocelyn she has been hearing about in the past few days. Luke and Simon, they are her two constants. She can’t lose them now. She’ll protect them fiercely.

---

Ragnor is watching Alexander and Eve train at fighting together when Magnus finds him, and the British warlock is looking at the young Nephilim with calculating eyes. It’s nothing Magnus has never seen before; it has happened once or twice, when Ragnor had taken an apprentice under his wings, a young warlock that he would teach his potions and spells. They have all done that, Magnus more often than his other friends. This time though, Magnus doesn’t want to let him take Alec has an apprentice. He doesn’t doubt that the young Lightwood would say no to leaving the city, but the mere idea of it is unfathomable to Magnus. He couldn’t bear it, having Alexander so far away, when they have just only began to... to what exactly? Neither of them have acknowledged their feelings and there hasn’t been anything that would make them anything besides friends.

“Come on, hit higher.” Alexander smiles as he helps Eve move her stick higher.

“Why can’t I just use my powers?" Eve pouts a bit and puts down her stick. “It’s much easier if I do like Magnus taught me!”

“What happens if one day you can't use your powers?”

“Well,” she shrugs carelessly, her hair bouncing around adorably, “You’ll be there, won’t you? So it’s all good!”

It makes Magnus’ heart tightens, the way she says this. It’s full of faith and confidence. He doesn’t doubt that one of her vision as shown Alexander around her in the future, but he knows that there is nothing certain about the future either. He has known warlocks who got so engrossed in the visions of the future they had sought out that they had given up on their present. They had given themselves up to a future who had never come for them. He doesn’t want this to happen to Eve, but he has never dealt with visions the way she does. She isn’t seeking the future; rather, it just happens to her. She might be an oracle, or some kind of Seer. There aren’t that many of them, or at least not anymore. He has heard rumors that they were common before the Nephilim emerged. There are tales of them all throughout the mundane world, after all.

“Don’t you think it would be even better if you could defend yourself without your powers, even when I’m around?”

The little girl shrugs and Magnus chuckles silently. Ragnor smiles next to him, exchanging an amused glance at his friend. Magnus remembers his own training, after his father and Edom, when Ragnor had taken upon himself to teach him the basics of fighting. It had certainly been a struggle, and in the end Magnus had gone to other teachers throughout the world, but he has to credit Ragnor for the beginning, at the very least.

“What if we do a trade," Alec suggests as he crouches down. The Angels have really blessed him with a gorgeous body, Magnus notes absentmindedly. “What if you teach me magic, and I teach you how to fight properly? Would that be better?”

Eve immediately brightens. Her glamour falls down, and her golden specks shine brighter than usual as she nods eagerly. She’s such a beautiful little girl, with such a wonderful mind. There is nothing Magnus wouldn’t do to protect that little girl.

“Alright, then pick up your stick," Alec says. “We are starting all over again.”

Ragnor turns away then, and he smiles at Magnus. “Let’s talk.”

Magnus goes to his kitchen with him. When they pass by the living room, he can see the young vampire, Simon was it?, still on the balcony. He has been there ever since the previous morning. Magnus will make sure later that he is alright.

“Interesting assembly you have around you," Ragnor says as he sits down. “Nephilim, vampires, werewolves, warlocks… And even a Seelie. It’s rare to see all the Shadow people come under one roof this way.”

“You know I rarely refuse someone demanding help,” Magnus answers as a plate of Belgian waffles appear in front of them and he digs in. He hasn’t had breakfast yet, and he’s starving.

“You won’t refuse me then, if I ask to stay?" Ragnor picks up a piece and eats it, waving away Magnus’ affronted noise. “You’ll need some help managing this merry crew, and Catarina and Dorothea have made it clear that they aren’t quite ready for that.”

“My apartment isn’t expendable to infinity," Magnus grumbles. “I’m assuming Simon will stay, and I am already housing two Nephilim, and—“

“Now, don’t downplay your powers, Magnus Bane.”

“I am not—“

“Yes you are,” Ragnor chastises with a severe look, and Magnus feels like he is seventy-five again. “I have seen you host parties with hundreds of people in a space barely as big as your living room. I’m sure you can manage to fit an old man like me in your wonderful loft. And if it’s a matter of bedrooms, I’m sure in a short amount of time one of them will be freed.”

Magnus grumbles and looks at his friend, taking in the amused sparkle in his eyes. “What do you mean by that?”

“Why, I would bet that soon our dear mister Lightwood will be moving into your own bedroom!”

He laughs at that and Magnus resists the urge to act childishly. It isn’t that he doesn’t want that, but he is not ready to share his room yet, and even thinking about it feels huge. They aren’t even dating yet! And despite the building certainty that Alec has feelings for him, Magnus doesn’t want to over shot it. He might be misguided.

“Anyway, we need to start the training of Clary Fairchild as soon as possible,” Ragnor continues on a more serious tone.

“Her parents will be looking for her," Magnus frowns down at the table. “We both know the Morgensterns will not give up their daughter so easily. And the Clave might turn with them, when they learn that I am harboring her. And there is the Seelie Queen…”

“I’m sure we’ll find solutions when problems arise. For now, teaching Clary how to fight is essential. As well as Alec and her learning how to use their powers. We’ll have to train them like warlocks; we have never been confronted to Nephilim using their powers.”

Magnus sighs but nods. Ragnor is right, and he wishes it wasn’t so. His days of peace with Alexander and Eve are well and truly over.

---

Simon hasn’t been cold ever since he became a vampire. He just spent a night not moving outside, looking at the moon and stars and then the rising sun. He can still feel on his tongue the taste of Clary’s blood. It had been delicious, better than any other blood he had had before. So heavy and yet light… He had felt the change immediately. He doesn’t know what it is about her blood that made him be able to go back to standing in the sunlight, but he is appreciative of it.

Still, the way she had demanded of him that he drink her blood… The command behind it had felt off. It hadn’t been his Clary who had cut herself to force him. It had been someone, something else. It had been the same Clary that had floated in the air and driven Camille away. He isn’t sure he likes her this way. There is something blood chilling about her that way. Maybe it’s just that she doesn’t know how to control it perfectly yet, or maybe she is changing too. He is different from a few days ago, he knows that. He is still Simon, but… Well. He is Simon the vampire now. Simon who feeds on blood, who can run at high speed, who can hear the heartbeat of everyone in the loft, but not his own.

He misses his home, suddenly. His chest aches with the desire to see his mother and sister, to hug them and tell them that everything will be alright. But he can’t go for now. He has to stay here, at Magnus Bane’s, and learn everything he can on this new world.

“You shouldn’t stay so long outside,” a voice points out from behind him, and he jumps slightly. He had been so lost in his thought he hadn’t heard anyone coming up behind him. “Even if you can now stand the sun and you are immortal, you’ve isolated yourself long enough.”

Magnus Bane is standing at the entrance of the balcony, looking quite different from the first time Simon saw him. He looks almost dressed down, but Simon can’t say that without feeling like it’s wrong. There is still all the flare of the previous time, but it looks much more comfortable and cozy, much more natural.

“Clary is with Luke, right?" At Magnus' nods, Simon continues. “It’s not like I know anyone and I don’t want to be a bother, don’t worry about me!”

He smiles cheerily as he says this, but it sounds fake to his own ears. He is hoping that Magnus won’t notice, since they are basically strangers.

“Well you could learn to know people if you came inside,” the warlock gestures to the interior. “I get that it’s overwhelming, but we aren’t going to hurt you. You’re the first vampire who can stand the sunlight, that makes you quite interesting. And Camille sired you, for some reason.”

“I think that was mostly an impulse decision on her part,” Simon chuckles weakly. He is starting to be tired, even with his vampire heightened abilities. “I’m not sure she would have picked me otherwise.”

“Oh I know her,” Magnus says, a cold note creeping in his tone. It’s the first time Simon is really seeing a peek of the High Warlock’s abilities. The man is crackling with magic, something shining through him like a hot flash. “She wouldn’t have Turned you if she hadn’t thought you could be of some use. There is of course the fact that you are Clary’s best friend, but you aren’t an idiot either, aren’t you? You knew the only way to stop her was to go along with her plans. Did you hope that she wouldn’t hurt Clary if you sacrificed yourself?”

Simon doesn’t answer. He had thought, maybe quite ridiculously, that if he managed to get Camille away from Clary, he would gain his friend back. It had been stupid, and quite frankly idiotic of him, but he had felt abandoned by Clary after the whole ordeal. When she had brought him back to the Institute, she had been frantic in learning everything about this new world. She had seemed relieved when he had left, and that had stung. So maybe he had both wanted to protect her and to gain back her attention. It had worked, he guesses.

“You are loyal, Simon,” Magnus says gently. "Loyal, smart, and young. Camille has always liked to surround herself with people that fit that profile. You were definitely not an impulse decision.”

Strangely enough, this makes him feel better about his role in this whole mess. Maybe he isn’t quite so useless.

“Alright now, back inside. I have other things to do, and you’ll be a suitable assistant.”

The command is clear in Magnus' voice but Simon doesn’t mind it. He is eager to learn.

---

“What do you mean, you were friends with my father?” Clary is outraged, and she doesn’t even try to hide it. “How could you hide this from me?”

She is standing up now, none of the tired sadness present on her angry face. She is ablaze with her anger. This is yet another person who has lied to her, who has hidden information from her and who is just now coming clean about it. She is tired of learning about all of those past events that are impacting her life ever since she was little. She should have known all of this when she was young, not only now. She isn’t angry, she is furious.

“Clary, your mother asked me not to tell you. I thought it was because she didn’t want to talk about Valentine, but clearly she just wanted to keep the secret so she could… I don’t know, blame me, turn you against the shadowhunters? I’m not exactly sure why she did what she did, but I’ve wanted to tell you for a long time.”

“Then why didn’t you?” She crosses her arms, trying to calm herself down. She can feel her powers boiling inside of her, begging to be let out. “You could have told me any time we were alone!”

“Would you have believed me back then?"

She deflates slightly when he says this. She wouldn’t have. After all, she still has a hard time coming to terms with everything that’s happening right now. So maybe he has a point in saying this. Still, she is angry anyway.

“How could you have been friends with someone like him?” Her voice is full of disgust when she says this. “He is a genocidal maniac! He wants to kill all Shadow People!”

“I didn’t realize at first. We were parabatai, Clary, he was my best friend, my brother. He was everything to me, and so was your mother. I thought it was the same for him. But then…” He sighs heavily and shifts slightly with a wince. “Then he thought your mother and I were having an affair.”

Clary can’t help it now, she has to listen. There is so much sorrow in Luke’s voice as he recounts the story of her parents, of how he was turned into a werewolf, how Jocelyn left Valentine…

“I guess they must have planned this ahead," he ends his tales with a shake of his head. “They fooled me, and everyone else, and Jocelyn took the cup. They must have wanted to wait until you were old enough to be a proper soldier in their war, to make you feel like the Shadow people had taken something from you… I can’t say anything for sure, but if I can still say I understood them, then I think it must be something like this. I bet they didn’t expect you to actually fight back though. And they are certainly not ready for the new powerful you.”

“Meliorn said they are coming to get me," she sits down next to him as she says this. She isn’t angry anymore, at least not against him. “Do you think they have a chance of winning?”

“What, when you have Magnus Bane and Ragnor Fell insisting on teaching you?” He smiles and caresses her cheek lightly in a fatherly gesture. “You have the New York Pack with you, Clary. No one is going to be able to hurt you anymore.”

She nods slightly. “Right... I'm lucky to be here, isn’t it? If I hadn’t been scared of my mom… of Jocelyn, I mean, I wouldn’t be here. I wonder if I would have turned like them if I had followed her. She was so terrible, you know? That night. She looked… She looked awful, and so angry… I thought she was going to kill me.”

“You did the right thing, running away. And somehow, it all worked out when you were found by Isabelle Lightwood.” He hugs her and she lets him, clinging onto him lightly. This is the embrace of a father, of her father. “If it can help put your mind to rest, I know for a fact you would never be like them. You are kind, and loving. You are fierce and angry, yes, but you have an open heart Clary. You love people, and you hate prejudice. I am so, so proud of the young woman you are.”

His speech makes tears shine in her eyes and she hugs him tighter, mindful of his wound. “Thank you,” she whispers quietly.

They stay like this for a few moments, quiet and gentle. She has got her dad back, and now she feels stronger than ever. She’s going to learn her powers, and she is going to defend her family. No one, not even Jocelyn and Valentine Morgenstern, whom she refuses to call her parents, will stop her. But first, she has something to ask Luke, one last little thing.

“You said my mother had the Cup, right? Why does she think Dot stole it?”

“I never saw the Cup,” Luke answers with a sigh. “Jocelyn hid it before I found her again. Your mother had something special about her though, something most Shadowhunters don’t have anymore. Sometimes, Nephilim are born with special abilities...”

And we don’t even know the half of it, Clary thinks. After all, wasn’t she a Nephilim too? And she was apparently able to be liquid fire…

“What could she do?”

“It didn’t happen a lot, she wasn't sure of how to control it, but she was able to put real objects in paper, and to make them stay inside this, as if they had always been drawing. I’m guessing she might have hidden it that way. I can’t say where it is for sure though, but well.”

Clary frowns, trying to remember if she had ever seen the drawing of a cup around the apartment. There is nothing that comes to mind, nothing that Clary can remember being particularly important to her mother. Well, there had been those tarot cards that she had used a few times to tell Clary her future and that she had always refused to land to anyone…

“Oh my god,” she gasps as she realizes. "We have the Cup already!”

---

Ragnor is an interesting warlock, there is no doubt to that. Alec likes him, he thinks, and he finds his and Magnus’ friendship amusing to no end. He would never have guessed that Magnus was friend with a somewhat grumpy, definitely annoyed by the world, warlock with the appearance of a man in his early forties, who is clearly a recluse, but it makes sense now. Ragnor is more biting than his British-looking appearance lets on.

“So you see,” Ragnor is saying, "for now the theory is that the runes shadowhunters apply on themselves are some sort of binding agents that stifle your powers. Your deruning stop that stifling.”

“There hasn’t be any case of deruned Nephilim with powers previously though,” Alec says as he watches Eve kicking a punching ball. “I would have known if it was the case. My siblings researched it too, to some extent.”

“I think it has to do with your running into danger immediately after. There are also other factors to consider of course. You wanted to protect Eve, you were close to dying, you believed yourself alone… If your unconscious decided to free those powers at that moment, it would be logical that it was simply your overall need to protect.”

“So Clary’s… awakening," Alec hesitates a bit on the word, “would be coming from that same perspective? She was trying to protect her friend, Simon, when her rune burnt off.”

“It would go with the theory, yes. There is also the fact that she had only one rune, and had not been raised within Shadowhunter society. She saw you have powers, and it’s possible that some part of her saw herself in you. When she needed it, she anchored herself to that part, and she used her powers too. For now, the clear inciting incident was the need to protect in both of your cases.”

Alec nods. It makes sense, and he can get behind this specific theory. He doesn’t think he is quite special in any amazing way; for now, the only thing that sets him apart is his abilities, but Clary has powers too, and he is pretty sure that, were they to be deruned, Izzy and Jace would as well. He likes it better that way. He stands out enough already by being trans, not to mention the whole not-so-secretly in love with the High Warlock of Brooklyn. Being even more different frightens him.

“Why was my parabatai bond with my sister not affected?”

Ragnor shrugs slightly. "Again, those are purely theories, but I think the bond between you two linked your two souls to the point where your magics are fused. Your deruning shifted the nature of the bond, but it didn’t break it. It would be interesting to see what would happen were she to be deruned as well.”

“No,” he answers a bit sharply. "She is happy as a Shadowhunter.”

“I wasn’t saying she should be deruned," Ragnor defends himself in a calm tone. “Merely saying it would be interesting. Of course, it is hers or the Clave’s choice, and I would never ask for someone to be deruned. I have heard of how painful it is.”

More painful than Alec had ever imagined. He has been thinking back to it, since Clary burnt off on her own her iratze. Would doing it by his own choice have hurt less? Would it have been a relief, if he had known what he knows now? Would he have chosen to do it?

He has been growing angry, angrier than he has been in years. He had suffered to serve the Clave, to serve an organization who, apparently, lied to every single of their people. He doubted the Inquisitor or the Consul knew about this, but it was a secret that had been buried for centuries. The Silent Brothers might know of it, and maybe the Iron Sisters.

“Wait,” he frowned deeply as a thought occured to him. “If the Mortal Cup can turn mundanes into Nephilim the way it’s said to be able to, does that mean mundane also have powers?”

Ragnor takes a few seconds to think about it. They both look at Eve, who is hitting the punching bag furiously, which means that it is lightly swinging. Alec can see the little magical impulses she gives with each swing, but he doesn’t say anything. She is having fun, judging by the wide smile on her face, and he doesn’t want to take that from her.

“Maybe,” Ragnor answers finally. "But I would bet that it’s not active the way Nephilim’s or warlock’s magics are. After all, werewolves and vampires are mundane infected with a demonic disease, and neither of them have strong abilities. The Mortal Cup might simply awaken the magic present in the mundane blood.”

“If they can withstand it." Alec has heard of people misusing the cup, and mundanes being killed by drinking from it.

“If they can, yes.” Ragnor answers somberly.

“Do you think—“

A loud noise interrupts their conversation, and Alec turns back to Eve. Her hands are flashing a bright purple, as if enveloped in fire, and she has just broken in half the punching ball. She didn’t just break it, she exploded it. Remnants of it are falling everywhere around her as she grins wildly. For an instant, she feels extremely different from any warlocks Alec has ever seen. There is something truly different about her.

---

The water glides smoothly under the large ship and Jocelyn paces the length of it. She has been doing this for the last few hours. The nearest they get to New York, the more restless she becomes. Clarissa is there. Jocelyn had gone back to their apartment with the help of their pet warlock, a despicable thing apparently named Elliot. He’s useful, if nothing else. She had gotten some of Clary’s clothes there, and she had tracked her back to the New York Institute.

“We’ll have her with us soon enough, my love.” Valentine wraps his arms around her and holds her tightly against himself.

She has missed him so much. Eighteen years, they have been separated, except for a yearly visit. It had been necessary, to maintain the cover that he was dead. The Clave and the downworlders won’t be expecting them this time. This time, they’ll have the advantage. They already have people working for them from Alicante. From now on, it’s a smooth sailing. Soon, they’ll have the Shadow World at their feet, and Clarissa by their side.

“I know,” Jocelyn says, nestling in the arms of the man she loves. “But she is with the Clave. Who knows what they’ll have told her about us. We haven’t had a chance to show her the truth yet.”

“We’ll have all the time of the world when she is with us and we have the Cup back. Don’t fret, Jocelyn.”

She isn’t fretting. She knows that Clary will join their side, one day or the other. She is her daughter, and Valentine’s. But there is a tiny part of Jocelyn that worries still. She hasn’t told Valentine about Clary dating women. Clearly, Magnus Bane had tempered with her mind and had perverted her when she had him remove her memories, but she wonders how they can remove it, so that Clary will continue the Morgenstern lineage.

Soon, they will be in New York. And soon, they will get their daughter back. And then… They will be a family, finally, and they will rule the Shadow World.

Chapter Text

The tarot cards are messily laid out on the table of the kitchen, and Alec doesn’t see anything special about them. Everyone living here for the moment, and Simon, is currently gathered around the table and watching the debacle happening. Clary is rummaging through them though, muttering to herself as she lifts them one by one. Six of Swords, Death, King of Pentacles… All of them are rejected until Clary shouts of joy. She had run out of Luke’s bedroom half an hour ago, blabbering on about the Mortal Cup and its location, and she had immediately dived back into her own bedroom to get her old bag.

“I knew it was weird that Jocelyn would never let anyone do a reading with those,” she says as she slams the Ace of Cups on the top of the pile. “Sometimes she would take them out and look at them like they were precious, but I always thought they were just some weird family heirloom!”

Alec notices the way “Jocelyn" as replaced "mom” in Clary’s language. It saddens him a bit, to see this young woman having made a choice to no longer call the mother who raised her her mother, but he understands. It had taken him some time to go back to calling Maryse his mother initially, and he hasn’t called Robert his father in years. It had taken a split second for the decision to be made in his brain; one second Robert Lightwood had been “dad,” a beloved father whom Alec had trusted, the next he had been Head of the New York Institute Robert Lightwood, hierarchical superior.

He pulls himself back to the present when Ragnor picks up the card and examines it.

“There is an enchantment on this card, but it’s not warlock or Seelie magic.”

“No,” Clary exclaims and she finally explains herself. “Luke told me my mother had a sort of gift, and she could put objects into paper or… something, I’m not exactly sure what it is or how it works, but since she has it and she still has her runes — I think? I’m pretty sure she does — and I have powers I should be able to do it right? I mean it’s not a a—“

“It’s a safe sounding plan, Clary. " Simon stops her in her tracks and puts a hand over her shoulder, smiling reassuringly.

Alec sees the similarity in the two more and more. They both have a tendency to over complicate matters in their minds, but they have a nice balance with each other. Clary is calmer, but angrier, while Simon is all nerves without the rage. They are like siblings, despite their many differences. Even if the vampire is slightly annoying, Alec appreciates his presence simply because it means Clary has an anchor. He knows how important that is.

“I’ve no idea how I’m supposed to do this though, or how I can take it out of there!”

“Well now,” Ragnor smiles at this. "This is why I have come here, after all. Magical training.”

“So you’ll help me take it out of here?"

“First, you’ll have to learn how to control your powers. We’ll start with that and build on the foundations.”

Alec leans forward, interested. If Clary can learn, does this mean he can as well?

“I’ll start yours and Alec's training this afternoon. Until then I suggest you two train at hand combat for a bit. The Morgensterns are going to be here soon and it’s better to have no bad surprise on the battlefield.”

Ragnor finishes talking with a little decisive nod at the end, clearly not expecting an answer from them. Alec looks at Magnus, who shrugs and nods as well, a clear Better to go along with this plan than to fight it written on his face. It annoys Alec a bit; he had wanted to talk with Magnus, both about Eve and about himself. Well. More exactly, about Magnus’ and his relationship. He had hoped they could talk more about it, explain themselves and their way of seeing each other. He wants to make everything clear, even if it’s not what he wants to hear. He would rather know right away if Magnus doesn’t feel anything beyond friendship than hope and misread every little interaction they have.

“Let’s start the training then,” he sighs as he stands back up. “Simon, you’re coming too. We’ll find a way to make you useful too.”

The vampire nods eagerly. They are all so eager to fight, to prove their valor… Alec is tired just thinking about it, even if he loves the thrill of the hunt. He loves what it means to hunt, to kill demons; his city is a bit more protected, his family is a bit safer, and he has a sense of purpose brought to him. But he doesn’t like it more than necessary. He does his duty and that’s it. But he sees some part of himself in Simon and Clary’s concealed excitement.

Training them might not be the easiest, but they are at least willing.

---

Clary’s hair sticks to her skin as she moves back, sweat slowly trickling down into her neck. Her arms hurt and she is already sore all over, but Alec is relentless as he trains Simon and her.

“Can’t we just take a break?” Simon complains next to her. He’s sore too, but he hasn’t started sweating yet. Undead advantage she imagines.

“We have started barely thirty minutes ago.” Alec rolls his eyes at them. “If you want to last in our world, you need to be able to fight.”

“You’ve been making us hit the same punching ball for twenty minutes,” Clary protests. “How are we supposed to get better if we don’t do different things?”

Alec shakes his head and sighs a bit. He’s stubborn, she can tell, but she is far more stubborn than anyone else. Her mother used to say she was just like her father in this way, but now the thought disgusts her. She is her own person, and she will fight to show she is nothing like her parents.

“Alright then, noodle arms,” Alec shrugs and tosses her a training stick. “You are moving on to the next step. Let’s see how you do.”

She catches the stick with an offended look towards him. Noodle arms, really? She’s got some muscles! But well. When she looks at him, she can tell there is a lot more to him. She remembers Izzy, the strength of the training she had started with her... so, maybe Clary doesn’t have as much muscle as the average person in her crazy new life. She still has more than Simon though, so that’s already that.

It becomes obvious how strong Alec is when she starts sparring with him properly. She can see he is holding back, but she throws everything into the fight. She wants to prove that she can do this.

She matches some of his hits pretty well, but there are many small bruises that are going to bloom on her arms and legs. Alec still manages to teach her, telling her how to counteract attacks and making sure that Simon is listening as well. He is a strict instructor, but when he finally turns his full attention to Simon and starts training him, she feels like she has a better understanding on how to fight. She won’t be sore for nothing, at least.

“You’ve got to stay on your side,” Alec is saying as she watches them.

Ragnor walks in then, having taken off the dark green long vest he had been wearing previously. His clothes are startlingly different from Alec’s; where the younger man is wearing sweatpants and a light black T-shirt, the warlock has a dark green shirt that stays within the range of colors Clary has seen him wear, with linen dark pants.

Overall, Clary appreciates the aesthetic going there, but she wonders how practical it can all be when fighting. She is starting to understand that in their world, except for Izzy, the aesthetic rarely matters, only the practical is of use.

“Let’s start with the magical training then, you’ve made them sweat enough I think Alexander.” Ragnor smiles as he says this and Alec chuckles slightly.

“Should I go?” Simon asks this hesitantly, stepping towards the door of the room.

“Have you mastered your speed or encanto yet?” Ragnor looks at Simon a bit skeptically as he asks this.

The long pause that follows tells everyone in the room what they need to know. Clary smiles as her friend just shrugs and comes to sit besides her while Ragnor and Alec talk quietly.

“My arms are sore already, how’s that possible?” Simon whines as he rubs his shoulder where he got hit last.

“Don’t talk to me about your arms, even my knees are sore,” she complains back.

“This crazy world of yours, well ours I guess, I think it’s trying to kill us.”

She laughs, a bit bitter but mostly amused by her best friend. “Yeah, I’m pretty sure it is! Even my mom is trying to.”

He sighs and wraps an arm around her. She lets him hug her, staying against him wordlessly. It’s so nice to be with him here. She’s sorry that he is a vampire now, and she wants to have a talk with him about it at some point, but she’s so happy that he is in this with her.

“Alright, the three of you, I’m starting you on some meditation exercise.”

She looks at Ragnor with surprise. Meditation? Aren’t they supposed to learn how to use their powers, how to fight with them and how to defend themselves?

“You’ll get nowhere if you don’t learn to empty your mind.” He says this gently, but she hears the steel in his voice.

“I take it back,” Simon mutters next to her. “This isn’t crazy at all, this is the same thing as in every movie with power ever.”

She laughs at this, and he grins too. Alec shakes his head next to them, but she can see the smile on his face. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll be alright.

---

The Institute is never quiet. There is always someone walking by, someone shouting to someone else, the smell of sweaty bodies after a hunt or a training… It’s something Izzy loves. She loves this busy mess, the way everything feels slightly chaotic and yet… there is an harmony here that she can’t find elsewhere. Isabelle Lightwood was born to be a soldier, and she knows it. She happily leaves leadership to her brother and mother; she’s happy running in the streets, covered in sweat and ichor, with her whip coiled around her wrist.

“Focus, Isabelle,” Hodge scolds, a seraph sword in his hands. “You can’t be performing at your best if you are not paying attention to your surroundings.”

He says this, but he hasn't managed to touch her even once since they started twenty minutes ago. She has made sure she could keep up with Jace, that her skills matched his as much as she could, and everyone knows Jace is the best warrior of the Institute. There are even rumors he is the best Shadowhunter of his generation.

“I don’t need that,” she shrugs, a bit arrogant.

“Don’t you?”

His hands move in a blur, and the sword falls over her in an instant. There is no fear in her, she knows his strengths and his weaknesses as well as he knows hers. She’s been changing lately though, ever since Alec left the Institute. First there had been the uncontrollable anger, but now… Now she’s calm.

Her hands grip the blade tightly, and she feels the relieving pain of the small incisions that are being made on her palms. Hodge seems startled by that and he steps back, letting the sword fall away from her. It’s the first time she has ever listened to such an impulsive decision, and it feels right, in such a strange way. Yes, there is the pain, sharp and bright, but the relief of surprising someone who thought they knew her perfectly is the sweetest thing. The astounded look in the Institute’s weapon master’s eyes, the way he evaluates her for the first time in year… The rush of adrenalin in her body is amazing.

She takes advantage of his surprise to attack. Her whip coils around his wrist and sends his blade flying away. There is blood slowly tainting her end of the whip, but she doesn’t care. It becomes a staff right as Hodge comes back to his sense and starts to defend himself. He’s good, but right now she’s better. Her hits are powerful and precise; those he manages to block still send him moving back. She is relentless now. It’s thrilling to be winning so easily.

“Izzy!”

Jace’s voice at the entrance of the training room distracts her and she steps back. Only now does she realize how much she has been advancing, how little chance Hodge had of getting away from her hits. He is backed almost completely against the further wall and he has given up on blocking her staff; he had merely been trying to avoid it for the last few seconds.

“Sorry,” she apologizes, a bit toneless. She doesn’t really care, in the end. Hodge has never been her favorite sparring partner.

“What’s going on?” She asks this as she turns to her brother, putting on a light sweater over her tank top. Her hair, drawn up into a ponytail, gently falls back down in her neck and she shivers. She is oversensitive at the moment, for some reason.

“Some unusual demonic activity was recorded this morning, around Brooklyn. Our team is being sent to investigate.”

“Our team? It’s only the two of us now, there isn’t Alec anymore. Are we getting someone new to replace him?”

“Well…” Jace seems a bit uncomfortable, which is not a look she would ever think he would have. “Sort of.”

“Sort of? Are we getting someone new or not?"

“It’s not really anyone new, but you aren't going to like it.”

She frowns. She gets along well enough with most of the Institute, except a few ones who feel threatened by how much better than them she is. There is really no one she would hate to fight with, if needs be. She has done it before, hunting in teams other than her usual one, which had been Alec, Jace and her. It’s not her favorite way of hunting, but she doesn’t have much of a choice anymore. At least she still has Jace.

“Alright? Who is it then?"

“I’ll be the one coming with you, Isabelle."

The voice of her mother startles her. Maryse hasn’t been in the field for years. But as she looks at her, Izzy can see ow battle ready she is. At her hips hangs her imposing battle axe and Izzy swallows dryly. It’s the first time she’ll be hunting with her mother. Jace wasn’t wrong; she doesn’t like it. It’s strange that Maryse is the one replacing Alec for this mission. But then… At least it stays within their family. And Izzy doesn’t think she would want anyone else with them. Jace said it had been in Brooklyn, and maybe they can all stop to see Alec afterwards. She knows her mother has been hesitating to go see him since their talk, so it would be a good opportunity.

“That was some good training right there," Maryse comments calmly. “Are your hands alright?”

Izzy had forgotten the cuts on her hands and she quickly looks them over, ready to grab a stele to activate her iratze. Her palms are completely empty of any blood or scar. Her blood still stains her whip, so she knows she didn’t dream the cuts. Still, her hands are spotless.

She exchanges a look with her brother and mother, startled. Why did it heal itself without her runes being activated?

---

Magnus has removed himself from the training of Alexander and Clary. For now, it’s better if he doesn’t get involved in it. He isn’t sure how all those changes have affected his own life yet, and that is without considering Eve. His daughter. He has decided to take her outside today. He can’t keep her cooped inside for too long; she is still a child and children like running around and playing. He would have taken her somewhere else, somewhere deep in a forest through a portal maybe, but it’s good for her to be around people other than himself and the people around him. She is going to grow up too sheltered otherwise.

She had been asking to go to mundane school before Alexander came around, but she hasn’t started in a while. Not since her visions have started, not since they have extended their family ever so slightly. Maybe once this whole mess with the Circle is over, really over, he can see if she still wants that. For now, it’s too dangerous. There is no school for warlock children, although there are a few across the countries for Shadow children. That might be better. There would be more protection there. But it would also be a boarding school; they are all deep in the countryside, away from mundanes. Magnus isn’t sure either Eve or himself are ready for this.

“Magnus!” The little girl comes running towards him. She has her glamour on, but her smile is so bright he can almost see the golden sparkles on her cheeks. It’s good to see her so happy. “Look!”

She is holding flowers, ones not native to the area and that he knows aren’t flowering at this time of the year. The black raspberry and the bloodroot flowers are beautiful, almost unnaturally so, and that’s when he notices it. She’s using her magic for this, channelling it through her hands to make them bloom for him. There is nothing showing that she is using magic though, no light, no sparkle, nothing. Without being paying attention, he would not be able to notice it. She’s wrapped time around her fingers, so that the flowers bloom completely naturally, but three months later than they are supposed to.

He has no idea how she does it.

“They are beautiful sweetheart," he finally answers, smiling. “Where did you get those flowers?”

She shrugs and points to a point of the park where other flowers bloom. There is a small wooden panel presenting all the times of flowers that can bloom in the park, and he suspects some of those are the ones he is being presented with right now. They are delicate flowers, but when he takes them in his hand he can tell they are much stronger than any other flowers that has bloomed from the ground.

“The sign said they bloom around May, but when I asked the flowers if they could give me some for you, they were there! They are good for healing and for protection!”

She smiles proudly and he chuckles slightly. Of course she paid attention to what he had said around the loft. She is much smarter than she lets on, and much quieter than any other children he has met. Maybe he just thinks that because she’s his kid, but she is special, that’s for sure. The very proof of it is in his hand. The flowers are leaking residual magic, but it’s such a slow trickle, it feels almost natural.

“Did anyone see you talking with the plants?"

She shakes her head. “No! I was really careful. You said people here don’t understand our magic, so I think they can’t talk with plants either. It’s a bit sad no? Can they talk with cats?”

“They can’t either. It is sad, but you know it’s a very special gift to be able to talk with plants and animals Eve. Even I can’t do it.”

“But you talk with the cats on the balcony all the time,” she protests. “When you give them food, and they all come!”

“I don’t,” he says gently, a deep fondness rising inside him as she pouts a bit. “I talk to them. You’ve never told me you could talk with the cats.”

“They are very nice.” She is still pouting and he laughs softly, lifting her in his arms.

“Come on then, let’s go see if the swans around the pond have something to say.”

She starts chattering in his ear about what the flowers had to say, which was, to her own account, not very interesting. He is more concerned with the residual magic of her flowers on his hands, and the new things she can do he discovers everyday. She doesn’t feel like a warlock at the moment. She doesn’t feel half mundane at all. She is no seelie, no werewolf… It would be logical that she is a warlock, with her powers. She certainly doesn’t feel like a Nephilim. But there is something… deeper, about her. He remembers the first time he saw her, the jet black reptilian-like wings that had surrounded her. What is she?

---

The meditation had proven more difficult than Alec had anticipated. He is not used to the exercise of emptying his mind and opening himself to the flow of energy around him. Those vague term that Ragnor had used had made Clary and Simon puff slightly, laughter clear in their eyes. They are much less enjoying themselves now that Ragnor is making them execute tasks like jumping on one foot and touching their ankles while keeping their mind free of any worries. Alec is really trying his hardest, but he can’t help and think back to Izzy. There had been a burning sensation across his palms earlier and he knows it came from her. She isn’t distressed but she isn’t doing extremely well. Her emotions are a jumbled mess; sometimes sadness, sometimes fury, always some sort of garbled pain. She has kept her pain sharp ever since he left, like an anchor to their world. She isn’t doing well and he doesn’t know what to do to help her. She isn’t letting him soothe her through their bond, and she doesn’t stay too much around him alone nowadays.

“Alec, focus,” Ragnor snaps and suddenly Alec realizes there is a green light floating around his hands, slowly melting, almost like a pistachio ice cream left outside.

Clary has a similar ball floating in her hands but she is keeping her eyes on it and there is no melting happening. Simon is still doing physical exercises, but then he is a vampire and not a Nephilim, so his magic is mostly physical.

“Sorry,” he apologizes halfheartedly. “My parabatai bond is making me somewhat distracted.”

“That’s not as much an excuse as you believe,” Ragnor says a bit drily. “Many Shadowhunter have had to survive while their parabatais were in danger. It is important, now more than ever, that you manage to control your bond, to make certain it will not overwhelm you when you will need your focus.”

Even if it displeases him, Alec knows Ragnor is right. It doesn’t stop him from being annoyed. Alec isn’t fourteen anymore, he doesn’t need to be scolded in the nature of his bond to Izzy and how to deal with it. They’ve been linked for almost a decade now, he shouldn’t have trouble with it.

“I know,” he answers with more bite than he intended.

Ragnor sighs. “No, you don’t. You knew how to deal with it when you had the parabatai tune to help you stabilize the bond. This is very different. A timeless magical bond between two beings is extremely difficult to manage. You are very lucky you have the experience with the rune to help you stabilize it. Many warlocks have lost their minds when they accidentally chained themselves to one another through their magic.”

“Warlocks can have parabatais?” He is surprised to hear so, but he is learning everyday that what he was taught of the Shadow World was twisted and mostly untrue. He has so much to learn and so little time.

“It’s not the term we choose for it, not does it often happen purposefully. It is often more intense than a parabatai bond as well, and I can only suspect that this is what yours and Isabelle’s bond will develop into if you two don’t learn to control it well.” He sighs again. “Now, focus back on controlling the orb.”

Alec sighs quietly but follows the instruction. He lets his mind drift back to the calm he had found a bit earlier, before he had started spiraling while thinking about Izzy. Breathing deeply, he concentrates on the melting ball in his hands. It’s dripping green light to the ground, never touching the ground but rather floating around his ankles, slowly creating a ribbon. It moves rapidly and doesn’t engrave him in any way. The fact that it exists annoys him though. Next to him, he can see Clary’s ball is slowly changing colors, green becoming tainted with gold and rising higher in the air. He should be able to do this.

When he finally regains control of his mind, there is almost nothing left of the energy ball in his hands; it’s just a small core of a deep, deep green. It’s all that occupies his mind now, everything else falls to background noises. He isn’t aware of Clary slowly giving back to Ragnor her own ball of magic, or of Simon running through the room, trying to master his speed but hitting the walls instead. Only the small drops of green light matter.

Slowly, they rise back in the air. The ribbon at his feet breaks and comes back up, adding to the core and slowly softening the color. First, it becomes a dark blue, and he can tell that he is the one doing it. His chest takes in deeper breath, as if he is doing that asks a lot of physical effort, and suddenly everything turns the light blue he has already seen his own magic in. The ball is back to its original size, floating in front of Alec’s eyes, and the blue of it lights his face gently. It’s nothing blinding, but it’s definitely enough to allow to see in a semi-dark room. It’s a bloody wonder.

He reaches out and touches the ball almost reverently. It feels so /familiar/. It’s almost startling. The feeling is akin to touching his own hand; this is just an extension of himself now. This is his magic.

“Good,” Ragnor congratulates. "Now, send it back to me, and try to resist when I’ll be making it my own again.”

Alec nods and slowly makes it move through the air, back towards Ragnor. He feels the moment Ragnor starts making it his own again, but he resists. Next to Ragnor, a half golden ball floats and it gives Alec all the strength he needs. If Clary can do this, so can he. He was born a Shadowhunter. He was made to do this, destined to learn about his magic. He will control it.

The ball remains blue.

Chapter Text

The knock at the front door doesn’t even surprise Magnus anymore. He has served himself a drink despite the fact that it’s barely 4 in the afternoon. This day has taken years off his life; if he didn’t happen to be an immortal warlock who couldn’t age, he would swear he has been feeling grey hair coming in.

What does surprise him however is that he swings open the door to reveal Maryse Lightwood, former Circle member and current Head of the New York Institute. Also the mother of the man Magnus is slowly but surely falling in love with. A woman who, last they had seen each other, long before this whole affair, had despised him.

“Maryse,” he says pleasantly. He has manners.

“Mr Bane,” she answers, a bit quieter than what he remembers.

She is still an imposing woman, especially with her axe hanging on her waist, but there is something different about her. Maybe she really suffered from the loss of her son.

“I was hoping to see Alec,” she says a bit uneasy. “Isabelle and Jace told me he would not... mind seeing me.”

“Oh,” is the only answer he can find at first. It’s so unexpected. “Yes, absolutely. Come on in.”

He lets her in and she nods, almost thankful. They are both a bit uncomfortable around each other and she gestures to her axe.

“Do you want me to ...” she gestures slightly, and sighs at her own inadequacy. “Would you rather I put it away while I’m in your home? My daughter has told me you have a no weapon policy, and I would rather respect your wishes.”

He is jumping from surprise to surprise. “Yes, if you don’t mind leaving it next to the door? Alexander can bring his seraph blade inside but he keeps it hidden. I would rather not expose my daughter to any weapon more than necessary.”

“Your daughter.”

She doesn’t look too shocked, Isabelle or Jace must have told her, but it’s almost like she can’t wrap her head around the idea. He had never thought he would ever actually have children either, so he can’t blame her.

Maryse puts down her axe, and suddenly she’s just a woman again. A Shadowhunter, Nephilim woman, but a woman who is coming to see her son. She looks like Alexander, with that same strong stature and rigidity in their posture that Magnus remembers from the first few days of Alec’s stay here.

“Come with me,” he says as he starts walking. “Alexander is training with some friends and acquaintances.”

“Training?” She sounds genuinely surprised this time, and he wonders if she knows about the magic. She’s in for a surprise if she doesn’t.

When they enter, Alexander is playing with Eve, Clary and Simon under the careful gaze of Ragnor. They are playing a game Magnus recognizes from when he was hosting training parties for young warlocks, long ago. It consists of creating a small trail of stars that can follow someone’s every move, no matter what they do. Simon has clearly been chosen as the subject to be followed, and Eve’s stars follow him brightly. Clary’s stars, which he identifies with their orange shade, are wrapped around the vampire’s right wrist, which isn’t cheating, but is definitely slightly left of the rules. Alexander’s stars are a few paces to slow, but they are slowly catching up, until they completely disappear.

“Mom?”

Magnus realizes then that Alexander has noticed their presence, and it explains why his stars disappeared. The young Nephilim is staring at his mother wide eyed, like he doesn’t really believe she is there.

---

The end of afternoon sunlight is blinding as Alec sits down with his mother on the balcony. He had excused himself from the training and when Magnus asked him if he was alright, he had nodded.

“It’s only my mother,” he whispered, and daringly squeezed Magnus’ hand. “And I know you’ll be there if something goes wrong for me.”

Magnus simply acquiesced, but there had been a soft smile in his eyes . “Of course, Alexander. Use the balcony, you’ll have some privacy there.”

Alexander thanked him, and now he is sitting across his mother.

“It’s so good to see you, Alec," she smiles and takes his hand, squeezing it. “You’ve grown even more now that you are… well, out of the Institute.”

“It’s good to see you too, mom," he says and squeezes her hand. “Izzy says you’ve been really busy since I left?”

She nods and gives him a quick rundown of what happened while he was gone. He listens attentively to her account of the Clave’s overbearing presence, of the regular visits of Clave envoys. The Institute seems to function as well as it did when he was there, and no one has said anything about him to Maryse, but he isn’t too surprised. Most people probably figured it out, but they were loyal to the Lightwood. At least under his mother.

“You look so good Alexander," Maryse whispers at the end, and the tears that shone in her eyes before they started talking are falling on her cheeks. “I’m so happy to know you’re happy here, even if I had never envisioned that it would be how you would grow up in our world…”

“I am happy here,” he affirms and comes to sit closer. “Magnus is wonderful, and Eve… She is an amazing kid. They have both been teaching me more about the Shadow World, more about the Shadow People than I ever thought possible.”

She hugs her son and smiles, caressing his cheek tenderly. “You are better than I ever was, my Alec. I am so proud to be your mother. You are so strong…”

Hearing those words from her, even though he had known she thought them, is definitely relieving. He hugs her tightly and kisses the top of her head. “Thank you, mother,” he whispers.

After a long moment of silence during which they soak in the other presence’s, Alec feels his mother’s gentle gaze turn into a stare to his hands.

“I saw you practicing magic," she says, her tone full of confusion and disbelief. “Did you… Is there something…”

She can’t even finish her sentence and he sighs gently. “No, mother, there is nothing wrong with me. And I promise, this is totally normal. I’m not the only one.”

For a long hour, he explains and demonstrates. He doesn’t control his magic very well yet, but he can make the stars again, can bring in the wonder he had seen shine in Simon’s eyes the first time Clary and himself had managed to create the stars around him. His mother looks scared at first, but when he explains it, when he tells her what Magnus and Ragnor have told him, he sees the wonder in her eyes. He sees that joy, nameless and pure, as he tells her this is what Nephilim were meant to be.

“You are such a wonder, my son." She smiles softly and he answers her smile easily. It’s so much easier to smile here than it ever was in the Institute. “I hate that you can’t be with me anymore, but I see you’re happier here, with Magnus Bane and your daughter.”

“She’s his daughter,” he attempts to correct but she fixes him sternly.

“Don’t tell me you don’t love the both of them. I saw you and Magnus earlier. This was never what I envisioned for you when I gave birth, but… You are happy. You are happy, and loved, and you have a home. I don’t think I could ask the Angels for anything more.”

Hearing her say this makes everything that is happening so much more easier to bear. He hadn’t realized, how much a toll it had taken on him to deal with all of this. That she finds that he has a good life, even away from the Sahdowhunters’ way of life, is enough for him to fully accept his new life as his normal.

“I wonder though,” she continues, looking more serious. “Did you put a healing spell on Izzy, or something like that?”

“Not that I’m aware of? I can't really cast spells, this far. Nephilim have a much more…” he tries to remember what word Ragnor used earlier, but settles for a more casual wording when he can’t. “A less structured magic than warlocks, apparently. Probably because we aren’t half angels the way warlocks are half demons. Why?”

“Your sister healed herself this morning, after training.”

It comes back to Alec then, the searing pain in his hands that had disappeared in an instant. “She cut herself, and it disappeared, didn’t it?”

Maryse nods. “Have you had that happen before?"

“Not on me, but Clary has done that yesterday, though in different circumstances.”

“Didn’t you say that only runeless Nephilim could use their magic?”

Alec sighs and nods. “As far as I understand it, yes. You would have to ask Magnus or Ragnor, put even them aren’t fully sure of how it… well, /we/ work. Maybe Izzy is doing something like Clary did, slowly awakening her powers… Did any of her runes disappear?”

His mother takes a few second to think before shaking her head. “Not as far as I know, but well. You’re still her parabatai.”

Alec can tell that she doesn't want to say the /you know her better than I do/, but her eyes say it. She’s right though, he probably does. They have both changed so much in the last few weeks though, and their bond has developed beyond what it was before. He sometimes doesn’t know how to deal with his own self, but for Izzy he’ll try. For his sister and parabatai, he’ll always try.

---

They have been hunting in Brooklyn for at least two hours now and still no sign of what could have triggered the Institute’s alarms for high demonic activity. Isabelle is starting to be really antsy now. First, she let her mother go see Alec alone, which is what they agreed but also annoys her, and now this aimless hunt. She has been separated from Alec for so long now, staying away from him with their bonds so… volatile, that it eats at her. She has started to feel better lately, feel like she might get used to this new reality, but her healing of this morning is putting that in new perspective.

“This is useless,” she sighs as she stops, Jace a few paces in front of her. “There isn’t any demons around here that could have triggered the alarms.”

“Could be a cluster underneath,” her brother says, but even him doesn’t look like he believes it. He shrugs when she gives him a stern look. “Hey I’m just saying, it’s a possibility.”

“None of the patrols in the area noticed anything this morning when they were here, nor underneath the city. We are wasting our time right now.”

“Should we go back to the Institute then? Maryse is still at Magnus’ I think, so there is no one for us to report to for now.”

Izzy sighs again. Jace is much better at keeping a cool head than she is. He has been suffering lately too, and she hasn’t paid him any attention.

“Let’s get a coffee first, there must be a mundane shop nearby that has worthwhile drinks.”

She wants to repair the relationships she has hurt during that month of anger away from Alec. This might be a good start.

They settle in a cozy nook of the coffee shop, a large window overlooking the street below. She likes the area of this shop; half of it is a bookshop downstairs and the other half a coffee shop. Alec would like it here, and she feels more at peace from knowing this. The bond between them is still here, and she needs to stop doubting it. It may have changed, but they are still parabatais.

“How are you doing?” Izzy feels stupid, asking him that. It’s such a mundane question.

He stares at her for a second or two, almost like he is trying to understand if she’s serious. When he realizes she is, he drinks some of his coffee and shrugs.

“It’s a bit weird, being at the Institute with all we know now. There is Alec at Magnus’, and then Clary... and everything else. Something is telling me it’s not my place to be in the Institute anymore but I don’t have anywhere else to be.”

She had not been expecting that, but well. She does agree with everything he is saying.

“You too then? I can’t believe everything that we learned in the past two weeks.”

“And here we thought we were the ones giving Clary the shock of her life with the discovery of our world.” He smiles humorlessly and turns his eyes back to the street. “Do you ever wonder how can the mundanes be so oblivious to everything that happens around them?”

Izzy hasn’t ever thought about that. Mundanes aren’t like Nephilim or Downworlders— Shadow People, she corrects herself. They are so... mundane. And boring.

Her brother chuckles a bit when he tells her. “Angels forbid you’re ever deruned and forced to live life as a mundane.”

“I wouldn’t.” She continues at his questioning look. “Live like a mundane I mean. If Alec has magic, then so do we. If I were deruned, I would try to master it, like he does. Would you give up fighting and hunting demons if you were deruned?”

His answer is immediate. “No. I couldn’t.”

“It’s our whole life,” she says as she finishes her coffee. “I don’t think I would survive being separated from the Shadow World.”

There is a sadness in her voice she doesn’t understand, but she doesn’t try to, and neither does Jace. They stay silent, gloom settling over them as they finish their coffees. They might get deruned if it becomes known they are in contact with Alec, who has become a forbidden topic in Alicante and everywhere else. Everyone knows of the trans Lightwood who defied the Clave by staying a Shadowhunter, rather than simply demanding to be deruned when he had known. Izzy knows that’s usually what happens with Nephilim that don’t conform to what the Clave wants; they are made to ask to be deruned.

Alec’s trial was one of the first big public one. It had also been the first from such a strong family as theirs. The Lightwoods have been a respected Shadowhunter family for many centuries, always at the heart of the Clave. Izzy’s uncle had demanded to be deruned when he had been in his twenties, but she has never asked the reason to her mother. Had Maxwell Trueblood been in a situation similar to Alec’s? And if that was the case, he had chosen the easy option by leaving without making a spectacle.

They go back to the Institute in silence as well, re-activating their glamor and taking off the anti-tracking tune they had activated before stopping at the coffee shop. She lets Jace text their mother that they are on their way back, but she is already back there and working again. No more excuse to go see Alec today. She’ll try to text him soon.

When they arrive at the Institute, everything is still. There is none of the flutter they are used to and the door of their mother’s office is open. The room is empty and they frown. Emptiness greets them in the main war room as well, and they shift, uneasy. Jace reaches for his sword, sliding it halfway out of its sheath, and she shifts her bracelet into a staff form.

Chatter slowly rise from the larger training room as they approach it.The room doubles as a venue and official meeting area whenever needed, but it doesn’t happen often.

She exchanges a look with Jace and waits for his nod to push the door open with him. They stumble in the room with their weapons drawn, and an assembly of shadowhunters greet them.

At the head of it, their mother is standing next to a blonde woman, maybe a few years older than them. She bears the Clave’s education, her back straight and her hands tied behind her back. The proper standing of a high ranked, the one Alec had learnt from a young age and Jace and Isabelle had always scorned.

“Isabelle Lightwood and Jace Wayland,” the woman says without her face moving much. “Take a seat and do not disturb the assembly more.”

“Not until you tell us who you are and why you are here,” Jace answers, full of bite.

Next to the woman, Maryse sighs a bit but doesn’t say anything. She must not like the woman much, or not trust her in any way, because otherwise she would have stepped in.

“Lydia Branwell, Head of the New York Institute. Now, if you don’t want to be written up for disobeying a superior officer, I suggest you sit down and be quiet.”

Izzy looks at her mother, who gives her the tiniest nod possible, and she pushes Jace to an empty seat. What the hell is happening?

---

Simon pants as he finally sits down. Being chased by tiny stars made of magic was fun, but running at vamp speed isn’t something he is used to just yet. Plus, every time one of the tiny stars catches up to him, he gets a little static shock.

“Are you alright?”

It’s the little warlock, Eve, who is standing in front of him. Instinctively, he smiles. He likes children, they are always smarter than they are given credit for.

“Yes, totally fine. Just catching my breath and we can go for another round.”

She giggles a bit at the goofy smile she gives him and he feels a bit proud of himself. The little girl hasn’t been the most expressive since Alec left. He doesn’t have the whole story, but he is pretty sure she sees him as a bit of a father, and he sure acts that way around her. So Simon’s pretty happy that he managed to make Eve smile.

“You’re too tired! Even vampires need to rest.” She sits across from him and turns back more serious. “I didn’t see you before. But now, you’re everywhere with Clary. Do you know why?”

Either she’s speaking in riddles and doesn’t actually want an answer from him, or her inquisitive tone means that she is waiting for him to give a reason. He would, but he has no idea what she is talking about. He can hazard a few guesses though, attempt to answer her question even partially.

“Well, Clary is my best friend, so wherever she goes I go, and vice versa. I can’t say why you couldn’t see me before though. Where did you see Clary?”

With all the impetuosity of an eight year old, she points to her head. “In my dreams! I saw her with Magnus and Alec. They were fighting the bad guys, and Clary was really sad.”

“Why was she sad in your dreams?” He doesn’t think about the prophetic dreams, forces himself not to. Everything is already crazy, what’s one kid who can see the future?

“I don’t know, but I think it’s because the other lady looked a lot like her.”

“Do you mean it was her mother?”

The girl physically recoils at the word mother. She looks upset suddenly, on the edge of tears, and she stands up without answering Simon.

“Eve?” Clary asks this as the little girl is running out of the room, probably to either Alec or Magnus. “Simon what did you tell her?”

“Hey, I did nothing,” he defends himself standing up. “She was telling me about her dream where she saw you and a woman who looked like you, and when I asked if it was your mother she got upset!”

Clary frowns. “You say she was upset when you talked about my mother?”

“Maybe it wasn’t your mother she was reacting too, it could very well have been just the word mother she was reacting to. I don’t think she knows who Jocelyn is, so I doubt she would react to her this way.”

“So you think she has problems with a mother?” Clary is frowning even more. “Should we tell Magnus?”

“I mean, we kind of have to right? She’s crying because of me...”

Simon feels so guilty about this. He hates making children cry, even if it wasn’t his intention and he didn’t know she would react this say. He’ll apologize as soon as he can, but he would rather it had never happened.

“Hey come on Si,” Clary says with a gentle shake of his shoulder. “There is probably a story there that we don’t know. Let’s go see if Magnus can explain it to us, alright?”

He nods eagerly and leaves the training room with her. Ragnor already left a few minutes ago, declaring that he needed a break as well and would be found in the kitchen.

Magnus is with Eve in the living room, hugging her gently and caressing her hair. Alec is there too, and Simon realizes his mother must have left.

“What did you do,” Alec asks, and his tone is definitely accusatory.

“I didn’t do anything,” Simon defends himself again. He gets Alec’s protectiveness, but if he could not be on the receiving end of that it would be nice. “I was just talking with her!”

“Then what did you say,” Alec amends with a stern look.

“Nothing! I didn’t know she would respond badly to the word...” he hesitates, looks at the child still slowly calming down in Magnus Bane’s arms.

Grabbing his phone, he writes Mother in his note and enlarges it so that Alec can see it. He doesn’t want to make Eve cry again.

Alec reads it and almost pronounce the word outloud, before stopping himself.

“You said that word and she got upset?”

Simon nods. “I think that’s what upset her, she was smiling before. She wanted to play again...”

Magnus finally speaks up. “It’s alright Simon. It happened before. She has a block with that word, but I thought she was getting over it... Do you want to tell us why it upset you?”

He directs his question to the child in his arms and Simon breathes a little easier knowing it’s not his fault. Not that he need to breathe, but well. Force of habit.

Eve shakes her head violently and buries her face deeper in Magnus’ clothes. She is scared and hurt, and it’s something from her past that’s doing this to her.

“Eve, I understand it’s difficult,” Alec says, in a tone vastly different to anything Simon has heard from the man before. “But if it’s difficult now, it’ll only get more difficult in the future if you don’t let us help you. Why don’t you tell us about it now, so we can help you not be afraid anymore?”

Eve looks at him slowly and Simon can see the galaxies in her eyes and the golden specks that illuminate her face. She’s a strange kid, but a sweet one. He hates the idea of anyone hurting her, and he fears what she will tell them.

“You swear?” Her voice is so small Simon wonders how anyone who doesn’t have his new enhanced hearing can hear it.

Alec and Magnus both nods though, at the exact same second. It’s Magnus who answers for the both of them.

“We swear darling.”

Eve turns her eyes to Clary and Simon, who are still standing next to the coffee table, a couple of meters away from her.

“I’m sorry I got upset,” she says and they both smile gently.

“It’s alright,” Simon says as he sits down on the couch opposite her. “I didn’t mean to make you upset though. Can you forgive me?”

She smiles slightly at that. She’s amused by his wording and behavior and he smiles back. Mission accomplished.

“Will you tell us now?” Magnus caresses her hair.

She nods timidly and starts talking.

---

It had been really hot where Eve grew up. She hadn’t liked the heat too much, and she had liked even less the way there wasn’t any pretty light if she didn’t make it. She liked the lights, liked how they made her mother’s palace brighter and more fun. It looked less like the ruins it really was, and more like an ancient castle she could explore.

Sometimes, she didn’t know where everything she knew came from. There were words in her head, all pushing each other and tumbling out of her head, making no sense at all. She wanted to cry all the time when she was awake. And she was awake a lot.

Her mother wasn’t nice, not the way she would learn there were nice people, like Magnus Bane and Alexander Lightwood, much later. Her mother was always ordering her around, telling her to do better. She couldn’t go and play if she wasn’t better. Eve didn’t like that word.

She didn’t like that word, and so many others her mother used. She hated when her mother was nice even more than when she wasn’t nice.

“You’ll be such a beautiful girl when you grow up,” her mother would tell her whenever Eve needed to rest. “And so powerful. You’ll be more powerful than all the others here. And you’ll rule by my side, and you’ll be a good, obedient girl. Won’t you my little dragon?”

Eve didn’t have a name when she had been with her mother. She had always been called a little dragon.

“And if you are nice enough, I’ll even let you go elsewhere to have some fun. Don’t you want to go play with the others sometimes? They like it to go on earth, to take some mundanes and play with them. I’m sure you will love that my little dragon, just like I do.”

Her mother liked it much better when she would make the others squirm and squeal in pain. It was Eve’s least favorite game, but her mother insisted that she do it every day. She would have to make them beg and beg and beg, in their rough language that irritated her ears and made her head ache, and then her mother would force her to make them bleed.

“You’ll continue until I deem they’ve learnt their lesson,” her mother would scold her when she asked when she could stop, and her ringed hand would leave a mark on Eve’s cheek.

She ran away on her birthday, and it had been the last day she had been home. It wouldn’t be home much longer, but that day she had thought it was.

Eve had refused to hurt someone that day. She wanted to celebrate her birthday by playing in the desolate gardens beyond the ruins of their castle, but her mother had been mad with anger at that. Her mother had screamed and yelled at her, hurting her and almost tearing at her wings in her fury. Running had been natural that day.

She wasn’t looking where she was going, only thinking furiously about how she needed to get away, to go somewhere where she wouldn’t have to hurt demons to satisfy Lilith’s ravenous desire for blood. She couldn’t call her mother anymore. Now, her mother was Lilith, mean and long nailed Lilith who hurt her and was never nice.

The ground shifted underneath her and she was suddenly somewhere else, somewhere where there was a bright light in the sky, with buildings that weren’t ruins and the noise of something that wasn’t a demon. She wrapped her wings around herself and waited. She hoped someone would find her and help her.

---

Eve’s tale has shaken everyone, but it’a Magnus who is the most affected by it. Alec can see the way he is fidgeting with his rings, and he knows that the warlock is keeping to himself the pain that has overtaken him. For now, Alec can’t help. Someone has to help Eve, who is shaking again in between Alec and Magnus.

The little girl’s knees are drawn against her chest and she is making herself appear smaller and smaller by the second as she slowly contracts into a ball.

“Thank you for telling us,” Alec finally says gently. “It was very brave what you did. You’re a very brave little girl Eve.”

She looks at him, eyes full of tears. He doesn’t resist the impulse in his chest; he lifts the girl up and takes her on his lap. Immediately, she cuddles against him, and he wraps her arms around her. He doesn’t pay attention to anything or anyone else as he hugs her and keeps murmuring to her reassuring words.

He is holding a demon, Lilith’s daughter, in his arms, and consoling her. She is telling the truth, everything in him screams so, but he can barely bring himself to believe her. She is a sweet child, made for joy and happiness. Not to torture demons and mundanes. She should be his natural enemy, but he loves her. She might be a demon by blood, but he knows her. He knows that she is too gentle a soul to be a higher demon the way Lilith had intended. He’ll make sure she grows up with love and tenderness around her. He’ll make sure she knows what a family really is, sees how much the people around her already love her.

He exchanges a look with Magnus, and the utter craziness of the new situation at hand fully dawns on him. They are raising Lilith’s, mother of the demons, queen of hell Lilith, daughter.

It wasn’t enough that he had just learned about his powers, that Valentine Morgenstern is back and looking for the Mortal Cup and that the Seelie Queen probably knows all about him. The Angels had to throw at him more complications.

Chapter Text

“Clarissa Morgenstern, daughter of Valentine and Jocelyn Morgenstern, has been located in New York City. Following information from a Clave Associate, we have been informed that she was likely to have the Mortal Cup, and may be bringing it to her parents. It is this Institute first priority that we find her before she can join her parents and hand it over to them. If anyone has informations on her whereabouts, you must inform me immediately. As the new Head of this Institute, I will not tolerate any insubordination. Have I made myself clear?”

Izzy hates Lydia Branwell and the woman has barely been here for two days. Maryse is being sent back to Idris because of her, and now this? Izzy wants to scoff and leave the war room, but she can’t. It would be too suspicious of her now. Branwell already dislikes her and she doesn’t want to attract too much attention. She is, after all, extremely aware of where both Clary and the Mortal Cup are. She won’t say anything to that Clave rat though. She had no right to take over the Institute the way she did, nor to take over her mother’s position this way. Izzy may not agree with her mother on some points, and they certainly have their conflicts regularly enough, but there is no denying that Maryse knew how to lead an Institute. The New York Institute has had an exemplary standing amongst all Institutes throughout the world under her leadership. Branwell’s arrival is an insult to Isabelle’s family. She won’t stand for that.

“Izzy,” Jace elbows her slightly, jerking her out of her thoughts. “Stop that!”

He is pointing at her hands and she looks down. A red glow has appeared around them and she can feel her runes burning, the angelic mark the most. It’s painful but she can withstand it. As soon as she breathes deeply, it disappears anyway. It’s not the first time since Branwell’s arrival that Izzy’s Nephilim powers have manifested. Anger seems to be her mechanism to activate them.

“Sorry,” she whispers back. “I just can’t help it, she’s such a—“

“Anything to add, Miss Lightwood?”

Izzy grits her teeth. Branwell is only four years older but she keeps acting as if she’s the Angels’ chosen one. Fuck that, Izzy has seen what the Angels want, and it’s in her brother’s magic, not this blond stuck up Clave ordained asshole.

“Nothing. I just wondered if you were going to give us any description or we were supposed to arrest every woman who is Clarissa Morgenstern‘s age and check if they are shadowhunters or not.”

She’s dancing around the line of insubordination but she doesn’t care. Branwell can’t sideline her, not if they are going on a manhunt. Jace and her are the best team in the Institute and they will need them. Not that either of them are planning on helping, but still. The principle of it remains true.

“Shouldn’t I be the one asking for her description, Lightwood? After all, you and Jace Wayland are the ones who brought her into the Shadow World.”

Izzy strikes her most surprised face. “Wait, you mean that girl we rescued, the Fairchild one, she was...?”

“Morgenstern’s daughter yes.”

“Oh I really had no idea!”

“Then I suggest you pay better attention next time you bring someone to the Institute.”

Branwell is clearly not taking Izzy’s bullshit, but she doesn’t seem to want to further the scene into a blown out argument. She is too new here, Izzy guesses. Can’t take too much risk and alienate the whole Institute simply because one Shadowhunter is being slightly rebellious.

She dismisses everyone quickly enough and walks with the Head of Security and a few other Shadowhunters who came with her from Alicante back to her office, talking all the way with them in low voices.

“Isabelle,” her mother scolds as she reaches her a few seconds later. “Don’t go making yourself an enemy of the new Head. Branwell has been brought up by members of the Council, and she is from an old family with a lot of power in the Clave. You don’t want to have her against you.”

“What I want is for her to be gone,” Izzy answers angrily. “I have only been able to talk with Alec through texts since she got here, since she insists on having meetings every two fucking hours!”

“If you make yourself too noticeable, she’ll take you out of the field and—“

“She can’t do that, I’m the best hunter there is with Jace,” Izzy interrupts with a confident shrug.

“No matter that you are! If you keep angering her and questioning her leadership, she /will/ punish you. You could be sent back to Idris, or sent to another Institute, or you might be put on weapon cleaning duties. Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgement Isabelle. You won’t be of any help to your brother if you are halfway across the world.”

Izzy wants to fight what her mother is saying, wants to be angry and deny it, but she can’t. There is too much truth in what she is saying. Izzy is playing with fire and begging to be burnt.

“Alright, alright. I’ll keep my thoughts to myself from now on. Has she told you who informed the Clave on Clary?”

“I’ve heard rumors that it was a downworlder. Some say a Seelie, some a vampire. Branwell hasn’t told me anything, but I’ll learn more once I’m in Idris.”

“When are you leaving?” It’s Jace asking this. He had stayed carefully out of their conversation until now, not wanting to bring any attention to himself. He loves both Maryse and Isabelle to death, but the women of his adoptive family are prompt to anger and lashing out. Not that he himself isn’t, but he has seen his mother and sister in battle, and he really would rather keep that energy for training.

“Tonight, a warlock will come to open a portal to Alicante for me. Branwell has at least understood that I am important to some extent.” Maryse’s voice is full of scorn and discontent, but her face remains smooth as stone.

Izzy is used to her mother’s role as a politician, of the mask she wears in Idris and around shadowhunters that don’t come from the New York Institute. After all, she barely trusts anyone outside of her family, and why should she ? They’ve treated her first child like a criminal only a few weeks ago. Izzy really admire her mother in moments like those.

“Will you go see Alec before leaving?”

“I can’t,” Maryse answers her daughter’s question with a soft sigh. “He knows and understands. You will give him all my love won’t you?”

Izzy nods and, in a movement that surprises her mother, Jace, and herself, she embraces her mother in a short hug.

“Don’t worry. We will all be fine until your return.”

Maryse’s facade cracks a bit and she smiles as she whispers. “I know you will. Alec, Jace, and you are the best Nephilim there has ever been. You make me proud every day of my life.”

---

It’s been two maddening days since Eve has informed them of her lineage and Magnus has fully lost control of what his life is supposed to be. He hasn’t been to Pandemonium in days, he still hasn’t had any talk with Alec about them, or the lack of /them/ for now, and he has two Nephilim, a warlock, a vampire, and a demon-child sleeping under his roof. Without counting himself, evidently.

He is reconsidering running away to live in the deep, deep countryside of some country far away from New York City when someone comes to sit next to him on the balcony.

“Something is telling me you’re thinking about running away again.” It’s Dot’s voice and he smiles slightly at her.

He didn’t even feel the tug of her entrance at his wards. He hasn’t felt his wards ever since Ragnor arrived, to be frank, which lets him think that the older warlock has taken over the wards. It’s a bit of a relief, even if it is slightly disturbing.

“My dear,” he says as he looks at New York’s skyline. “I haven’t stopped thinking about running away ever since I stayed in New York.”

“Oh come on! Where is the Magnus Bane I know? You are a fighter, always. I’ve seen you go through a lot more than a few demanding things at once.”

He laughs a bit and looks at her. “Have you ever seen me try to raise Lilith’s new child? What about helping two Nephilim understand their powers and control them?”

“Alright, alright,” She surrenders with a smile and her hands in the air. “You’re right. You’re going through a lot of shit right now. But you aren’t alone in this, Magnus. You have Cat and I there too. Ragnor moved in with you to help you out! It’s a lot and none of us really knows how to deal with it. But we certainly can try.”

She looks inside, where Alexander is playing with Eve at some card game she has invented. “Look at your man and your kid. You can’t tell me you’re alone in raising her. Alec loves her, and he loves you. The boy is an open book so don’t even try to argue with me, Magnus Bane.”

He closes his mouth with a chuckle. He really, really needs to have a talk with Alexander. Before declaring him Eve’s second father, they should at least go on a few dates. When he tells Dot this, she laughs.

“Yes, for the two of you that might be helpful. But there is no denying Eve has already adopted him.”

“She did the minute she saw him,” he sighs, but there is no sadness or pain behind it. He is actually quite happy about that, but still. “What’s going to happen when he leaves?”

“Leaving, Alec? Are we talking about the same guy? Magnus, he is crazy about you. There is no leaving for him.”

He doesn’t answer and looks back to the city instead.

“Don’t act like a lovesick, twenty years old warlock. You’re Magnus Bane! You are the High Warlock of Brooklyn. If anyone can do all of this, it’s you.”

He chuckles and nods. “Alright. Thanks Dot.”

She nods and gets up. “Alright, I’ll give you some time to brood and do your thing, but you better be back inside soon, because Cat and Ragnor are going to bring out the red wine soon enough and you know how that usually ends up.”

He laughs again. “Alright, I’ll be there soon. Don’t drink around Eve!”

She grins and is about to push open the sliding door when she turns to him.

“Hey, for the record? I don’t think Eve being Lilith’s kid matters. She’s your kid, and she’s adorable. Don’t let who her mother is and what she did to you stop you from loving that blessing of a little girl.”

She goes inside without waiting for Magnus’ answer, and the door clicks shut definitively behind her.

He loves Eve, more than he thought he could love another being. That Lilith is her mother doesn’t bother him, but that he doesn’t know why Lilith created Eve does. Still, Dot is right. He can’t let that stop him from loving and raising Eve. She is his daughter and he will love her to the end of times.

---

Clary is back to training with Ragnor when the pain hits her harshly. Something buried deep in her chest is making her cry out in pain. It feels almost like something digging through her ribcage, slowly burning her inside and making her want to puke. She can’t even yell, can’t scream or say anything beyond a plea for it to stop. She’s on her knees without even realizing when she fell.

“Clary?” Ragnor is in front of her now, his face wrinkled with worry as she feels his magic surrounding her, trying to see what’s wrong.

It does nothing, nothing at all. The pain is overwhelming. It blinds her, the way her body reacts to this /thing/ she feels calling inside herself. There is /something/ causing this, making blood slowly filter out of her mouth as she presses her hands to her stomach when the pain there intensifies.

“Calm down Clary,” Ragnor tries to soothe her and gently touches her shoulder.

His touch, parental and gentle, only sends her further down a path of suffering. She screams now, loud and unending, and fire erupt around her, protecting her as the warlock backs away quickly. She burns, and burns, and burns until she doesn’t remember if the pain comes from within her or outside her. Her fire shields her from whatever is searching for her. She won’t let it win.

She’s bloody when she comes back down, mouth and chin covered in thin streaks of blood seeping out from her nose and mouth, but she feels infinitely better. The digging inside her has stopped. She looks at Ragnor, murmurs a quiet “Sorry” and passes out promptly, all life drained from her for an instant.

---

Jocelyn wants to yell out in frustration. She doesn't understand what’s happening, why she can’t track Clary anymore. They are in New York City, and she knows her daughter wouldn’t have left the city. It should be easier now, not harder!

“Warlock!” She snaps loudly and turns to look at the warlock Eliot, a feeble creature with no morals and little intelligence. He disgusts her. “Track Clarissa.”

She tosses him the t-shirt she had taken for the purpose and when he fumbles to catch it, she strikes him harshly. She has no time for incompetency. Either he does what she is asking, or he dies. Or maybe she’ll ask Val to inject him with some more blood; he has been saying lately that his experimentation are leading to more powerful results.

Standing back up, the warlock grips the t-shirt tightly in between his two hands and closes his eyes. She watches his magic glow with his trademark amber glow, and then fade to nothing.

“I can’t find her, Jocelyn,” he says, almost apologetically. “She must be hidden somewhere with magical protection.”

“Are you saying one of your kind took her and is holding her?” She snarls this as she walks closer to him, and he steps back, instincts telling him to get away from the angry woman.

She sees in his eyes what she had seen in Clary's eyes many years ago. A determined fear, a steel-pointed arrow of resentment, and the strength to resist. Of course, in this miserable creature, it is nothing worth comparing to her daughter’s admirable fury and unreasonable strong will. Still, it means that Jocelyn knows how to deal with this, how to coax out what she wants from him. It’s not that hard after all, to corrupt a warlock. This one had ran straight to Valentine’s trap due to his wounded pride, and it hasn’t been hard to bend him to their will since then.

“Shh,” she says gently, switching her whole demeanor. "If you help me to find my daughter, I will help you, you know that Eliot. It’s the deal right? As long as you help us, we can help you too.”

He nods and she keeps the ferocious smile blooming inside her for herself for now. The honey is set, and the fly always land into the trap, even if it has seen hundreds of its companions fall prey to the cruel sugar.

“Can you tell me if you can identify anything? Can you tell me if she has a rune activated, if that’s why we can’t find her? You said you could tap into her energy before, you must be able to do it again.”

Again, he nods and she smiles, the way she did when Clary did something she was proud of. He relaxes infinitely at her smile and his hands tighten on the t-shirt as he focuses again.

“I can feel her energy, but I can’t say where she is... I can tell she is alive, but that’s about it, Jocelyn.” He looks at her, remorseful, fear building back up. “But maybe… Maybe she is with a warlock who hid her… There is something different about her energy, something dissimilar to any other shadowhunter I’ve ever had to track before.”

She growls in frustration and snatches the shirt away from his hands. “You can’t tell me anything more?”

He shakes his head, trying to make himself as small as he can.

“Well then, I’m sure you know what awaits you." She grabs her seraph blade and pushes the edge of it toward his chest, enjoying the terror in his eyes. He is younger than Magnus Bane is, has none of the barriers around himself that she had guessed around the High Warlock of Brooklyn. Maybe he is simply less smart.

She regrets now, having taken Clary to Bane for the removal of her memories. It was a foolproof plan though, until Dot had realized what Jocelyn was doing that evening. Jocelyn had been looking for the cards, had been looking for the Cup, but she had remembered too late that she had left them in the shop two nights ago, when she had been contemplating their imminent departure. If Dot hadn’t realized there was something wrong when Jocelyn had reached for her weapons, they would have had another warlock on board, and Clarissa would be with them.

“Jocelyn,” Valentine calls out, and she stills her blade at where it was nearing entry into the warlock’s stomach. “Don’t kill him just yet. He may come in handy for more experiments. We don’t have enough warlock subjects.”

She nods and puts her blade away, shoving the warlock towards her husband. Valentine catches him by the throat and throws him to the ground, and she enjoys the display. She loves Valentine, would go to the end of the earth for him. Now that they are anchored in New York, they will accomplish their dreams and rule over the Shadow World, the way they are meant to.

---

Simon sits by Clary’s side wordlessly, holding her hand in his own as tightly as he dares. He knows the others have routinely been checking on Clary and him, but he doesn’t care. He doesn’t know them well yet, doesn’t want to, not if it means not being with Clary. He doesn’t understand it, that quick as fire bleeding and her fainting, and neither Magnus or Ragnor have worked it out. If he wasn’t so afraid of disturbing his best friend’s rest, he would scream.

She has been passed out for a day, and he is starting to feel the hunger agitating his body, but he won’t move until she wakes up. He is helpless, hopeless, useless. Ever since he was brought in this world, he has done nothing but mistakes. How can he help Clary with everything she’s going through if he can’t even do anything right?

But then… It’s also her fault that he is like this, to some extent. She chose to bring him back, to make him this bloodthirsty creature. Even if he has accepted his fate now, he would have liked to have a choice. He isn’t angry at her anymore, can’t manage to be when she also saved him. That’s why he is going to save her this time. It’s his turn to help her. If only he knew how.

“Simon?” A voice addresses him and he turns to look at them, surprised. He hasn’t met the woman before, but she knows him. “I’m Catarina, a friend of Magnus. I’m a warlock and a doctor. I’m used to looking at Shadow People and helping them to heal. I’ve healed Alec when he first came here.”

She says all this in a calm tone, almost professional. He understands immediately what she wants to do. She’s here to examine Clary, see if she can succeed where both Magnus and Ragnor have failed. Her listing of things she accomplished and is had for purpose to make him trust her. He doesn’t, not really, but if she’s here it’s to help, and he just wants Clary back.

“Alright.” His voice is rough, but he lets go of Clary's hand slowly. “Please help her.”

He doesn’t beg, but his voice isn’t far from it. Catarina walks closer and nods at him.

“I’ll do my best.”

He watches as she examines Clary. She's much more meticulous in it than Magnus or Ragnor had been, and he is glad for that. Finally, there is a doctor on their side.

“Do you mind doing something for me Simon?"

“Uh, no, not at all,” he answers confusedly.

“Take Clary’s hand will you? Like you were doing when I walked in.”

Simon wonders what this will do, if it does anything, but he doesn’t question her and takes Clary’s hand in his own. She’s colder than before, but soon enough she warms under his palms. He didn’t think he could still share body heat, but well.

“Just as I thought.” Catarina smiles. "You're anchoring her right now. She just needs help to be pulled back outside of her mind, where she retreated.”

“What do I do then?” The smile of the warlock warms something inside him that had frozen when he had found Clary with blood around her and passed out. “Is there a spell, something she has to drink, anything?”

“Calm down,” she tempers his excitement but she is still smiling. “You two are connected. Am I correct to assume you drank some of her blood?” He nods and she continues. “Then I suggest you take both her hands, and close your eyes. Focus on Clary, only on her, and on your connection to her. Try to remember as much as you can picture, and call her back to you. There is a special link between the two of you, and it’s what will help her come back.”

Simon does as she says and when he closes his eyes, he pictures Clary when they had been twelve. She had been desperately wanting to fight with a sword, and so had he, so they had gone to the park with his older sister Rebecca, and had grabbed the best branches they could. It had been an intensive sword fight, and Clary had been better at it than he had been, but he could distinctly remember her letting him win. She always said that it was never as fun if they didn’t both have fun.

There is a stir coming from the bed and he almost opens his eyes but Catarina urges him to continue calling her to him, so he focuses again on the memories.

Fifteen years old Clary with her fringe and mismatched clothes, already covered in paint despite the fact that it had been only lunch appears in his mind and he wants to laugh and cry at the same time. This had been the day they had both come out to his mother and Bubbe Helen. Of course, they had told Rebecca long before; Clary had had a crush on her for a while after all. He had sat with her, her hand holding his tightly as he told his family about his pansexuality. He had done the same for her when she had hesitantly followed, her knee bouncing anxiously under the table as she announced that she was a lesbian. Everything had gone fine, much better than when she had told Jocelyn, but it had been nerve-racking for both of them. Bubbe Helen had made them latkes afterwards, patting their cheeks and saying they deserved the Hanukkah treat after their nervousness. Clary had been so happy that afternoon.

Clary gasps and breathes loudly and he opens his eyes then. She is staring back at him, and he sighs of relief, wrapping her in his arms.

“Simon, Si!” She laughs and hugs him back for a second or two but pushes him back slightly. “Hey, remember your vamp strength, you are choking me!”

He moves backward and smiles widely. "Well if you stopped scaring me like this, I wouldn’t have to do this!”

She laughs again and then looks around herself. "What happened?”

“You tell me, you were the one bleeding all over and catching fire. Do you know what triggered it?”

She frowns and sits up, and Catarina slips out of the room discreetly then.

“My mother,” Clary breathes out finally. "She was looking for me.”

---

“So to be clear,” Magnus recapitulates after Clary has finished her tirade, her words mingling in with Simon’s as both of them had stumbled out of her bedroom. “You are saying you sensed your mother looking for you, and that it’s what got you in this state?”

“Yes!”

Magnus sighs and restrains himself from hitting his own head against the low table in front of him. He had thought taking care of the warlock community in New York was already a headache, but this is so much worse. It’s new, and exciting, and so very much intriguing, but if they could stop having crisis every day or so he would be very, very thankful. This new development is just making him reconsider his renewed commitment to staying in the city.

“And you’re saying the Morgensterns are in the city. Looking for you.”

“Yes!” She’s getting a bit impatient in her answers now, her foot tapping the ground with increasing frequency.

“Alright. We have to warn the other shadow leaders, you can tell Luke yourself biscuit and I’ll get news to the Seelie Queen and the vampires.”

“We are going to fight right?” Clary is full of righteous fury, and she doesn’t look torn at all as she considers the option of fighting her parents. He doesn’t begrudge her this; he would also not hate fighting against Asmodeus. But it is not the same circumstances at all; Clary was raised by Jocelyn, and until very recently, they had a good relationship. He doubts she is fully ready to fight her mother at least.

“No we aren’t Clary,” Magnus tempers and stops her before she protests. “You’re in no way trained enough for it, you don’t know how to use your powers well, and we are talking about your parents. For you especially, it’s bound to be difficult. There is also the matter of the Cup, which we need to put away safely, from both the Clave and them.”

“Can’t we just like, destroy the card or something," Simon suggests.

Next to Magnus, Alec almost chokes on his own breath. "Destroy the Mortal Cup? Are you crazy? It’s absolutely not an option! It’s a relic of Raziel, who gave it to Jonathan Shadowhunter, the first Nephilim, and we absolutely cannot destroy it!”

“Alright, calm down man I didn’t know!" The young vampire raises his hands defensively in front of himself, but Alec doesn’t look angry, just astonished at the very idea.

“Right, now that this has been said," Magnus ignores the interaction and turns back to Clary. “I know you want to fight, but for now it would be better if you kept training and learned how to use your magic better.”

“I’m ready!”

“No you are not,” Ragnor says from the side. "Right now, each time you use your magic you end up exhausted. Not to mention that it either takes your whole body and takes over you or you can barely access it. You don’t control it enough to be able to fight with it.”

“And you wouldn’t last five minutes against an experienced shadowhunter,” Alec adds. “You’ve started training barely a week ago, and you’re good but not good enough to hold against a Clave-raised and trained Nephilim.”

Clary doesn’t pout, but it’s a near thing. It betrays her youth, Magnus thinks, but not only that, it’s a clear indicator of how she was raised. In the Shadow World, it’s often kill or be killed, and if you aren’t properly trained, you end up in the dead category. Clary, with her mundane upraising, doesn’t have this notion of intense self-preservation. She’s angry and she wants explanation, but Magnus knows that for now both of those things would get her killed if she was allowed to look for her parents.

“I’ll alert Izzy and Jace,” Alec says, trying to break the rising tension in the room. “Hopefully the Institute will look for your parents rather than you.”

Clary nods. “Train me now then. Please.”

With a sigh, Alec agrees. “Eat something and we can start.”

---

Jace is pacing in the corridor that leads to the Head of Institute’s office. He is undecided right now, unclear on what he is supposed to do. Valentine Morgenstern is at large somewhere and while he knows Clary won’t give him the Mortal Cup, knows that it’s safe with Alec and her, he wants his revenge. He wants to find peace from killing the man who took away from him his only living family. Blood is important in their culture, and as much as he loves Alec, Izzy, Max and Maryse, he isn’t really a Lightwood. He is Jace Wayland, the orphan they took in and raised. His loyalty lies with them, but also with the Clave. And the Clave wants the Mortal Cup. Should he tell Branwell he knows where it is? Should he tell her some of the things he knows? Nothing that would endanger his family, but … He wants to be the first one to fight Valentine, and if needed his wife too. He won’t be content until he has had his revenge.

He’s startled out of his thoughts when the door of the office swings open almost violently. Lydia Branwell emerges from it, as strictly put together as she had been on the first meeting Izzy and him had interrupted. She’s always doing paperwork, he has yet to see her train or go out on a hunt. They are about the same age though, and he doesn’t understand her. Who could want to be a bureaucratic agent at a moment such as this? There are renegade shadowhunters back, the Circle is rising again, and unseen before demonic activity. The sheer amount of things to investigate and hunt sends a thrill through him. He was born for this, hunting and killing demons.

“Jace Wayland,” Lydia acknowledges as she sees him. "Were you coming to talk about something important?”

He almost tells her he knows where the Cup is right then. Almost. “No, I just wanted to know when my team could be expected to go out on the field.”

“Your team is just you and Isabelle Lightwood, since the other Lightwood…” she hesitates, caught in between the Clave files that misgender and mis reference Alec and her own decency and respect for another shadowhunter, even if deruned. “Since Alexander Lightwood has been deruned. I don’t believe your team would be efficient on the field right now.”

“Then assign us someone else,” Jace follows her as she starts walking again. “Izzy and I are the best fighters in the Institute, you should make use of that rather than sideline us.”

“I’ll think about that,” she answers dryly. “Now, I have urgent matters to attend to, so return to your post and wait for further instructions.”

What kind of urgent matter would require her to dismiss him this way? Branwell had looked worried too, her phone in her hand as if she had just ended a phone conversation. He doesn’t follow her as much as he is heading in the same direction anyway. In the main war room, he grabs Izzy’s arm and nods towards their new Head of Institute. His sister makes a face of disgust and contempt, but she stops when she sees a group of shadowhunters coming back from patrol, all of them wounded. Two of them are holding a third one in between themselves, while two others talk to Lydia.

Looking at the soldiers, Jace can see blood splattering them, and it’s not demon blood. It’s either mundane or nephilim blood, disgustingly vibrant and too much of it falling from wounds that an iratze cannot heal. This is the urgent matter. The Institute is under attack.

Chapter Text

Clary has grabbed a staff and she is training on her own now. It’s nearing midnight but she isn’t tired. Not with everything that is happening. She can’t lay in bed doing nothing again. She is useless, has been for too much time. So she trains, tries to overcome the hole in her chest. If she gets her way, she’ll have to fight her parents. She doesn’t know her father, so she doesn’t have much of a relationship with him, but her mother…

There are memories of Jocelyn flying around Clary’s mind, and she wishes she could erase them. Maybe give them to a memory demon, the way Magnus had done, so that none of the good thing comes back to her. She doesn’t want to remember the way her mother had always bought her her favorite gelato when they had gone to that Little Italy shop Clary loved. She doesn’t want to hear the hushed tone of her mother as she sang Clary her lullaby as a child. All of that, it’s just a weakness.

Jocelyn lied to her for years. She lied, day after day, and let Clary believe that she was a mundane, that the nightmares and dreams she had were nothing but her imagination. The stories she had told Clary, with the monsters were always slayed by the good angels, she can recognizes them now. How many time had she heard Jocelyn start a story with the evil nature of vampires, werewolves and warlocks? How many times had she talked about the guardian angels that would help Clary if she simply called their names?

The staff snaps in Clary's hand as she hits one of the training target, wood splintering everywhere. She curses, careful not to be too loud, but she hates her own insecurities. She needs to be able to fight. She wants to.

“You are quite at ease with a staff," Ragnor’s voice comes from the entrance to the room and she turns around quickly, startled. “Now, you should control your rage and find a way to channel it within your strikes, in ways that won’t break your weapon.”

“How do you suggest I do that then?" She asks, a bit breathless.

She hadn’t realized how much energy she had put into her training and she feels a bit annoyed. If Alec has been clear about one thing, it’s that she should make sure to be aware of her surroundings at all time. He’s doing her best to train her as fast as he can with what he has, but she is stubborn and making his life difficult. She didn’t like the seraph sword he had made her fight with earlier that afternoon. The feel of it had been clunky and too shifty in her hand. Too small. She much rather prefers the staff over it, even if she knows it’s only a training weapon.

“Think about why you fight. Why do you want to fight your parents so badly?”

Ragnor walks in the room, taking a staff himself. She has never seen him fight, but there is such an ease in the way he moves across from her that she doesn’t doubt he is deadly. He is old, older than every building in the city, older than anyone she can envision. She wouldn’t be surprised if he was a master at sword fighting or something of that kind; she would be surprised if he wasn’t, to be honest.

“They aren’t good people,” she answers as he gets opposite her.

“They are still your parents,” he tempers and throws the first hit.

He moves faster than she expected him to and she has difficulty blocking his hit with the broken half of her staff. She needs to get a new one, and sooner rather than later.

“I’ve never met Valentine, and Jocelyn tried to kill me. I’m not sure that makes her a recipient for a mother of the year award.” She ignores the memory of giving Jocelyn a mug that said “Best Mom Ever!” when she had been eight. “She lied to me for years and intended for me to follow her footsteps and kill all Shadow People except for Nephilim.”

She dodges the hits Ragnor directs at her. She is starting to really enjoy this double staff situation; it feels comfortable to be using her whole body this way. She is starting to really feel alive, the thrill she had searched for for so many years finally coursing through her veins. She was born for this, she can feel it.

“Does that cancel out the fact that they are your parents?”

“Luke raised me too,” she gasps as his staff hits her in the stomach, hard enough to make a bruise bloom. “He was a father when I thought I didn’t have one. He was always there to help me.”

The bruise is making her realize how much she wants to win. She wants to prove to the world, to herself, that she belongs here. She belongs on the battlefield, fighting alongside Alec and Izzy and Jace, Magnus and Ragnor and Dot, and everyone she doesn’t know too. She is a warrior too.

“Even if I’m their daughter,” she acknowledges as she starts attacking, no more defending herself so prominently, “I’m also my own person. I know what’s right or wrong. I know that their belief that all non-Nephilim people are inferior is wrong. Magnus, you, Eve, everyone I’ve met ever since I learned that I’m a Nephilim has been kind and helpful. Even when I’m nothing more than an inconvenience, you have all taught me to protect and defend, myself and others. I’m part of this world now, and I’m not going to shy away from the fight just because my parents are in it as well.”

Her hits are getting stronger, more concentrated. Saying all of this is helpful, it gives her an outlet for the rage within. She can see why Ragnor had made her say it out loud. She is channeling that desire to fight, that inner resounding knowledge that she can do this. She is not as good as Alec or Ragnor, or anyone else, at this point, but she really intends to be. She wants her strength to grow and to match what she believes she can do.

Opposite her, Ragnor smiles slightly but he doesn’t give in. Clary appreciates that. She doesn’t want to win because someone is letting her win. She wants to win because she deserves it.

She manages to hit him in the arm harshly, but her one hit is outmatched by the dozens upon dozens of smacks Ragnor delivers to her arms, her legs, her shoulders... her whole body aches, it would be much easier if she had a real staff, but she doesn’t want to ask for a break. She is strong. She repeats those words to herself like a mantra. She is strong, she is strong, she is strong.

Her last hit is accompanied by a blast of energy from within her, unasked for but not unwelcome. It ripples through the wood of the staff and finishes crackling it fully. As soon as she hits Ragnor in the ribs with it, it explodes in her hands powerfully, sending her flying backwards. She hits the wall with a loud gasp and she can hear distinctly a light thud, the sound of another body hitting a wall as well. She falls on her knees, gasping and desperately trying to get air back in her lungs. She feels like she is dying from the pain that radiates from her back, but she knows that she isn’t. She feels too alive still. This is the first time she has used her magic in a fighting situation, and she can finally see its usefulness. Even if she had exploded her weapon and hurt herself, she had managed to also weaken Ragnor. If she can control it… Who knows what she’ll be capable of doing on the battlefield?

---

Alec can’t sleep. He should be exhausted, is actually quite tired physically, but he is also restless. Since he received Jace and Izzy’s phone call, he has been wondering how they will be able to fight together when they are, supposedly, on different sides. He knows the Clave well enough to know that they won’t ask for Shadow People’s help, even if it would benefit them. He doesn’t doubt either that the Clave wouldn’t mind if Valentine managed to kill most Shadow People. They might even actually celebrate it.

“Having troubles sleeping, Alexander?"

Magnus is stepping through the french windows that lead to the balcony where Alec has been hiding, trying to get his mind to relax as he looked at the ever busy city. Magnus looks a bit more rumpled than he usually does, wearing only an open robe with some light pajama pants. It astonishes Alec that the warlock manages to look even more gorgeous with every single moment. Maybe it’s only his feelings talking, but he knows anyone would be blind to not see the beauty of Magnus Bane.

“I can’t stop thinking about what's ahead of us. What about you? Eve had a nightmare?”

“Ah, no, absolutely not. She's sleeping in her room like a sweet little angel. I couldn’t stop thinking either.”

He comes to stand next to Alec, shoulder to shoulder, and gazes at New York. This is his city after all. He is its High Warlock. It’s a lot of responsibility, Alec has come to realize.

“We haven’t really talked in some time,” he says softly. “Even if we live together… I’ve missed talking with you.”

He might be the one speaking, but his heart skips a beat at the earnestness of the words. He hadn’t meant to say them. He had meant to say that it was nice to be talking to him again, or maybe some banality about the madness or their current situation… He hadn’t intended to lay out his heart so barely under the shadowed moonlight. He feels more vulnerable now that in a long time. It isn’t bad; Magnus always makes him feel comfortable and open with his emotions.

“I’ve missed our talks as well," Magnus says, smiling softly. “Especially with this whole madness about Eve…”

“The daughter of Lilith, I know... It's completely crazy. She is a demon, right? And yet she is…”

“The sweetest kid you've ever met? Yeah, I know. She has nothing of a demon, as far as I can tell, besides the powers and strength… And her mother. Who is…” Magnus laughs a bit hysterically before he continues speaking, “technically my stepmother.”

Alec laughs with him, the absurdity of this crazy situation catching up with him. “We’re raising Lilith’s daughter, and she is technically your stepsister?”

“Oh don’t remind me," Magnus laughs again, unable to stop. “This is the worst!”

They end up both sitting down on the ground of the balcony, laughing until tears form at the corner of their eyes. It’s definitely a nervous kind of laughter, but it also feels quite good. All the tension is slowly leaving their bodies until they end up facing each other, smiling softly still.

“You said “we are raising" her, do you mean it?” Magnus tilts his head to the side. “I know she loves you, but you have no obligation over her and if you would rather—“

“Don’t,” Alec interrupts softly. "I love Eve, you know that. Even when she is being difficult, I manage to find her endearing. You are doing an amazing job, raising her on your own but… I would like to be a permanent part of her life, you know?”

Magnus nods and smiles gently. He is opening his mouth to say something else when Alec cuts him again quickly, his words jumbling together as he rushes them out of his mouth.

“And of yours too."

Alec can feel his face burning up. He has always blushed easily, and he is very glad that the moon is half-hidden at the moment. The cover of darkness might stop Magnus from seeing the way embarrassment blooms on Alec’s skin at his own words. He has never been so bold before, has never actually acted on his feelings for anyone. Not that he had had much of any in the past.

When he had been in the Institute, he had forbidden himself of having feelings for anyone; after all, he is already trans, and he hadn’t wanted to attract more attention to himself by being openly into men. Of course, his mother, Izzy and Jace had known about his attraction to men, and they hadn’t minded, but he had. Maryse had also told him to be careful, to keep quiet to avoid negative attention from the Clave.

“Oh, Alexander.” Magnus' voice is soft as he slowly takes Alec’s hand, but Alec still doesn’t dare look at him. “I want you to be a part of her life too. I want you to be part of my life as well. You are… very important to me.”

Alec looks at the warlock finally. Their hands are still linked and the touch makes him feel warm and hopeful, but the lack of answer worries him. What if Magnus only wants him there as a friend? What if there is nothing more between them than this magical bond, what if—

Soft lips are on his before he can finish his thought. It’s a light kiss, one that doesn’t force or constrains him, and when he realizes what is happening, Magnus is already pulling back. His face is open and vulnerable, something almost nervous shining in his eyes.

“I’m in love with you," Alec blurts out without thinking, because it’s the truth and he has been keeping this to himself for so many days now. He isn’t afraid of his feelings, has never been afraid of them. It’s only thanks to his parabatai bond with Izzy that he is so confident in himself, that he knows how to deal with the way his heart reacts. He wonders if, had he chosen to be paired with anyone else, he would have become someone else. Would he have been more closed off, have retreated more into himself?

“Alexander…” Magnus seems a bit taken aback at his declaration, but he doesn’t let go of Alec’s hand, so Alec continues.

“I know you might not feel the same, might just like me or anything, but I know what I feel. I don’t want to hide anything from you, and I think you should know. I’m in love with you, and that isn’t changing any time soon.”

“Alec,” Magnus interrupts him gently with a squeeze of his hand. “Please, let me speak. You must know, I haven’t been in a relationship in many years, and I’ve always seemed to be falling for people who wanted more of me than I could give. I don’t want to be in this situation again, and I hope you understand that. You’re… different though. You have been living here for two months now, and you’ve been taking care of Eve, of my adoptive daughter, in ways I didn’t think you would. You love her as if she was your own, and in many ways, she already considers herself your daughter as well… And that…”

Magnus lets go of Alec's hand, only to reach up and caress Alec’s cheek, the brown of his eyes slowly fading to a beautiful golden. It’s the first time Alec has seen Magnus’ warlock mark, and he is absolutely mesmerized by it. It’s more than anything he had thought, something so delicate and beautiful that makes perfect sense. It’s a part of Magnus and Alec knows what it means for him to show it to Alec. He trusts him.

“I want this with you, you must know that. The things you feel for me… I feel them too. I’m in love with you too.”

Alec can feel his cheeks hurt from the bright smile on his own face, but he doesn’t care. Here he is, sitting on the floor of Magnus Bane’s balcony, having just admitted to the man that he loves him, and the High Warlock of Brooklyn just told him he felt the same way. He has never felt happier in his life than right now.

This time, the kiss lasts much longer and Alec is the one instigating it. It’s followed by another one, and another, and another, until they are both breathless and smiling too much to allow much more kissing. Alec feels like the teenager he was never really allowed to be. It feels right.

---

A great surge of joy and happiness from Alec’s side of the bond is keeping Izzy awake. She has been lying in bed for what feels like hours and the annoying rush of contentment is really starting to get on her nerves. Of course, she is happy, more than so, for her parabatai. She can tell his happiness comes from the love he has for Magnus, can feel it through their bond, which has been slowly reopening ever since they met up again. It makes her genuinely happy that Alec is so happy. But if he could bloody keep it to himself when it’s the middle of the night and a state of emergency has been declared in the Institute while the Clave is deciding how to handle the crisis of Valentine Morgenstern coming back, she would be extremely thankful.

She swings her legs over the side of her bed, annoyed as her feet hit the cold floor. She misses the carpet she has in her bedroom at the family’s manor. They might not go there often, only when they have official parties to attend in Idris as a family, but she knows it’s a hundred times more comfortable than the Institute. Whoever made the idiotic decision that Institutes should be only practical and never comfortable is certainly not with the Angel, she’s sure of it. This is absolute torture.

Izzy sighs at her own mental exaggeration and stretches, her body slowly adapting to the colder air temperature as she pulls on a legging and an old sweatshirt that Alec had bought in a mundane shop a few years back. It’s too large, had been for him at the time, but it’s comfortable and she is always reminded of him when she wears it. It’s like he is back here with her, making sure Jace and her are safe and following some rules.

Not bothering with socks or shoes, she leaves her room with her stele in the hoodie’s pocket. She feels safer with a weapon, even if her powers have started manifesting. Guilt fills her when she is reminded of that; she should have told Alec about it by now. He should definitely be aware of it, but she doesn’t know if it’s really going to stay. Her runes have slowly started to fade, but there isn’t much pain. It’s an uncomfortable itch, at most. She should be suffering, if only because he did.

Izzy walks past the training, giving it a look before deciding that she won’t go tonight. She just wants to empty her mind a bit, to breathe in the fresh air of the night. Meliorn has been teaching her how to meditate and quiet her thoughts. Maybe on night like this is when it can come in handy.

The elevator’s metal floor is cool under her naked feet and she shivers a bit. There is something almost surreal about standing like this here. She hasn’t done this in years. She used to wander the hallways of the Institute at night when she couldn’t sleep until a few years ago. At first, she only did it when she was looking for her parents after some unpleasant dream. Then she had wanted an escape, to get somewhere else than her dreams and nightmares. She had stopped when she had managed to sneak out successfully.

The elevator’s doors open on the last floor of the Institute and she walks out, pushing open the door that leads to the balcony part of the roof. Not too many shadow hunters come here, despite the easy access. Free time is usually spent in the city or with friends and relatives in their world, not alone on the rooftop of the local Institute.

It surprises her when the acrid smell of cigarettes greets her as she walks outside. Lydia Branwell is smoking there, in a more relaxed outfit, although she is much more put together than Izzy is at the moment. Lydia gives a look to Izzy and sighs.

“Don’t tell anyone will you?” She gestures to the cigarette in her hand. “It’s a nasty habit I picked up when I lived in Europe.”

“Why would I tell anyone,” Izzy shrugs. “I won’t gain anything by doing that.”

She stays a good distance away from the new Head of the Institute. She doesn’t trust her, doesn’t know her much and doesn’t care for her much. She is just a mindless Clave robot and Izzy has stopped trusting the Clave. She doesn’t believe they are working for the Angels anymore, just for themselves. They would never have kicked Alec out if they did. They wouldn’t treat Down— Shadow People this way, if they were really serving Raziel.

“You hate me, don’t you?” Lydia flickers her ash over the roof.

“Why do you care?” Izzy leans against the bricks of the wall behind her. It’s still slightly warm from the day’s sun.

“I don’t, not really. They are loyal to your family here though. I don’t get it, but it’s undeniable. Each time I give an order, there is someone looking for a Lightwood. When Maryse was still here, they all gave their reports to her, even if I was already the head of the Institute.”

“Of course they are loyal,” Izzy scoffs. “You think we could have done what we did, if people went left and right telling what was happening here to everyone? Shadowhunters aren’t mindless soldiers. They are people, with lives and ambition of their own. We protect our own own here.”

“You’re talking about your parabatai. Alexander Lightwood, that’s the name he chose right?”

“Alec,” Izzy corrects tersely. “Of course. And we were right to keep it to ourselves.”

“I suppose you were...” Lydia finishes her cigarette and crushes the butt of it under her heel, bending down to pick it up and throwing it over the edge of the Institute’s rooftop. “You know, I could have you arrested and deruned for challenging the Clave’s authority.”

It’s not a threat, more like a tired statement. There is something strange about Lydia tonight. She is different from the war leader she had been earlier, when the three wounded had come back from their fight with the Morgensterns.

“Of course, I won’t.” She sighs again. “What would it matter anyway. You’re a Lightwood. Your parents hold Institutes, you’re next in line, and half of the Institute worships the ground you walk on.”

Izzy is a bit lost at where this is going. Lydia is monologuing more than talking with Izzy.

“I wouldn’t be the first Lightwood to be deruned.”

Lydia pulls another cigarette from a pack hidden in her jacket pocket with a dry chuckle. “True. Imagine the scandal though. Two Lightwoods, deruned within the same year. And parabatais on top of that. I would rather not have to deal with that mess.”

“Right,” Izzy answers. If someone could clue her in to what the actual fuck is happening, she would be very thankful.

“The Clave has rescinded the state of emergency on New York. They don’t believe in the threat of Valentine Morgenstern.” Lydia puffs on her new cigarette with a blasé look. “No special instructions, no special troops being sent in.”

Isabelle frowns and comes closer, leaning onto the balcony, staying opposite to Lydia. She leaves enough space between them, but Izzy is getting slightly curious about the other woman.

“Do you know why?”

Lydia shrugs and drags another breath of cigarette inside herself. “No. Everything I’ve been told is that, if threat there is, it’s not imminent.”

“Not imminent?” Izzy repeats the words incredulously. “Vincent Hallow almost died from the attack the Morgensterns led against his patrol yesterday. How can it not be imminent?”

Lydia doesn’t answer, sighing heavily. She looks less like the Clave’s robotic envoys and more like a normal Nephilim: overrun by life’s problem, lost in everything that is happening around her, annoyed. She looks like someone Izzy wouldn’t mind talking to. It strikes Izzy suddenly. This isn’t against Lydia she should be fighting. It’s against the Clave, the system that’s draining their youth and life.

“They don’t care about us," Izzy whispers softly, astonished. “The New York Institute could be wiped out of the surface of the earth, if it meant bringing back the Mortal Cup to Idris, they would not care at all.”

She leans onto the balustrade, side by side with Lydia. The quietness of the evening disturbs her; she wants it to rain and rage, for the heavens to pour down and for the violence of her emotion to finally be allowed out. She wants to take it all out, to yell against the injustice of their world, yell until there is nothing more in her. Maybe Lydia wants that as well.

“You are in a relationship with a Seelie, isn’t it?” Lydia looks at her and extends her a cigarette. This feels strangely like a peace offering, and Izzy takes it. Jace has been telling her to start tolerating the new Head of their Institute, after all.

“Right.” Izzy doesn't say more as Lydia lights up the offered cigarette and she takes a puff. She never really took to smoking the way she has seen mundane do. She’s tried it in the past, but it never really interested her much.

“Aren’t you afraid of the repercussions on your family?”

“Why would I be? My parabatai was deruned for being himself, and my mother still stands by him. I still stand by him. Any repercussion there can be will be the fault of the Clave.”

Lydia hums. “You'll never be in a leadership position.”

“Why would I want to lead when it means following the orders of people who don’t mind massacring all of us for a relic?”

The blonde woman sighs slightly, but she doesn’t answer for a long time. Izzy takes the time to smoke her cigarette, looking at the way the smoke disappears slowly in the night sky.

“So you’re willing to take a chance on what ever you believe is the right thing, even if that means going against the orders you’ve been given?”

“Without any hesitation.”

There is silence again before Lydia crushes the butt of her cigarette against the stone, Izzy mimicking her a few seconds later. Lydia steps away from Izzy silently and she only turns back when she has reopened the door.

“Thank you Isabelle. You should get some sleep now.”

She leaves, closing the door behind her. Izzy stares at the door, the smell of cigarette surrounding her. She still has no idea of what the hell just happened.

---

Alec wakes up to his phone ringing loudly next to his ear. He had been dreaming pleasantly for once, the lasting effect of kissing Magnus. He still can barely believe it, that the warlock actually reciprocate his feelings. They are... something. They haven’t really talked details, but they are definitely something. Nothing could make Alec happier.

He grabs his phone, still smiling widely.

“Alec,” Izzy’s voice come almost urgently through the speakers, but there is an excited thrill in her voice. “You’ve gotta get Magnus and come to the Institute!”

He sits up straighter in his bed, frowning. “What, why?”

“I’ll explain everything when you’re here, but right now you two need to come! Branwell is bringing in all shadow leaders of New York for a special council!”

“A special council?”

“Oh my god, did smooching Magnus completely melt down your brain? Get moving!”

He doesn’t question how she knows what happened; he’s self aware enough to understand that his joy came through their bond, and Izzy has always been quick at understanding others’ feelings, especially his.

“Right. Why isn’t Branwell calling Magnus herself?”

“She knows I have good relations with shadow people.” There is a proud edge to his sister’s voice he doesn’t really understand. She /hated/ the new head of Institute last time they talked. “Meliorn has already agreed to come. Do you think you can get the vampires and the werewolves?”

“I can try at least. Clary’s father is the leader of the Pack, and Magnus is good friend with the new vampire leader.”

“Right, about Clary... how’s the Cup thing going?”

“It’s not, not really. Neither of us is really managing our powers, though she’s getting better. Why?”

“I’m not sure Clary will be welcome at the Institute right now. I have no idea what Branwell’s plans concerning her are just yet.”

“I don’t think she’ll like being sidelined like this.”

“It’s not sidelining! It’s ... making sure she’s safe? And not within the grip of the Clave.”

The treacherous edge to his sister’s words pleases Alec, somehow. The Clave is nothing more than a rotten organization and he wants to show that to the world. He is glad she’s seeing it too.

“Alright. I’ll see what I can do. I’ll keep you updated.”

They exchange a few more words before he hangs up but nothing very important. He stands up, slipping on a T-shirt. He doesn’t think Magnus will be too hard to convince but there are other leaders to talk to.

Magnus is in the kitchen with Simon and Eve when Alec arrives there. Alec hesitates for an instant, unsure of how he should act with Magnus, but the warlock has none of those concerns. Crossing over to Alec, Magnus kisses him and Alec smiles in the kiss, unable to stop himself from pecking the other man’s lips for another one. It feels right to be like this with Magnus, without any shame or concern for the other people present.

“Oh wow so you two really are together uh!”

Magnus chuckles at Simon’s words and Alec glares at the vampire.

“Alright alright I’m not saying anything anymore!”

“Thank you, that would be appreciated.” Magnus teases a bit and squeezes Alec’s hand, walking back to the stove. “But yes, we are together.”

The words warm Alec to his core and he follows Magnus, stealing a piece of toast from the table and kissing Eve’s forehead on the way.

“Can we talk?” He says this gently, putting a hand on the lower back of the warlock.

“Do we need to be in private for this or can we do this here?”

“Here is fine,” Alec says and he can sense Magnus relaxing under his palm.

“My sister wants us to go to the Institute and convince Luke and the leader of the vampires to go with us.”

“Did she say why?”

“No, but she didn’t sound like it was anything of worry... She was quite excited, actually.”

“Excited? About the leaders of the Shadow World being brought in the Institute?”

Alec shrugs. “Meliorn already agreed to come. And I’ll be there too, and my sister, and Jace as well. You’re Magnus Bane, High Warlock of Brooklyn. They can’t do anything to you... And if they even try, I’ll be there to protect you.”

Magnus smiles softly at Alec’s declaration, but there is still some worry in his eyes. He nods though.

“I’ll come, and get Raphael to come as well. If you think it’s a good idea, then I trust your judgment.”

“Can I come too?” Eve’s voice pipes up from the table and Alec laughs a bit.

“Absolutely not, little miss.” Magnus comes to sweep his daughter in his arms when she pouts. “If the vampires go, it means that it’s at night, and your bedtime hasn’t changed!”

“But it’s important! And I don’t want to go to auntie Cat again.” She’s still pouting, her arms crossed as Magnus puts her back on the chair.

“Hey, maybe you can stay here and teach me more about magic,” Simon suggests with a smile. “I’m really new to all this, and Clary and I are trying to get better at it. You think you could help us?”

She looks at him, squinting slightly. Alec watches her as she tries to decipher if this is somehow a trap, but she nods eagerly.

“Alright! I’ll teach you everything!”

Eve sounds so excited Alec can’t help but laugh slightly. It’s reassuring to know that children remain children, no matter what.

---

Walking back to the Institute is surreal that evening. It’s barely been two months and yet Alec feels like he is going to a foreign territory. He grew up in the damn place, but it’s so strange. Last time he saw it was the day of his deruning. He was in so much pain and so full of rage... He’s a completely different person now.

“Everything alright Alexander?” Magnus is walking by his side; they had decided to portal at the entrance of the park, to give themselves some time before arriving at the Institute.

“Just... it’s strange. To be back here, I mean. I’ve avoided this area each time I went out to hunt, and now...”

“Now you’re back and you aren’t getting your old life back,” Magnus finishes gently.

“I don’t want that life back anyway. I like this life I have with you and Eve... I wouldn’t want my powers to be bound up again. And honestly... Being with you is much more important to me than being with other Nephilim.”

Magnus doesn’t say anything, but Alec can see the words have flustered him. It’s not anything that Alec doesn’t mean wholeheartedly though. He’s in love with Magnus, he would fight on the whole world for him and to have him by his side, if it made Magnus happy. There is nothing now that would stop Alec from loving him, unless Magnus doesn’t love him anymore.

“I don’t think Izzy told anyone I would be there with you,” he says to break the silence. “Knowing her, she’s making Branwell pass some sort of test to see how she reacts to my presence.”

“You don’t mind?”

“Not really. If Branwell can’t deal with a deruned Nephilim, then I don’t think she will be very interesting to you and other shadow leaders. I don’t mind being a test subject if it helps determine whether she is to be trusted or not.”

Magnus nods and they walk the last few meters in silence. The Institute is more imposing than Alec remembers, more stern and less welcoming. The comfort of Magnus’ home shine much brighter when they face the old church.

Izzy and Jace are waiting at the door, pacing a bit anxiously. They are waiting for them to get closer, clearly on some door duty of some sort. He knows them, they would already be next to him otherwise. He can see Meliorn waiting with them, and Luke is on the phone a few feet away.

The Alpha of the New York pack is looking good, for how wounded he had been less than a week ago. He has Maia with him and Alec nods at them both.

“Alec!” Izzy rushes to him and he catches her in his arms as she leaps from the last step of the Institute.

Even if he saw her the previous week, he has missed her terribly. Holding her in his arms is a bit of a relief, the parabatai bond strong between them again. They aren’t far apart at most times, but there is really an enhancement of their bond when they are physically close that always gives him a rush of energy.

She’s a bit strange tonight, something different about the way she stands. She’s withholding something from him but he won’t question her right now. It can wait. They have more urgent matters.

“So, what’s going on Isabelle?” Magnus smiles at her. “It’s highly unusual that we are all brought together.”

“Maybe we should wait for the vampire leader before—“

“I’m here.”

Raphael just arrived, his suit crisp as he looks annoyed at the rest of the group. He exchanged a nod with Magnus, Meliorn and Luke. Alec had forgotten they all know each other already. There is a Shadow Cabinet, Magnus had told him, that met every month or so, with leaders from the city, and, if the matter at hand was big enough to warrant it, leaders from throughout the country.

“Oh, well, welcome.”

Izzy has never been a diplomat, but she has never been one to fear the eyes of others. Why would she? She’s one of the brightest Nephilim, definitely the smartest one in New York City, she was born in a good family, and she has the advantage of being beautiful. Alec has always been more diplomatic than her, but people always tended to gravitate around her.

“Let’s all go inside, the Head of Institute will want to explain why she has asked you all to come here.”

Meliorn follows her first, Luke and Raphael go after, and Magnus goes while Jace catches up with Alec quickly.

“Hey,” they exchange a quick hug and the blond smiles. “It’s good to see you.”

“It’s good to see you too. Any idea of what’s going on?”

“Not really,” Jace shrugs. “Yesterday Iz couldn’t stand the sight of Lydia but this morning they spent three hours talking in Lydia’s office. And then Lydia announced that no one except scheduled patrols were to go out of the Institute, and Izzy called you.”

Alec hums, frowning slightly. He has never known Izzy to forgive quick, but there is something else at play here clearly.

“So, you and Magnus?” There is a smirk in Jace’s voice and Alec turns his head to him with a surprised glance. “Izzy mentioned something about being awake because you were too stupidly happy last night, so I assumed you finally got your man.”

Alec sighs but he smiles slightly still, the memory of the kisses still strong in his mind. “Yeah.”

“You’re whipped!”

Alec shrugs. He doesn’t see the point in denying it.

“I’m happy for you Alec,” Jace says and claps him on the shoulder.

They are walking through the corridor that leads into the Institute and Alec wonders what is awaiting them. Nothin has changed here, everything still so pristine and cold. How could he have ever thought this was the way life was supposed to be lived? Now that he has experienced something else, he realizes how sheltered and closed off shadow hunters are. He wonders how long this can go on, especially with the secrets the Clave is keeping. What will happen when they learn about him? How will Lydia Branwell, Clave envoy who has just taken over his mother’s post, react when she sees him?

He pushes the questions away from his mind as they step into a large council room he has rarely seen used. A blond woman, strict and stern looking, is waiting in front of a chair. There is no other shadow hunters in the room.

Lydia Branwell stands proudly, and she doesn’t seem destabilized at all when her eyes cross his. She looks at all the shadow leaders and nods.

“Thank you all for coming. I understand that you may have doubts about why I have asked for you to come, but hopefully those will be assuaged by the end of this meeting.”

“And what does this meeting concern?” Meliorn asks this without any malice, but he fixes Branwell without blinking. Alec is reminded that the last time Seelies has a deal with the Clave, they lost two persons to Valentine’s madness.

“Valentine and Jocelyn Morgenstern are back in town, and they are seeking to annihilate both Do—“

She stops herself, looks at Izzy and starts again. “They are seeking to annihilate all Shadow People. Idris has decided not to send any help and will not help us protect the city. Because of that, I have made the decision to ask for your help.”

Chapter Text

The whole room stands stunned as they look at Lydia Branwell. Magnus looks at the woman with a bit of a frown. She doesn’t seem perturbed at all by the looks of the people around her, but he notices that her eyes keep returning to Alexander more regularly than to other. He guesses that under her façade of indifference and unwavering confidence, she is still startled by the appearance of a deruned Nephilim. Though, if she even attempts to say anything to Alexander…

“Sit down, please,” Lydia says in a diplomatic tone, gesturing to the chairs around her. “I see some of you have brought advisors with you. If there is no opposition to it, I would ask Isabelle Lightwood to stay here as my advisor. Most of you know her already, and she has had relatively good relationships with other Shadow People, at least comparing to other Nephilims.”

She speaks quite elegantly, Magnus notices. She must have talked over her speech with Izzy, and at least she is trying. Magnus nods at Raphael, Meliorn and Luke, and sits down. Alexander sits down next to him, his hand coming to rest on Magnus’ knee discreetly. It’s a small gesture, but it speaks volume about their developing relationship.

“Alright, we will listen to your proposition." Meliorn nods at Lydia as well.

“Thank you.” Lydia sits down with Isabelle and looks around. “I understand this is unusual, but I hope we can build a relationship on mutual respect and trust. Our city is in danger, the Clave will not send any help, and the shadowhunters of this Institute can’t fight on their own. We’ll be massacred. For the good of my people, of all our people, I am seeking your help. You don’t have to make a decision right away, but I urge you to think fast. The Morgensterns are in New York as we speak, and we have no idea where the Mortal Cup is. If they were to get it, it would be disastrous.”

“They won’t.” Alexander has spoken up, looking at Lydia with a look of defiance. “The Mortal Cup has been secured and put away.”

The room shifts a bit. Only Lydia and Raphael aren’t aware of where the Mortal Cup is, after all, but no one had expected Alec to speak up. No one had expected him to say /this/ at least. Magnus wishes he hadn’t, that they could have kept this to themselves, but now that it is done, there is no time for regrets.

“You know where the Cup is then?” Lydia asks this, her attention fully focused on Alexander. “If you do, will you consider turning it over to shadowhunters?”

She is treating him like he isn't a Nephilim anymore, Magnus realizes with some shock. Alexander isn’t a shadowhunter, isn’t part of the Nephilim anymore. He is a Shadow Leader to her, and she treats him like all the other Shadow Leaders in the room. Magnus wonders if Alexander is alright with this, if it hurts him to be in his old home and treated as if he had never been part of it. It must hurt, but there is nothing that indicates it on Alexander’s face. He is impassible, calm and poised. He is a diplomat here, not Magnus’ Alexander, not the man who this very morning traded soft kisses with him.

“No.”

Lydia stills her movements and considers Alexander, something a bit more dangerous in her eyes. She wants the Cup back, everyone in the room can tell that, but this is the defining moment of this meeting. If she decides to respect that another Shadow Person has the Cup and will not give it back, she might get them all to agree. If she demands it back however… It will turn the room against her, and nothing she or Isabelle might say will convince Raphael and Meliorn. Luke, simply because he was a shadowhunter, was a Nephilim until Valentine betrayed him, is probably ready to agree to help, but Maia at his side doesn’t seem to be. Magnus would be willing to help, but he has to protect his people first, and if Alexander walks out of the meeting, he will follow him.

The silence stretches out for a few more seconds before Lydia bows her head slightly. “Very well. I hope that it may be returned to the Institute in the future, but I understand that it is not the right time for it.”

Everyone relaxes slightly. Isabelle breathes out a bit and Magnus smiles at her gently. The young woman has grown in the month or so he has known her, and he can see she is trying her best.

“Alright, now that this is over,” Raphael says a bit impatiently, “what exactly are you expecting of us? And what is in it for us?”

Magnus straightens up in his chair. There is no beating around the bush allowed, and in a way he is thankful for that. The faster he knows exactly what Lydia Branwell is asking, the faster he can make his decision.

“As I said, we are seeking an alliance. The Morgensterns will not be expecting us to be allied with other Shadow People, and this may give us an advantage. Most of you have already fought Valentine as well, and we could all use your expertise. I have tried to access the database from Idris to see past accounts of battle, but I could find nothing. It seems that they are either not in the system or restricted to my own access.”

“Are you saying your own level of clearance is not enough to allow you to fight properly against the Circle?”

Magnus doesn’t ask this to be malicious, but he wants to know. He knows the Branwell family, they are a good family who always had exemplary relations with the Clave. In addition from her family name, Lydia has recently been appointed Head of Institute here. She should have one of the top most clearance, especially in the area.

“I think that rather, the Clave is purposefully trying to keep any informations about the Circle hidden. This meeting is not... Clave-approved.”

It pains her to say this, Magnus can see the way she is battling with what she knows is the right thing to do versus what she has been taught she should do. It’s a very brave thing to do.

“So by allying with you, we risk alienating the Clave.” Luke states this calmly but everyone hears the implication underneath: Why should they put themself and their people at risk?

“For now, Valentine is much more dangerous than the Clave. And if it comes to that... I have made the decision on my own to ask for your help, knowing fully well the consequences my actions might bring me. If the Clave prosecute someone, it will be me.”

Now, that impresses Magnus. She is fully aware of how the Clave treats the people they consider traitors. They are either imprisoned in the City of Bones, deruned and exiled, or simply executed. That she is putting herself on the line this way, it makes her even more interesting.

“Alright,” Luke nods and leans back in his chair. “We will listen to you.”

The others nod and agree, and then eyes turn to Magnus.

“I will not go against the opinion of fellow Shadow Leaders,” he says diplomatically, “and I respect your dedication to protecting the city. You have not answered one very particular question though: What is it that you expect us to do?”

There is a beat of silence in the room and Lydia turns to Izzy.

“Would you like to explain?”

The young woman nods and looks at everyone in the room with the same attentive gaze.

“The idea would be to partner up...”

---

Clary laughs brightly as Simon falls to the ground, having been overcome by Eve’s magic. The little girl is giggling as she climbs over the vampire’s back, and when Simon turns, he catches her in his arms and starts tickling her.

“Well look who I caught!”

“No,” Eve protests in between bouts of laughter, “I caught you first!”

Simon turns his eyes to Clary. “Tell us, o wise one, who wins this ferocious fight of ours?”

His theatrics make her laugh even harder. It feels so good to be laughing again, to be joyful and carefree with her best friend.

She schools her features into something more serious, trying to keep in the joy bubbling in inside her.

“It is my most objective ruling that Miss Eve won this fight.”

“Treachery!”

Simon’s cry of fake anguish only makes Eve gloat more and Clary laughs again, until her cheeks ache. This is good.

She brings Eve back to her bedroom half an hour later, when it’s time for the little girl to go to sleep. Eve sticks to her side, yawning a bit even as she protests her bedtime.

“It’s not fair, I’m not tired. I want to wait until Magnus and Alec are back from seeing Izzy!”

She yawns again and pouts when Clary chuckles.

“What about this: we get you to bed and I’ll tell you whatever story you want, and then if you’re still awake we’ll see if your dads are back. Okay?”

Eve looks at her a bit shyly as they get into the bedroom and nods.

“Are they really my dads?”

Clary flounders. She didn’t know Alec and Magnus hadn’t had that conversation with her, shit.

“Well, um, I mean...”

“Do you think they want to be my dads?” Eve looks down as she climbs into bed. “I’m not always nice and I keep breaking stuff...”

“Oh sweetheart.” Clary comes to sit on her bed and caresses her cheek. “They love you so much, of course they want to be your dads. Magnus already says you are his daughter, you know? And Alec, he loves you so much too. I haven’t been here very long and I know that. They would be so happy to be your dads if that’s what you want.”

“They really love me?” The girl’s voice is so hesitant it breaks Clary’s heart. She remembers what Eve had told them about her mother and it makes her so angry than anyone hurt this bright kid.

“Yes, they really do honey. You’re their little star, you illuminate their lives.”

It hurts to say this a bit. Clary remembers when her own mother used to say this to her. It had stopped when Clary had come out, and now... At least she still has Luke. She still has a family with him, and with Simon and Dot too. Her entire world has shifted, but she hasn’t lost everything. She has gained a lot, in truth. Eve, Magnus, Alec.... Even Izzy and Jace, who always make sure she is doing well whenever they can. They are all important to her.

She caresses Eve’s hair gently and smiles. “You know, you’ll have to tell them yourself you want them to be your dads. I think they are afraid you don’t want that.”

“Magnus and Alec are never afraid,” Eve declares while crossing her arms, sure of herself. “They are super strong and the best and they aren’t afraid of anything.”

“I think they are very, very afraid of something happening to you. When you love someone a lot, it makes you worry that the other person isn’t going to do fine. Especially when you grow up and you start seeing all the bad things there are.”

“Magnus always says there is a lot of good things that balances out the bad things.”

The little girl settles in bed comfortably, looking at Clary heavy-lidded.

“It’s true. Love is one of those very good things that balance out the bad things. But enough heavy talk, what story do you want me to read?”

After finishing reading the story and slipping out of the bedroom as quietly as she can, Clary goes back to Simon. He’s sitting in the kitchen, drinking blood out of a tall glass. It could almost be mistaken for a cocktail, if no one looked too closely.

“Hey,” she says as she sits down with a glass of water. “How are you doing? We haven’t really... talked, in a while.”

Simon nods and smiles a bit. “Lots of things on our minds. It’s nice to have this moment with you though. I know Ragnor is around somewhere and Eve is sleeping, but it’s kind of like being alone. We can finally really talk, without anyone else chiming in.”

She agrees and drinks a bit. “First thing first, I wanted to properly apologize... Foe making the decision to have you become a vampire. We haven’t talked much about it, but I... I love you like my brother, and I couldn’t stand life without you.”

“I know,” he answers with a sigh. “I forgive you. If the roles had been reversed... I’m pretty sure I would have done the same.”

At that, she smiles slightly and reaches for his hand, squeezing it.

“How are you holding up though?”

She looks away at his question, both avoiding it and giving herself some time to answer.

“I don’t really know. Everything is so complicated... there is something that feels right about being part of this world, you know? Like I was meant to be here my whole life. But at the same time... I lost my mother and I lost the idea of a father I had. My mother... she’s a monster. I don’t know if I can even reconcile that person to the mother I had when I was growing up.”

Simon nods gently. “I know. Well, I don’t, not really, but I understand. And I’m here for you if you need to talk things through. You were there for me when my father died, and I want to be there for you just the same. You and me, always, right?”

He smiles and squeezes her hand, and she nods. She has Simon, something new between them that has built on their already existing friendship. The sometimes echoing heartbeat she hears, slow and almost nonexistant, she knows it’s his heart. They are together and for that she’s infinitely grateful.

“You and me, always,” she echoes with a smile.

---

Alec is just stepping out of the council room with Magnus and Jace when a voice calls him from inside. He turns around, wondering what Lydia wants with him now. She hasn’t ignored him throughout the meeting, but she hasn’t acknowledged that he used to be like her, to some extent.

“Could I talk to you for a moment?” She’s still inside the room, standing now, and Izzy has finished gathering the papers they had brought out.

“Sure,” he shrugs and looks at Magnus and Jace. “I’ll catch up right after.”

The two nods and Alec squeezes Magnus’ shoulder with a smile. The warlock nods and keeps walking with Jace, Izzy catching up with them quickly.

Alec steps back inside the room and looks at Lydia head on.

“What is it?”

“I meant to... ask you about your deruning. I know it’s a sensitive topic, so I would understand if-“

“Ask away, Miss Branwell.” He wasn’t expecting that, and he isn’t sure he wants to answer whatever questions she has, but he can at least try. After this meeting, he has to at least try to have a good relationship with her.

“You openly defied the Clave, for years. When it came to your trial, you didn’t once ask for forgiveness... The Soul Sword never detected a lie in your soul when you said you had always been like this, and that it was the will of the Angels. Do you truly believe that, even now?”

He smiles slightly. He knows what she is seeking.

“I do. I truly believe that my existence was meant by the Angels, and that there is nothing that could have stopped me from becoming myself, at one point or the other. I was lucky to have the support of my mother, of my siblings as well. Yes, I defied the Clave and was punished for it but I don’t regret it. Not at all. Why would I ask for forgiveness when there is nothing wrong in what I did?”

“So you don’t regret it, even if you lost... well, even if you’re now a mundane?”

He isn’t going to tell her about his powers, or what he has discovered about the Nephilim’s true abilities. He doesn’t know her well, doesn’t trust her either. He can tell Izzy has learned to appreciate her, to a certain extent, but he isn’t really sure how far Izzy believes in Lydia. After all, she did say not to bring Clary because she didn’t know what was the new Head of Institute’s plan concerning her.

However, Alec can tell her some things. Lydia is clearly looking for some reassurance, for something that makes her feel better about what she is doing. She is, after all, going against the order of the Clave by putting the Institute in High Alert. Allying with the Shadow Leaders isn’t against the law of the Clave, but it’s definitely something frowned upon. Especially if they are going against shadow hunters. The Circle might be a group of rogue shadow hunters who has, in the past, killed many Shadowhunters, they remain Nephilim. And Nephilim’s lives, according to the Clave, are much more important than other shadow people’s.

“No, I don’t regret it. I might not be a Shadowhunter anymore, but I’m still part of the Shadow World. I haven’t lost my family, I had their support in this, as I said. And those who decided that I was not worth it anymore now that I was not part of the Shadowhunter society anymore… I don’t really think I miss them. After all, why would I? They don’t accept the person that I am now, and I would rather live in peace and with people who love me than fighting all the time against people I have known my whole life. I made my choice and I know that it is the right one, so I don’t regret it.”

Lydia is silent for a few moments. She is a stern woman who is not used to disobeying orders and to taking initiative that go directly against what is generally accepted, he can tell from the way she had been uncomfortable a few times throughout the previous discussion. Still, he admires her determination to do what she believes needs to be done, and what she thinks is the right thing. At least, the Institute isn’t in too bad hands, he thinks to himself.

“Thank you,” she finally answers. "For what it’s worth… I don’t believe you should have been deruned.”

Alec shrugs slightly. “I have made my peace with it. I have other things in my life now.”

“Right.” Lydia looks almost frightened at that idea, but she nods again, closing the discussion like this.

Alec bids her goodbye and leaves the room, quickly catching up with Magnus, who is talking with the other Shadow Leaders. He almost disturbs them, but he sees Izzy from the corner of his eyes and frowns. She isn’t looking alright, and he can feel some distress from her. Quickly, he walks over to her.

“Everything alright?”

“Yup,” she answers with an over-eager nod, and if he wasn’t sure she was lying, this cements his certainty, “fine as rain!”

“Why are you lying to me?"

“I’m not lying!”

He levels her with a stern look and she sighs deeply. He can feel exhaustion coming from her, but he can also see it in the tiredness of her eyes, and the way she almost trembles with cold.

“Come on, Izzy. We are parabatais, we can't lie to each other…”

She looks away quickly before slowly showing him her left hand, which had been hidden beneath her jacket a few seconds ago. Around it, there is a faint red glow, and he realizes her angelic rune in the middle of her chest is faded to barely nothing from where it peeks over her mesh shirt.

“Oh,” he breathes softly. He doesn't know how to feel about this.

“Yeah…” She hides back her hand and looks down. “I’m so sorry Alec, I promise I didn’t mean for it to happen!”

He hugs her, dragging her in his arms. He can feel her panic rising, the way shame and guilt curl up in her guts.

“It’s alright,” he says gently. “We'll figure it out.”

Izzy almost sobs in relief as she holds onto him, and he holds her tightly. They’ll figure out what’s the best way for her to keep going, he is sure of it.

---

“We should all discuss this privately," Magnus says, keeping an eye on the Lightwood siblings. Jace has joined Alexander and Isabelle and they are talking in soft voices a bit away.

“Where do you propose we go?" Luke asks this, looking at the Institute behind them. “The Hunter’s moon?”

Maia shakes her head. “Can't, there are mundanes who come in randomly.”

“We could go to the DuMort," Raphael suggests, but immediately Maia bristles. “Well, not if the pup is going to behave that way.”

“Don’t call me a pup,” Maia snarls.

Magnus sighs and creates a portal. "If that's alright with everyone, we’ll go to my place.”

“What about your shadowhunter boyfriend?" Raphael asks. “This has to be a strictly non-Nephilim talk.”

Magnus levels his friend with a stern look, but the vampire doesn’t back down. “Fine. Alexander, who is no longer a Shadowhunter might I remind you, will not participate in the meeting. I’m sure he’ll be more than happy to spend sometime with his siblings anyway.”

Alexander and his siblings walk closer to them, Izzy still tight against her parabatai. He can sense the shift coming in her; her magic is awaking. She is panicked by that, he can tell. Even with her brother’s example, this is stepping out of everything she has ever known. This is scary for her.

“Magnus,” Alexander starts and Magnus doesn't need him to finish to know what he is about to ask.

“Yes, your siblings can come with you. I've invited Luke, Maia, Meliorn and Raphael to discuss tonight’s events however, and it’s a strictly non-Nephilim talk.”

Alexander nods, no smile on his handsome face but his eyes tender. Magnus could kiss him a thousand times and never get bored of his face, of the way he makes him feel. It’s strange, but not unwanted. Magnus has never felt as strongly for someone as he feels for Alexander, and they have only known each other for two months and been dating for barely a day. Although, the younger man did start off by saying he was in love with Magnus… Which Magnus echoed. He supposes they are both quite intense in their emotions.

“We’ll stay put, I swear."

Magnus smiles. He trusts him to hold his word, and to keep his siblings in check.

“Alright, then off we go everyone."

---

“So, what’s going to happen to Izzy?”

Jace is pacing in Alec’s bedroom. He doesn’t like feeling this trapped, doesn’t like that he can’t walk out at any moment. He doesn’t like this lack of freedom. Technically, he gets why he has been asked to stay here, with Izzy and Alec. He is happy to be with his siblings too. But he is also restless. He wants to fight against the man who murdered his father. He wants his revenge. He’s been thinking about it ever since he was brought to the Lightwoods.

“Nothing is going to happen to Izzy,” Alec says reassuringly. “It’s her choice of what to do now. Her powers aren’t developed yet, so she can stay in the Institute.”

“What if I don’t want to?” Izzy crosses her arms, looking stubborn.

Jace doesn’t want to say it, but the very idea of being in the Institute without either of his siblings terrify him. He doesn’t want to be without them. Adjusting without Alec has been tough, especially since Izzy had retreated within herself at his departure. But without her too? He would be alone, without even his adoptive mother and... he doesn’t think he would like it.

“You don’t want to lose contact with mom and Max,” Alec says gently.

Jace looks at his brother and he can see the grief in his eyes. The loss... Jace is being selfish. He comes to sit next to Izzy and Alec and puts his arm around his sister, and she leans her head into his shoulder.

“It’s okay Iz,” he says softly. “We are going to leave together, okay? When we are ready.”

Both his siblings look at him, astonished. Jace’s reason of being has always been the Institute, the hunts... But his siblings matter more to him right now. And well...

“We won’t have to stop fighting demons and protecting our world,” he reminds Izzy. “Alec does it all the time, and he is part of our team.”

Alec smiles a bit and holds Izzy too. They are all linked now, in a way they haven’t been in a while. This feels good. Finally, they are back to the harmony they haven’t had in a long time.

“Let’s all go hunt together tomorrow, alright?” Alec smiles at his siblings. “Let’s see how we do it this way.”

Jace and Izzy nods. This is a nice idea, and it will be useful too. With the Morgenstern out there, New York isn’t too safe. They are the best team there is in the city, and it’s nice to know they’ll be back out there together.

---

Simon catches Raphael before he leaves Magnus’ apartment. He has been meaning to talk to him ever since he came here, but he didn’t know how to reach him.

“Ah, you’re here.” Raphael’s tone is flat, almost as if it comes to no surprise that Simon is here. Maybe it doesn’t. “What do you want?”

“Um, well. Thanks for helping me out that first day, really, but I’m staying here now.”

“You belong with your clan, Simon, with us. Magnus and the others here, they can’t understand you the way we can.”

“I don’t think you can either,” Simon days with a slight wince. “I’m not... I’m not normal anymore.”

This time, Raphael rolls his eyes. “Yes, you’re a vampire now, not a mundane.”

“No, I mean... I’m not normal for a vampire either. I can move in the daylight. I don’t burn in the sun.”

That startles Raphael. “How? You aren’t anything special, how come you get to be a Daylighter? What did you do?”

Raphael grabs him by the collar, pushing him against the wall and trying to read into his eyes. “Tell me!”

“Dude, Holy shit calm down! I don’t know!” Well, Simon does, but he isn’t about to tell Raphael that he got like this after drinking Clary’s blood, he doesn’t want his best friend to be the target of every vampire in town if this gets known.

“You are lying! Tell me.” The pressure against his neck tightens and Simon may not need to breathe anymore but this is very uncomfortable still.

“Listen man, I really don’t know and you’re really not—“

“Raphael, enough of this,” Ragnor’s voice comes from further in the hallway and instantly Raphael lets go of Simon.

“This is vampire business, Ragnor," the older vampire says, still stopping Simon from moving away. “If he can help us all, then he has a duty to us all to do so.”

“Why would he help you, dear boy? You are threatening him, and you refuse to accept his word for what it is. If I were him, I certainly wouldn’t help you.”

Raphael glares at the old warlock, but he finally lets Simon go, who promptly moves away and close to Ragnor. He doesn’t really know what’s going on between Ragnor and Raphael; as far as he knows, they are good friend. At least, according to Magnus. So why is everything so tense? Is it because of him? It probably is. Simon is extremely aware that his newfound ability to exist in the daylight as a vampire sets him apart from the others, and that many others would probably kill to be able to do this as well, but that’s exactly why he refuses to tell anyone how he got the ability. They wouldn’t necessarily go after him, but after Clary. And he won’t let anyone hurt his best friend. She’s more than that, she’s his sister, his Shadow half. There is something that links them, that’s what Catarina had said the other day. Simon knows the truth of it, because he can feel her wherever they are. Like a shadow heartbeat.

“Fine.” Raphael relents. "I won't threaten him again. But it’s selfish of him to keep that to himself. He could help our people!”

“I would,” Simon says quietly, and both men look at him. He stands without flinching, the certitude that he is doing what’s right giving him strength. “But I don’t believe it would help. And I don’t believe it would work, even if I knew what exactly made me become like this. If I was sure I could help you, I would.”

He isn’t lying. He would help Raphael, and all other vampires, if he truly thought that there was a magical formula that would make them able to stand the sun. But he isn’t fully convinced it’s just Clary’s blood who is making like this. What if it’s their bond?

“I’m a vampire too,” he tells Raphael, looking into the eyes of the other man. “I would help our people if I could.”

This is the first time Simon really admits it to himself. This is who he is now. Simon Lewis, queer jewish vampire. What a mouthful…

---

Alec breathes deeply the air of early morning in New York. He has been cooped up inside too long, it feels good to be out hunting again. Especially with Izzy and Jace at his sides. It feels right.

It’s a different feeling from before though. His skin tingles, his power awake as he holds his seraph blade. He really misses his bow, but he blade has gotten more familiar now. It won’t ever be his favorite weapon though. It feels wrong in his palm, and he knows he is a lesser fighter with it. Their team is slightly unbalanced by that. He used to be the team leader, able to call wide shots and long distance danger. Now, they don’t have that anymore. Izzy, with her whip, is the one who has the longest range, and they all know it puts them in more danger than before. Alec has his power though, and so does Izzy, even if she doesn’t know how to use them.

“We’ll be fine,” Izzy says, reassurance flooding Alec through their bond. “Stop stressing out so much.”

“What you need is just to kill a demon,” Jace says with a shrug, ever the tactful one when it comes to people’s emotions. “Just, get it out of your system, and get over yourself. You’ll be fine after that.”

Alec chuckles slightly at that. “Right," he says simply and clasps his brother on the shoulder.

They are glamoured, and he knows he is as well, strangely enough. It’s nothing much, but he had seen Jace and Izzy activate their runes, and he had simply focused on it as well. He isn’t absolutely certain mundanes can’t see him, but there is something in him that tells him that it’s not something to worry about. Which is to say something, since he is already worried about so many things.

For example, he is worried that Magnus will be mad at him, since he left without really warning him. Last night, the three Lightwoods had fallen asleep before the end of the meeting between the Shadow Leaders, and this morning Magnus was still sleeping when they had left. Alec wrote a note and left it on Magnus’ door, but still. He would have liked to be able to tell Magnus what he was going to do, warn him a bit. It doesn’t feel right to have left without warning him.

Fond annoyance washes over him from Izzy and he bites his lips a bit.

“Sorry?” He looks at her and she rolls her eyes, jostling him slightly. “Hey, it’s not my fault I’m happy!”

“Right,” she laughs a bit. "What about keeping your thoughts to yourself though?”

“My thoughts?” He looks at her a bit strangely. “I didn’t say anything out loud. Did I?”

Jace shakes his head, looking slightly confused. Izzy frowns at them both and stops walking, crossing her arms.

“Come on, it’s not funny guys. I heard Alec talking, like two seconds ago! He was saying that he should have told Magnus we were leaving.”

“He didn’t say anything Izzy," Jace says with a frown. “Are you sure you aren’t just… thinking he said that? Because you can feel his emotions?”

“No!” She protests, frowning, and Alec realizes what she means.

Her lips are not moving, but he can hear her voice, clear as day. “I can’t believe they are trying to pull a prank on me, we aren’t 10 anymore.”

“Holy shit.” He looks at her. "You literally heard my thoughts.”

“That’s not possible.”

“Maybe it wasn’t before, but you’re losing your runes, and I’ve been without them for weeks. I just heard you thinking, I swear to the Angels.”

She frowns, but she still doesn't look convinced as she crosses her arms, and she keeps her lips tightly closed as she thinks. “Prove it.”

“What do you want me to prove? I can't exactly go looking for every thoughts of yours.” He rolls his eyes as she looks slightly astonished. “I told you we are not lying!”

“But—“

“Guys,” Jace interrupts them, having moved away from them as they were talking. He is close to a small street and frowning. “Come check this out.”

They’ll come back to this later. Right now, they move to Jace’s side and look at the alley. Despite the early sun, it’s dark and there is something definitely uneasy moving at the back. It doesn’t feel like a demon though. There is something… Stranger. Jace, Alec and Izzy exchange a look, and they all nod at the same time, before they start moving. Alec is in the centre for once, and Jace and Izzy position themselves on his side, Izzy with her whip and Jace with his seraph blade.

He focuses on his breathing, the way Ragnor has taught him, and grips his own blade tighter as they move forward.

The blast comes without warning. One second they are advancing together, a well-oiled machine, the next Izzy has been sent against a wall, her head knocking against it, the injury reverberating through Alec violently. He winces but doesn’t have time to react more before Jace runs forward, his stele in his left hand having activated his swift-footed rune.

“I’m alright,” Izzy says, or thinks, he isn't sure anymore. “Go with Jace, I’ll be right there.”

He nods without looking at her and keeps going. The more he moves forward, the more he can see. Jace is fighting against a woman, her hair red just like Clary’s. She’s small and lithe, but there is strength behind her movements, and she is holding Jace at bay with unusual ease. It isn’t often that anyone can hold against Jace in this almost effortless manner. Someone is crouching next to her, hands tied together, and Alec recognizes him. It’s Elliot, the warlock who had betrayed Magnus and the other warlocks. He is in a pitiful state.

Alec looks back at the woman, and he knows who she is. Jocelyn Morgenstern, Clary’s mother. She does look like her daughter, but there is something so vicious in her movements, so angry and deliberate… There is none of the natural grace Clary has, and he briefly wonders where Clary got it when he feels the pain.

In his haste to get back to Jace, he didn't notice the person hiding in the shadows, holding a crossbow. He only notices them now, as a second bolt buries itself in his stomach. Fuck, this hurts.

He falls to his knees, choking a bit on blood. This isn’t going to be fun to heal from. If he heals from it.

“Alec!” Izzy’s yell is accompanied by a blast of red fire as she reaches him, cradling him in her arms as he falls backwards. “Alec, come on, stay with me, stay with me!”

She is touching his cheeks worriedly, looking at the wounds and back at his face quickly. He tries to smile, to reassure her, but it only makes her sob more. Red mist is surrounding them now, thick and potent, and Jace reaches them again just as Alec closes his eyes.

The pain dulls a bit now. He is so tired suddenly, he just wants to rest a bit. Just a bit, and then he’ll be good to go again.