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The Curse of the Mortal Cup

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Alec startled from his sleep, sitting bolt-upright in his bed; entire body covered in a thin sheen of sweat, his heart pounding in his ribcage as though trying to escape from his chest- it replayed over and over in his head. Fire. Men. Ghosts. Death. Fire. Men. Ghosts. Death. 

It was always the same thing, over and over and over. He threw back the bedsheets and stumbled over to the curtains, throwing them wide and revelling in the blinding light of the midday sun. 

When their ship had been attacked on their way to Port Royal they had been ripped through by cannons, hounded by the wind and fog that throttled men where they stood; poisoning the very air they breathed. Alec’s heart constricted, breathing becoming difficult.

 

Hodge threw Izzy into the storage room first, then Max, then Jace. He grabbed Alec’s shirt as connonfire hacked through the ship once more, gunfire hitting bluntly at their ears. The waves battered at the portside, rain lashing down on the men outside in silver sheets; Alec screamed at Hodge, screamed for his mother and father, who were fighting out on deck, screamed for his brother and sister, that they might die locked away in a storage room with nobody to protect them. 

Hodge gripped his lanky 12-summer-old arms, and screamed right back. Another shot and it was closer. Another step and the door handle to the quarters turned. Alec fell silent as Hodge pulled a leather string from his neck and pressed it to Alec’s heart, mumbling a few words under his breath; the glass of the pendant hanging from it cool to the touch in his hands.

That was the last time he had seen Hodge Starkweather.

They had been found by their mother, huddled in a corner covered in a linen behind several barrels of drinking water. She had held them all as they cried, the cut of her forehead still oozing blood and her dress torn in several places, their father was next, just as bloodied and bruised as his wife, but he had not held his children; instead he had pulled Alec aside and berated him for not coming back out on deck to truly protect his family. 

The crossing from England had been a difficult one, and their ship had barely made it to Port Royal in one piece; in the years to follow Maryse Lightwood would tell them the story of their journey, of the one outside the double doors of the quarters. The one where the pirates that attacked had simply turned and run the other way, had fallen back in their places, turned and fled back to their ship without a second look back.

Alec’s first night in Port Royal had been riddled with nightmares, so much so that he stood at his balcony, looking out over the town and the ocean, the humid air a stark contrast to that of the biting chill of London. The mood hung high in the sky, glittering off the waves lapping at the cliff-face. The fog of early morning rolled in faster than he had expected, and when his eyes scanned the horizon it morphed and whirled into a ship, torn sails and tattered rigging hanging like a noose. When he blinked again for his eyes to adjust, it was gone.

 

Alec’s eyes adjusted to the light. The ocean was bright and clear, matching the endless blue sky that stretched over the land. There were white sails dotted on the water and the port was full, trade coming and going and all sorts of boats tied up to the dock. The green shrubs outside were being tended to and if Alec listened close enough, he could hear the market stalls in the town. Port Royal was beautiful in the summer.

He twisted the pendant on his neck, the rounded glass soothing him as it twirled through his fingers, calming him.

It was his day today, his commander had taught him everything he needed to know and now it was his turn to be honoured, to finally take over the Shadowhunter and finally be able to take control of his life, of his own choices. 

His promotion ceremony was in another few hours, the pavillion was already set up the night before to prepare for Governor Lightwood’s son to become a Captain of his Majesty's Royal Navy. Robert had told him to be proud of his accomplishments, but he never let him forget the one thing his parents wanted more than any promotion or award: for him to find a suitable wife from a good family and to make heirs to the Lightwood name.

Alec’s stomach twisted at the thought of marrying a woman. It was something he had accepted in himself a long time ago. Izzy had been the first to know after he had realised it himself, then obviously Jace, Max was too young to understand what it meant for Alec to favour men over women. His parents would never understand it, despite them pushing Alec to the best he could ever be and loving his siblings with a fierceness he admired… they would never accept him.

Alec washed away any thoughts of the dream with the heated water of the washroom before dressing in his cotton undershirt and trousers and knocking on Jace’s door. God help him if he had been out drinking the night before.

“Jace you lazy bastard- open the door!” He called, hearing a loud groan he walked right in.

“What? Alec- huh?”

His brother rolled over to get a better look at him, gold eyes squinted and blonde hair sticking up at all odds and ends. Alec just smiled smugly in return and promptly ripped the drapes open. Jace hissed and hid his face in the comforter, yelling profanities.

“Oh shut it- it’s your fault you were out until God knows how early in the morning,” Alec pulled the bedsheets off of him, eliciting a glare from Jace, who had nothing but his nightshirt and underwear on.

“You look like a sad puppy.” Alec said, cocking his head in mock sympathy,

Jace pouted, “I am a sad puppy.”

Alec rolled his eyes, “well I expect you to be bright-eyed and bushy tailed for the ceremony.” 

Jace was about to answer when Izzy barged in, not taking a second glance at a half-dressed Jace and a scolding-mom-zone Alec.

“Mom and Dad want you,” she said, holding out a green apple, “I figured you could eat this to avoid agreeing to marrying some poor girl.”

Alec took the apple, narrowing his eyes at his sister’s obvious jab at his foot-in-the-mouth syndrome that always seemed to get him into the worst situations.

“Stay out of trouble,” he shot a pointed look at the both of them, and walked out, calling back, “AND PUT SOME PANTS ON!”



“We have very good news.” His father said, Alec held his breath, watching how Robert’s left eye twitched, and his shoulders tensed. “I have been contacted- by Commodore Malachi Dieudonne. Apparently in training you have been impressive,” he smiled proudly, making Alec’s heart swell, “he has specifically requested you to follow him on an expedition to the East India Trading Company’s port in Batavia.”

Alec’s heart dropped. To travel the sea and to see the world was his dream, it was all he ever wanted- but to do so now? With his brother barely mature enough to follow orders and his sister still running away from the marriage proposals men older than their father had thrown at her since the day she turned eighteen?

“I can’t.” He choked out, “my fate is here, in Port Royal, to protect the ones I love that are here.”

Alec’s father’s expression changed in a heartbeat as Alec looked back with a determination he had never seen in his son. Alec was not going to leave his family. His siblings were his life and he would rather die than leave them to fend for themselves in a world where they would be forced into roles that would crush their spirits.

He knew what being sent away meant. It meant the end of his siblings freedom in exchange for his own, Izzy would have nobody to save her from being married off. Jace would have nobody to get him out of bar fights and out of the way of their parent’s wrath. 

“Do you have any idea what an honour it is to be chosen for this mission?” Robert raised his voice slightly, making Alec curl in on himself. 

“I understand that, but I won’t leave Jace and Izzy. My duty is to protect the ones I love and I will do that here.” His voice was hard, assertive, something he had never been with Robert. But to have Alec leave his siblings? It was never going to happen.

Robert sat back in his chair, studying his son with an intensity that made Alec look at his shoes like a scolded child. The grandfather clock ticking on the wall was the only catalyst in the silence of the office.

“Fine.” Robert said finally, “you may not take the Commodore up on this opportunity to make the Lightwood name proud.” Alec looked up and saw nothing but a cruel glint in his father’s eyes. “You can stay here in Port Royal, Alec. But you will never amount to anything.”

Alec was dismissed and his feet lead him back to his room, mind going numb and fingers clenching into fists; his father’s words played over and over in his head you will never amount to anything. His family had run into trouble in London; an uncle had somehow disgraced the Lightwood name and they had no other choice but to kiss up to the conclave of nobility looking at them as if they were the ones that offended them. After that honour and status was all that Robert Lightwood cared about- how other people thought of them, what they said and how they said it. It was why Alec had to take the blame for so much; if he could uphold the family status by being perfect and allow those he loved to do whatever they wished- there was really no contest. All it took was a small part of his happiness, and even then it wasn’t that much.

He bypassed everything else and walked straight out onto the balcony, taking off the strap of leather around his neck and holding the glass close to his heart. It was the one constant he had left, a sort of comfort to him when he couldn’t tell Jace or Izzy what was going on inside his head. 

The warmth of the summer air ruffled his hair and he took a deep breath. If he was going to be a disappointment and never be anything in the eyes of his parents he was going to have to work twice as hard to prove them wrong. Follow every rule; every other expectation to make sure that he was not a failure. He was going to make his parents and the Lightwood name proud.

In the distance he counted the boats heading for shore, the way the sails rippled in the wind and the figurehead pointed to the docks, the boat surging forward and slicing through the water. He thought of the Shadowhunter and the power behind it. It had been refurbished in the years he and his family had settled in the bay, and it was truly unmatched in speed and beauty.

“I know it’s shit.” Izzy’s voice pulled him from his thoughts and he quickly threw the necklace over his head, 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he replied nonchalantly, 

Izzy came and stood next to him, “I heard what father said to you, and he’s wrong. Alec,” 

He knew she was trying to make him feel better, but the pity in her eyes reminded him how weak he was. How could he bring honour to the Lightwood name if he could barely make his parents proud?

“I’m fine, Iz,” he said again, keeping his eyes trained on the horizon.

Izzy took a deep breath and fidgeted with her corset dress, it was a lovely blue that she’d helped the seamstress make a few weeks prior; “sometimes I wish we could just leave, y’know?”

Alec’s head snapped to look at her, but she kept looking ahead, a wistfulness in her eyes, “like when we were children; playing with wooden sticks and pretending we were pirates.”

Alec almost laughed at the memory, “we used to pretend that there was treasure hidden in the caves on the beach,”

“Max still has the little wooden sword Jace and you made him,” she giggled, there was a pause.

“I do.”

“Do what?”

“Imagine leaving.”

It wasn’t that Alec was lying; he had often dreamed of leaving Port Royal behind, travelling all over the world in search of something. There had to be more to the world than nobility and politics. Hodge had told them stories about the Old Gods, the myths and legends of the sea and all its power. Jace had written them off as nothing, but Alec always felt as if there was some truth to it. There had to be more.

But his own feelings didn’t matter. There wasn’t any point in him going after what he wanted in life if it meant that everyone else would suffer. No, he was happy to keep his parents and others occupied so that Izzy and Jace and Max could enjoy the life they wanted, the one that they deserved.

Izzy turned to him, blinking and taking a few deep breaths- Alec was about to ask if she was okay when she began speaking again,

“Then why don’t we do it?” Alec’s eyes widened, but Izzy gripped his arm her eyes shining, “why not? Jace isn’t happy here either- and I know you aren’t, we could do it- Hodge taught us enough and we could leave and finally be free, we could be free, Alec- be who we want,” her expression softened, “we could love who we want.”

“What about Max, Iz? We would abandon him?” He snapped, he knew that what she was saying was possible, it was so close and he wanted to go more than anything. That’s what made anger swell in his chest because he couldn’t be that selfish, he couldn’t leave his youngest sibling to fend for himself in the sea of politicians while he was free to roam the earth. Izzy and Jace and Max were safe. They were together. That was all that mattered.

“No,” Izzy hissed back, “I say we take him with us, he’s twelve, he’s old enough to join us on a ship.”

“And old enough to be hanged for piracy if we do.”

That was another fear; of all his fascination the thought of any of his siblings being harmed for piracy or otherwise was unthinkable. He wouldn’t- He couldn’t let that happen.

Izzy was silent, she took her hand off Alec’s arm and held on to the stone wall of the balcony,

“I guess we’re stuck then.” She said, the disappointment clear on her face,

“I’m just trying to protect you guys,” Alec replied, Izzy offered a sad smile,

“Sometimes you have to take care of yourself too. We just want you to be happy,”

“I am happy, Izzy, I have you, and Jace and Max,” he said, both meaning it and not, he was happy with his siblings, just not happy with himself. But himself didn’t matter.

Izzy cast another wistful looks back at the ocean, mind obviously running off with images of the three of them stealing a ship and running away to a foreign land before leaving Alec alone, fiddling with the glass around his neck.

 

~

 

The Fort was littered with red, white and royal blue. 

The red tailcoats formed triangles either side of Alec, leaving a perfectly (ironically) straight  gangway for him to walk down to his father to honour him as Captain Lightwood. The openness of the pavillion made him feel naked in front of the crowd that had gathered to see the ceremony; the sun beat down in hot, heavy swathes that even the breeze couldn’t squash- instead it curled around Alec’s throat, heated anxiety wrapping its claws around him like a noose.

The drum started; a thrumming that nestled itself in Alec’s mind. Each step he took towards his father. He could see Izzy out of the corner of his eye even though his vision came in and out of focus a few seconds at a time. He looked straight ahead, all he had to do was reach his father, make his pledge and move the sword the way he had memorised when he was just a child.

 His blue coat was tight, or at least it felt it was- there were too many layers and the ruffles and long sleeves made it difficult for him to move fluidly, almost fumbling with the sword more than once. The searing heat did not let up, instead seemed to press down even harder as the ceremony wore on. By the end of it Izzy and Jace had walked over, congratulated him before Izzy had said that a corset in the heat was not good for her health. As much as Alec protested to staying at the party Izzy had told him to enjoy his special day. 

So he stayed at the party. Maryse had kissed him on the cheek and said how proud she was of him. Robert said nothing, just a slight incline of the head when he looked his way.

Alec made his way over to the archway at the very edge of the fort. A vertical drop into the water below only hindered by the low wall lining the edge. There was an archway, built of the finest stone- although a decade of tropical storms and salty sea air had weathered it. The bell however, still worked, it was beautiful, old brass and inscribed with the motto that carried his country’s political stance, Sed Lex, Dura Lex: The Law Is Hard, But It Is The Law. 

Alec leaned against the archway, hoping that the salty sea air could calm his raging nerves and take away the heat stroke turning his brain to mush.

It was a moment before he registered he was falling.

The wind whipped through his hair and all he could see was blue- that of the ocean or the sky he didn't quite know until his back hit the raging waves of the sea. White and blue. Sea and foam. Cloud and sky. Alec saw nothing but black.

Somewhere in the recesses of his mind he thought he heard a muffled shout and a heavy pulse in the water- maybe it was Jace, maybe it was the angels calling for him to follow them to the afterlife. He didn’t know. What he did know was that the water was cool, and that within the rhythmic movement of the waves was not a bad place to die.

 

Warm hands replaced cool water as he surged towards the surface. He didn’t see more than felt the strong arms wrap around his waist, pulling him to safety. When he felt the hard surface of the docks he knew he had to open his eyes and to breathe, but he couldn’t. A mental block that stopped his lungs from working; that made his limbs as lifeless as he felt.

The hands were back again, tearing at his coat and his shirt until he could feel his body begin to fight against the invading water. 

Coughing and spluttering Alec rolled over, damp and claggy air coating him in another layer of wet. When he looked up he expected to see Jace as his saviour, but instead was greeted by a pair of beautiful brown eyes and caramel skin.

He was beautiful.

Chapter Text

Magnus had left Raphael to find his wayward crew in Tortuga .Clary and Simon had stayed with him and his first mate while Catarina responded to an emergency with her family on the shores of the southern plains. Maia had returned to the sea for a while to visit her shoal; They had all agreed to meet in two day’s time. All he had to do was find what he needed and steal a ship. A simple task in the best of times but… now it would prove difficult by himself. The pull was fickle at times, sending him in different directions and almost mocking him when he came this close.

The calling of the missing piece had come to him in night terrors, in the form of some siren with dark hair and hazel eyes. Magnus knew the pull of the pieces of the Mortal Cup. The way it tugged and plucked at his soul, coming to him in his dreams and begging to be saved.

Port Royal was where the nightmares had lead him to the shores of the trading docks and the grandness of its forts. Magnus swayed between company both pleasant and unpleasant alike. 

The town was simple, normal for any british settlement along the West Indies and not that of a far cry from the ones in the East. The muddled and mottled brown streets winded their way up to the stately homes of the notoriety of the providence. That’s where he felt the pull, the ancient calling that echoed through his mind.

The dream itself had been… confusing, to say the least, the young man- or, at least that’s how he appeared to be- was beautiful, but he was in pain; such horrifying pain that even as Magnus tried to reach him he seemed to get farther and farther away, sinking into an abyss that wasn’t there.

 He had seen it, the glass, around the young man’s neck, on top of a glittering black rune that spread from his jaw to his collarbone. They were all over his body, curling and swirling around his arms, his legs, everywhere. And still the glass stood out, almost shining on his chest. Magnus had reached and called but nothing happened, he watched, helpless as the gorgeous young man writhed in pain.

He walked around the town for a while, dipping his head into bars and taverns in the hopes of feeling something that might lead him to what he wanted. If only he still had his compass, alas, that had been lost a long time ago. 

Magnus passed a bakery and stopped, stomach growling in protest to the lack of food he’d had over the past weeks. The door chime tinkled as he made his way in, casting glances to the few others in there.

“Small pie, if you will,” Magnus said politely, the young man behind the counter nodded and turned his back;

There were a few rolls of bread, freshly baked and cooling on the countertop. With one swift movement he swept several into the bag hanging from his shoulder. On his way out, munching on the fresh meat pie, he almost felt sorry for the muffled shouting that came from the little building, but then, taking another bite, didn’t. 

 

There was a small knoll on the path leading up to the stately homes and Magnus sat down, feeling the tension in his shoulders dissipate painfully. He groaned and fell back, staring up into the cloudless sky,

“Why are you dressed like a pirate?” Magnus, in all his grace, promptly shot to his feet with a less-than-dignified yelp. He gawked at the little boy standing a few feet away from him, looking curiously at his clothes.

“Why are you not?” Magnus replied, usual suaveness returning as he regained his bearings, the boy huffed out a laugh,

“Can I draw you?” He asked bluntly, moving closer- Magnus noticed the little leather bound book and small pencil, the boy followed his gaze, “my brother and sister gave them to me,”

He introduced himself as Max, and motioned for Magnus to sit across from him. “I have a friend who draws,” Magnus said softly, watching the way Max’s fingers moved fluidly across the page of the book, he smiled, 

“Is she a pirate too?” He asked, 

Magnus chuckled, “yeah, but she’s more the illustrator of my crew.”

Max’s eyes grew wide and for a second Magnus thought he’d raise the alarm; instead he grinned, “what’s your crew like?”

“Well,” Magnus began, leaning forward, “there are two women aboard my ship- and yes, yes, I know it’s bad luck, but they are the most fierce people I have ever known. Clary is our illustrator and our lookout- she’s the loudest of us all,” seeing Max’s enraptured face as he drew only spurred him on. “The other, dear Maia, is a mermaid from the shallows of the south, she left her shoal in order to live a life on land, but never wanted to be far from the sea.” He smiled fondly as he thought back to the crew teaching Maia to walk on two legs- and her turning the air blue. 

“My first mate is grumpier than anyone I have ever met, I’ve heard him yelling words I don’t even want to know the meaning of! But no matter how much he shouts- we all know what a softie he is, he’s in love with our cook, Simon.”

Max looked up from his drawings, furrowed brow- Magnus’ heart slipped. He could tell from the boy’s clothes that he was not a peasant, and he knew that in this world they did not tolerate the likes of him and those like him.

“My brother likes boys.” He stated, “he thinks I don’t know, but I overheard him talking to my sister one day,” he returned to his drawing, “I don’t think any less of him, and I don’t understand why others would.”

Magnus blinked a few times, not entirely believing the unwavering love and acceptance this mystery brother has from his siblings, his lips tug at the corners, a newfound respect for this little group of siblings.

“My brother taught me how to draw.” Max carried on, “well, my eldest brother, Alec, the one I’m talking about. He’s really good.” Max put the pencil between his teeth and flipped the page, showing him another drawing of a young man, smiling on the paper, his large eyes and little dimples sent fear racing through Magnus’ veins. He was the young man from the dream.

Max kept talking, and Magnus tried his best to concentrate. Not thinking about how he was going to get to the young man that had to have something to do with the second piece of glass. He unconsciously put a hand on his satchel, where an identical one lay safely in a pouch. 

Max enthusiastically told him all about his tutoring and his siblings. They all seemed so close-knit, so protective of each other. And in return Magnus told him about his travels, about the different sea monsters and what they really looked like. He had always liked kids, with their broad imaginations and open minds not yet soiled by the real world. 

It was when a strangled cry came from above them and a maid came rushing out, yelling something about being late that Max scrambled up, 

“I have to go- but here-” he ripped the page out of the sketchbook and handed it to Magnus; it was wonderful, better than he expected someone so young to be able to do. The lines were rough and scribbly, but they captured so much detail that Magnus thought he could rival even Clary.  

“Thank you, Max.” Magnus said, the young boy nodded to him and scampered off, running up the pathway to a woman. He slinked back into the shrubbery, out of sight of Max and his maid to avoid being found out. He felt the pull again, leading him in the direction they’re walking. He follows, keeping to the shadows of the trees and the quiet of the background.

The mansion was white, with stonework set into the corners and intricate carvings detailed on the balcony walls. Magnus hid behind a tree, noting all points of entry from the cellar door to the front entrance. He tutted, typical of the rich to flaunt all they've got while others starve. Max and the maid went in by the front door, Max held his sketchbook close to him, looking pleased as well as terrified at the thought of being caught speaking with a pirate. Still, he smiled all the same.

Magnus scouted the ground for another few moments, mind travelling back to the young man, Alec, from his dream, and apparently both the key to getting the glass and the brother of the boy he’d met. 

Another twenty minutes  passed and he felt his work was done here, the tug no longer dragged his soul out of his body and to the buildings, but more towards the cliffs, the docks where he had been before. What this fucking curse was playing on him he wouldn’t know. Going against his better judgement to stay nearer the place where he knew the young man would be, his feet carried him of their own volition to the docks.

And was he glad that they had done so.

A ship stood, tall and proud at the dock. With sails as pretty as any petals, bluish in complement to the sky and waves that lapped against the keel of the boat. The rest was all as solid as any oak of the land, warm browns and dark wood melded and blended into swirling knots. Oh yes, this was the Shadowhunter.

Magnus walked up to the boat, easily gliding through the harried men dashing back and forth between the docks and the ships. His eyes trained only on the ship before him- he guessed it would be a nice little fuck you to governor Lightwood to commandere his prized vessel.

“You can’t be here!” The shrillness of the voice made Magnus cringe, he turned swiftly, coming face-to-face with a little red-coated guard,

“Why ever not?” He asked smoothly, repositioning his hat on his head,

The young man shifted uncomfortably, he was brown-skinned, a little shorter than Magnus himself (that may or may not have made him seem a little pathetic as he puffed out his chest in authority), 

“Civilians are not allowed on the ship.” He replied, Magnus rolled his eyes,

“And if I see one, I’ll tell you,” he elegantly moved past the young man, who made an indignant squawk before following,

“Hey! STOP! You can’t be here! Captain Lightwood is the only one who is to  board the ship first!” Raj hopped over the planks with admirable agility, but Magnus was already at the helm.

Magnus slid a ringed hand over the wheel of the ship, feeling the power in its oars and the authority behind it. “Apologies…”

“Raj,” he tutted,

“Apologies, Raj, it’s just such a pretty bo- ship.” He caught himself, nobody of any civilised education would call it a ‘boat’. He inwardly cringed,

“What’s your name?” Raj sneered, gripping his musket a little tighter

“Harry- Harry Shum,” That sounded about right, of Magnus’ many aliases there were always a few of his favourites.

“What is your business in Port Royal- Mr. Shum?”

Magnus smiled slightly, this idiot wouldn’t know what to do if he told him why he was really here, maybe- oh, oh yes,

“I’m here to commandeer one of the finest ships in the fleet, sail to Tortuga to pick up my crew and henceforth travel the seas where I will try and find a range of differentiating items that vary in many degrees of danger before finally getting to where I want to go- is that the answer you were looking for?”

Raj blinked, mouth hanging open and face blank. Magnus cocked his head, waiting for an answer,

“I- I don’t believe you!” He said, jabbing the musket closer, Magnus scrunched his face at the offending thing and sighed, 

“That’s not my problem then, now if you’ll excuse me-” He made to get past the guard, not wanting to have to deal with his little questions and certainly not have to explain to anyone else his intentions. There was only so much stupidity in the world.

“You aren’t going anywhere!” Raj cried, poor kid seemed to be sweating, which could have been from the immeasurable heat; Magnus liked to think he had that effect on people though.

Magnus toyed with his ear-cuff, it had been a gift from someone off the south coast of France a year ago. Raj stared at him, a fearful determination in his face and he knew he wouldn’t get out of this unless he either backflipped off the boat or just knocked this guy out; either one didn’t really help his situation.

“Alright you’ve got me,” Magnus drawled, Raj blanched and fumbled with his weapon, still wide eyed as he stammered out whatever he was planning to say. Magnus suppressed a smirk and leaned forward, “I’m a pirate.” 

Raj looked just about ready to pass out. Magnus tried his best not to laugh at the poor soldier that didn’t look as though his training had ever covered what they should actually do when face to face with someone like him.

In the distance there was a splash- it wasn’t the familiar crash of waves on a cliffside and Magnus’ attention was whipped to the sound, watching as a body disappeared beneath the waves. Raj seemed equally stunned at the development, Magnus looked expectantly at the soldier, who shook his head vigorously,

“I can’t swim.”

Magnus felt like throttling him, “Fine.” He growled, muttering profanities whilst taking off his jacket and effects. “Guard these with your life.”

He took a deep breath before diving into the crystal water.

Magnus nearly choked when he saw the young man, laden in layer upon layer of fabric dragging him down, the soft contours of his face and the inky black of his hair floating around his face. In the drawing Max had shown him he was attractive, all hard edges and power. In reality he was beautiful. 

Magnus didn’t let himself admire him for too long, wrapping both arms around the man and kicking to get some leverage over the incessant pounding of the waves wanting to force him back down. He struggled, and the dead weight was doing no help as he ripped off the blue tail-coat that dragged them down, then the frilly overshirt, then the cotton undershirt. Magnus debated for a moment whether or not to just haul the man naked- but dashed that idea as he caught sight of the glass floating around his neck.

Magnus wanted to take a deep breath. But the fact that he was stuck underwater trying to save the same man from his dream and the brother of a lovely young boy and the son of Governor Lightwood made things very difficult.

So he decided that screaming internally for the next few minutes was sufficient enough.

Hauling Alec Lightwood onto the pier was easier said than done, he finally broke the surface with a strangled gasp and a sharp bark to Raj who idly stood by, not helping at all. Magnus practically threw Alec off of him and he went tumbling onto his back, still unconscious. Magnus sighed in frustration before turning him on his back and pinching his nose, taking a deep breath and applying mouth-to-mouth.

Magnus jumped back as he began coughing up the salt water. Glass hanging from his neck. Magnus reached out, watching as hazel eyes studied him as he tentatively picked up the pendant from his neck.

“Where did you get that?” He mused,

Alec stared up at him, wide eyed. Magnus finally took him in- exactly as he was in the dream and yet… not. It was different, seeing someone in the mind’s eye and then in real life, not a drop of ink on him, no runes that spread across his torso- he was almost disappointed. He was all hard edges and rough lines, smooth pale skin that contrasted his own, and big hazel eyes with soft lips. Magnus could have laughed, the Gods must be playing a cruel trick to send him this man.

Before Alec could answer, there was a sword at Magnus’ throat. Apparently hauling the attractive shirtless son of a Governor out of the water wouldn’t merit him a warmer welcome. Then again, looking up into the eyes of Victor Aldertree, he didn’t expect any less.

It was at times like this he wished that he didn’t have to conserve his magic.

“On your feet.” Aldertree sneered, Magnus hesitantly obliged. There were several others around him, one of which had rushed to Alec’s side, a blonde boy with gold eyes, the others stood stoic behind Aldertree, waiting for sommand. 

“Alec!” An older man pushed through and Magnus suppressed a groan. Great, just great. Governor Lightwood pulled his son off the ground.

“Shoot him.” He said bluntly, the men raised their guns.

“Father! This man just saved my life!” Alec cried, stepping in between Adlerteree and Magnus. Magnus had to force himself not to admire the back muscles on the man, or the way he easily dwarfed him. The Gods must either hate him or love him for this. Aldertree tutted and motioned for Alec to move aside, when he refused, there was a soft click of a gun.

“Aldertree-” Governor Lightwood warned, “that is my son you are pointing a gun at. Remember who you work for.”

Aldertree huffed. “Captain Lightwood. Step aside, or I will have the title so graciously bestowed on you taken away for defending that of a pirate.”

Alec swallowed and stepped away from Magnus, whose brand stood proudly on his collar, Clearly visible from the way his low cut shirt hung from one shoulder, dripping wet. Aldertree stepped closer, inspecting Magnus, his eyes widened as he caught sight of the cat’s eye on his chest, just above his heart.

“You know I usually make my men take me out for a drink before he looks at me like that.” Magnus smirked, Aldertree’s face contorted into something between horror and disgust, 

“Magnus Bane.” He sneered, Magnus made a jaunty salute with two fingers,

“Pleasure to meet you in person, Victor.” He smiled innocently,

“Clap him in irons!” He called back and a few seconds later Magnus was fiddling with the uncomfortable metal against his wrists. Had it been any other time he could have waltzed out here with a snap of his fingers.

“These-these are his effects- Sir!” Raj piped up, handing over Magnus’ hat, sword, and other items. Aldertree checked each one,

“A gun, one bullet with no additional powder nor shots;” he listed, smug smile playing on his features, “A piece of broken glass;” Alec’s eyes widened as he caught sight of it, identical to the one around his neck. Magnus clenched his jaw as he half expected the Commodore to throw it off the pier. Instead he set it back down, and unsheathed his sword with a little satisfied huff, “And I half expected it to be made of wood.”

Magnus rolled his eyes. 

“I thought you were in Batavia- I guess they don’t take kindly to your kind, do they?” Aldertree said snidely, Magnus growled. Aldertree scoffed, “Warlocks have no place in the new world.”

“My kind has been here longer than yours.” Magnus said lowly, letting his eyes flicker from brown to yellow-green and revelling in the flash of fear in Aldertree’s face.

“Hang him.” Robert Lightwood looked at him in horror, his son, however, gazed at him with a curiosity that reminded Magnus of the younger Lightwood.

He caught Alec’s eye and winked as he was being led away by the red-coats. Raphael was going to kill him for this.

Chapter Text

The cell was quiet. He seemed to be the only one down there and in the wretched heat of the summer it stank to high heaven. The hay was dry and crunched under Magnus’ weight, and the dampness of the sweating stone walls made him feel sticky and gross. Not to mention the fact that even with the heat- he still wasn’t completely dry from jumping into the water to save Alec. Although the image of the young man shirtless was something he wouldn’t be forgetting anytime soon.

Magnus moved to put his hat over his face but came in contact with nothing but his hair.

“I fucking hate the Royal Navy.” He mumbled before sitting against the back wall,

“That’s rather rude, wouldn’t you think, Pirate?” Aldtertree said from the other side of the bars, Magnus closed his eyes,

“I have a name, you know,” He replied, not bothering to look at him, Aldertree sneered

“I will not dignify you with the use of it.”

Magnus growled and got up off the floor, coming forward to grip the iron bars of the cell. Aldertree took a step back, his features twisting into a cruel smile on his pale skin, grey wig looking utterly ridiculous on his head.

“You are without a doubt the worst pirate I have ever heard of,” 

“Ah,” Magnus smirked, “but you have heard of me.” 

Aldertree’s smug look faltered, surveying Magnus for another few moments before righting himself, 

“What is your business in Port Royal? Come to try and corrupt us in the way you’ve corrupted many in… your ways.”

Magnus stilled, he knew exactly what he was talking about. It was no secret that those who chose to turn to piracy would not have been accepted into their society. The fact that Magnus liked both men and women wasn’t really a factor when he was at sea. Pirates didn’t care who you slept with- if you could sail, that was all that mattered.

“Is that what you’re afraid of, Victor? That a Warlock would come to your town and bed any man or any woman he wanted?” He smirked at the disgusted face the man made,

“You’ll hang for your crimes. Piracy and otherwise.” Aldertree turned on his hee and disappeared up the stone steps. Magnus slinked back, going back to his original position on the back wall. 

 

~

 

Alec paced the parlour, breathing heavily. He didn’t care to acknowledge when Izzy entered the room, closely followed by Jace; instead he focussed solely on replaying the events in his head, how he fell from the cliff, how he missed all the jagged rocks and was pulled out by the most gorgeous man he’d ever laid eyes on; only for said man to be arrested for piracy. He did have his name, Magnus Bane. Unusual but very… fitting. 

He had watched the way he so blatantly owned his favours and himself, flippantly picking on Commodore Aldertree and enjoying it. 

Alec stopped his pacing and placed both hands on the dining table knowing his siblings itched to say something to him. How he didn’t humiliate his entire family at one of the most prestigious parties he’d ever be apart of. His own honouring has gone downhill faster than a ship run aground. 

“It’s not your fault, Alec,” Jace said lightly, turning in his chair to place a hand on Alec’s shoulder. 

“I’m not worried about that,” he replied sternly, he was but that wasn’t the part he was freaking out over at that point. Mainly his attraction to the pirate that saved his life. He smoothed over the glass hanging around his neck, finding some semblance of comfort in the familiar movement.

“What’s the matter?” Izzy asked, Alec just waved her off,

“I don’t know- it’s- it’s everything , guys,” he looked at them both, who rose from their places and pulled him into a large embrace that if nothing else made him forget about his problems for at least a moment. 

“Hey! No one told me we were hugging!” Max crashed into the three of them, weaseling his way into the middle and holding Alec tight. 

“Is this about the Pirate? The one that saved you?” He asked when they all parted, Alec nodded and Max scowled, thinking for a minute before his eyes widened. Max raced back out the room and Alec exchanged a few confused glances with Jace and Izzy before he rushed back in, banging the door open with his sketchbook in hand 

“Can  you describe him for me?” His eyes were a little wild and his hair was a nest, Alec nodded and began, trying to leave out the most incriminating things- like how he glistened in the light and that he had a body to die for, or the way his eyes turned dark when Aldertree took a particular jab at him. 

By the end Max looked at the page and groaned loudly, not looking at the rest of them as he trudged out the room, taking his sketchbook and any explanation of his actions with him. Izzy cleared her throat, 

“We should get ready for dinner,” she didn’t move, waiting for someone else to agree, but Alec stayed silent. It was a while before anyone spoke again,

“I’m not happy here.” Jace stated, Alec’s attention snapped to his siblings,

“What do you mean?” His voice was soft, mind going back to how despondent Izzy looked that morning when Alec had snapped at her, Izzy caught his eye and looked at him with a pleading expression hear him out it said.

“I hate being in the navy. It’s got no freedom, it’s all rules and pretentious assholes. I hate having been so close to the water and not being able to so much as board a real ship yet. I hate how the other men look at me like I’m not meant to be here because I wasn’t born into your world.” 

That was always a sore point for Jace, his mother was a commoner and when his father found out he was alive he abandoned him, the Waylands took him in and when they died when he was ten Robert and Maryse took him in. Their families had been close and it seemed right.

“I want to leave.” Izzy said, setting her jaw, “I’m valued as nothing here. I’m not a man so I can’t put my talents to use. I don’t want children and I am not marrying a man older than dad just to uphold the family honour. I can fight and I can work on a ship better than any man.”

Alec looked at them, really looked at them. Jace had bags under his eyes and Izzy looked older than he had ever seen her. They were tired, tired of pretending that this was the life they wanted and had no wish for more.

“We can’t take Max with us,” Alec said, and watched how they both deflated, “but we can come back for him, we can explain to him why we’re going and hope that one day… he’ll be able to come with us.”

Izzy sighed, tears forming in her eyes that she didn’t bother wiping away, Jace gave him a crooked smile, “when should we leave?”

“In three days-“ Izzy said, “we can explain to Max tonight when he comes back from-wherever he is- and Alec can ask to set up a ship for us- and then we leave on the third night.”

Alec laughed, they were really doing it. They were really going to be free. 

 

~

 

Max Lightwood tumbled through the square, running in every other direction just in case his maid decided he needed another Literature lesson. The prison was a little way from the town next to the large brickwork armoury. The blacksmith called something to him but he didn’t listen, descending the steps to find three cells side by side, in them lay Magnus, a little more beat down than he had been when he last saw him, but when he caught sight of the young Lightwood his face split into a welcoming grin,

“Hello, Max,” He said, sitting back up, “I’m going to take a wild guess and say you’re not supposed to be-“

“Shut up-“ Max panted, “No time. One minute-“ he disappeared down a hallway and left Magnus gaping after him.

Max grabbed the keys off the stubborn little dog and jingled them in front of the pirate, who threw his head back and gave the most joyous laugh,

“You little criminal!” He exclaimed, “I’m so proud,” 

Max giggled and tossed him the keys through the bars, which Magnus caught and tucked into his pocket.

“Don’t use them until tonight- you can get a boat or send a message, then you’ll be free.”

“I’ve contacted my friends- perks of being a warlock,” Magnus replied, Max just smiled and turned away. But he stopped, returning to the bars and pursing his lips,

“If you ever come back, in the years to come, take me with you. I don’t want to leave yet- my mother needs me, but if you ever need someone later on, I’m a good lookout.”

Magnus smiled, “I’ll keep my eye out for you, Mr. Lightwood.” With another smile Max left and Magnus twirled the keys between his fingers. 

 

~

It was darker than it had been all summer, especially for seven o’clock. Alec was with Izzy Jace in his room, gathering the clothes they’d have to change into in three days time. Talking about how they’d live their lives at sea, Alec wanted to start painting again, Jace wanted to go after hidden treasure, and Izzy wanted to go after the mythical monsters they’d all read as children, saying how they’d get to really see the world once they were free to do as they wanted.

Of course they were sad about leaving Max, and had no way of knowing how he would react. A part of Alec knew he was being selfish with all of this, how he was leaving and possibly ruining his family’s entire reputation- all three of their children had run off to become pirates.

Izzy came in from standing on the balcony, “I think we should tell Max now? While mom and dad are still occupied,” 

They all nodded in agreement and went in search of the youngest brother. They found him in the library, in a little nook reading. Max put the book down as they arrived, Alec went over and sat next to him on the makeshift couch, the cushions sinking beneath his weight.

“What’s the matter?” Max asked, seeing the tense and pained looks on their faces, 

“We have to tell you something, Maxie,” Alec said,

“Please- just hear us out okay?” Jace added,

“We love you very much Maxie, remember that,” Izzy finished,

Alec explained their situation that it wasn’t his fault they wanted to leave- that when the time came they would come back for him, and take him on all the wild adventures he read about. Max just nodded along, face not betraying any particular emotion as the three of them spoke.

Izzy wound her hands around Max’s shoulders and Jace (more than once) had to turn away to keep from crying, to which Alec put an arm around him. Max looked at the three of them, and when they were done he was quiet, his face steady as he studied them.

“I gave Magnus Bane the keys to his cell.” He stated, holding onto Izzy and Alec’s hands, Alec’s eyes widened but his brother continued, “I want to travel the world, just like all of you- and I love you all for telling me stories about it. But for now my place is at home,”

 Max wasn’t done, but Jace suddenly surged forward, grabbing Alec and Izzy in the movement and pulling them all into a hug. None of them moved to be let go, even though Izzy’s dress boning was bent awkwardly and Alec’s back was beginning to hurt. Jace needed to hug them, Alec could feel it. So they stayed like that for a while before Jace let them go, with a muttered apology and a little sniff.

“I want to stay with Mom… I don’t trust Dad to take care of her and when I’m old enough to make sure she will be okay no matter what- I’ll come with you. Because I know you’ll come back for me.”

Izzy sniffed and ultimately set Jace off, who started hiccuping into Alec’s shoulder quietly, Max curled into Izzy and they sat there, in a bittersweet moment that seemed a little surreal to Alec. Max Lightwood was wiser than all of them, he trusted his siblings to come back for him when the time was right and loved them all. Alec took Max’s hand and mouthed Thank you to him, Max just shrugged and laughed as Jace plucked him from Izzy’s arms and pulled him into a bone-crushing hug. Jace was truly the most affectionate Lightwood. 

 

Alec lay in bed a few hours later, wrapped in his sheets and smiling lazily, he had left the doors to the balcony open as it was a warm night. The breeze cooled his room and took away the suffocating humidity from earlier. He let his thoughts wander to the events of the day; had anyone told him he would be planning to run away to become a pirate this morning he would have flipped them off- politely, of course- and now look at him, packed and ready to go. 

He thought of falling into the ocean from such a height and surviving. His hand instinctively went to his necklace, thumbing it as he remembered the way Magnus’ arms lifted him to safety, and the interested look in his eyes as they stared at each other for those few moments before Aldertree arrived. He thought of the black hair in its unusual style- cropped short at the sides and back and longer on top, how good he looked even with his clothes sopping wet- his shirt cut down to just above his navel.

Alec swallowed, hand trailing slowly down to the growing bulge in his underwear- he’d forgone a shirt for the night because of the heat- and Angel was he glad he had. He thought of water glistening on caramel skin and strong hands and what they might feel like wrapped around him. He bit his lip, trying to stop the sounds that wanted to escape as he gave an experimental tug. Alec stifled a small groan as he teased his thumb across the tip. 

A soft thud from outside stopped him. His back was to the open double doors so if he were to turn to get a look at him the intruder would notice that he wasn’t asleep- and the very obvious tent in the sheets.

The intruder hadn’t seemed to notice he was awake and slipped into the room, Alec could feel the presence and willed himself to calm down, the footsteps travelled to his closet on the other side of the room, moving about his books and knick knacks before huffing and moving again- this time coming closer. 

Alec risked cracking one eye open, even in the moonlight he was distinguishable. A little rough from sleeping in a cell but just as beautiful as he had been. Magnus turned away at the last moment- rushing for the balcony, swearing and mumbling in another language that had Alec’s dick twitching in his pants. He scrunched his eyes shut, embarrassment making him want to fold in on himself. Magnus walked back in, heading straight for Alec who tensed under the thought of Magnus finding him like this.

Thank the Angel for the darkness as Magnus didn’t seem to notice his predicament as he stood right in front of him. He reached forward, tentatively picking up the glass pendant as Alec got his breathing under control. Alec felt the necklace being carefully maneuvered to come off- no. No. 

Against Alec’s better judgement he grabbed Magnus’ wrist (with the hand that hadn’t been down his pants earlier). Magnus tried to jump back but was stuck in a vice-like grip.

“What the fuck?” He said, Alec let him go and sat up, the sheets pooling around his hips and thankfully covering up his erection.

“Keep it down!” Alec whispered, then realised the irony in it and internally cringed,

“Give me the necklace!” Magnus shot back, Alec was about to retort when a sharp crash from downstairs rattled through the air,

“Shit- shit!” Magnus went to the door, peeking out into the hallway before returning, “give me the necklace, please,” he said, Alec shook his head,

“No- what’s going on?” It dawned on him- pirates- pirates were in his house- he thought of Izzy and Jace and Max, what would they do? Alec looked wildly at Magnus, who seemed to see the way his mind was going.

“They’re my people- they won’t hurt anyone!” He said, there was another clatter downstairs and Magnus rushed to Alec’s wardrobe, throwing a shirt and trousers to him,

“Put these on- if you’re not going to cooperate you’re going to have to come with me.” He said, Alec just stared wide eyed at the man standing at the foot of his bed, looking at him as though he weren’t going to protest- he was, wasn’t he?

In a foolish move he got out of bed. Only realising his mistake as Magnus’ eyes widened and he turned away. Alec could feel the blood rush to his face as he caught sight of the tent in his underwear, he closed his eyes for a moment before putting the clothes on,

“If I am coming with you- let me at least get my siblings.” 

Magnus cocked an eyebrow at him in question, Alec rolled his eyes and tugged the shirt over his crotch.

“We were all planning on leaving anyway.” He mumbled and stalked past Magnus, heading into the hall to his sister’s room.

 

Izzy was already awake, deep in conversation with a red-haired girl, they both turned to them as the door shut,

“Alec! I’m so glad you agreed to come too!” She pulled him into a hug, but Alec wasn’t watching her, he was watching the way the redhead easily slipped to Magnus’ side, he whispered something in her ear, something that made her eyes widen and Alec swallowed, not liking the way she gripped onto Magnus’ bicep with such familiarity. He wasn’t jealous. Or how he had to keep reminding himself that Magnus wasn’t his. 

“Where’s Jace?” Izzy asked, Alec shook his head and the redhead piped up,

“Simon went to go get him-” she sent an apologetic look over to Magnus, “he knocked a few things over in the entrance, but we have it covered! The owner came down and Raphael pretended to be a servant- got an earful but we’re good.”

Alec expected Magnus to be mad- instead he threw his head back and laughed, pulling the girl in for a side-long hug and planting a kiss on her forehead. The very act made Alec want to jump between them, fire burning in his chest. 

“I’m guessing they’ll meet us down there then?” Izzy asked, eyes shining with excitement, Magnus nodded,

“If blondie decides to follow, yes.”

Clary gave an excited squeal before dragging Izzy out of the room, leaving a red-faced Alec and bemused Magnus in a short silence before following.

Jace did in fact meet them at the bottom of the stairs, stooped over and hugging a pajama-clad Max. Alec rushed over and Max smiled, his hair was still a mess and his eyes were a little red- a far cry from jace whose face was red and blotchy. Izzy came over and joined them in their goodbyes, their apologies for it being so soon and Max’s dismissal of it all, saying the sooner they left the sooner they could come back for him.

They made a date, this day in four years time they would come back, Max would be sixteen and they could take him with them. Seasoned pirates and treasure hunters, with more stories than ever.

The three Lightwoods turned to the people standing by the door. The redhead was teary-eyed and smiling, she was wearing pants and heavy boots with a red cotton shirt. The man next to her, Simon he guessed, was dressed similarly, with a white shirt and black pants. And then Magnus, who wore what he had worn the day before when he’d pulled Alec out of the water. With another glance back towards Max, they followed the pirates out of the house.

Chapter Text

 

Magnus knew this all went too smoothly for it to be true. Clary was getting more anxious by the second, watching carefully for anyone who might alert their whereabouts to the night guards. The night had turned in a matter of minutes as the rushed under the cover of ink-black darkness. No stars twinkled in the night sky and a thick blanket of fog broke the banks of the shore, rolling in like an insidious tidal wave. The Lightwoods stayed close together, Alec taking the front and the others following behind. Simon nudged him, pointing silently to the thin, silvery horizon where the moonbeams bounced off the water. On it was the dark ebony wood of the bow of the ship, a silhouette against the sky, black and torn sails blew out in ragged breaths in the breeze.

Magnus stilled. Looking wildly for Clary, who suddenly appeared at his arm, nails digging into his skin and pirate brand white against her wrist. “He’s here- he- he’s-“ She muttered frantically, Simon grabbed her hand and pulled her down the path; Magnus ushered the rest of them along with renewed fervour as Magnus’ ship came into view.

“What’s going on?” Jace asked, eyes not leaving the black sailed boat, Magnus just pulled them along. The path becoming steeper and more rocky as they descended. 

“The ship.. it belongs to Valentine Morgenstern.” He offered no other explanation, and none of them asked for any more. 

Valentine was legendary, a cursed man damned to live a half life. Neither dead or alive. Magnus shivered at the memories of that ship, the ghostly pale skin of the crew, the deathly haunting weight of their shoulders… it reminded him of why they were there in the first place. 

 

The Cat’s Eye was bobbing in an alcove off the end of the beach, hidden behind the palm trees. Magnus’ jaw dropped, staring at Clary and Simon who had momentarily snapped out of their fear and beamed at him, nodding. Magnus barely spared a glance at everyone else as Raphael walked out on deck, black hair windswept and tan skin accentuated in the moonlight, crashing into him with a mumbled thank you .

They didn’t have much time to celebrate as a low rumble ensnared from the ship quickly approaching Port Royal. Magnus sprang into action- barking orders at everyone in sight.

“GET THIS FUCKING THING IN SHAPE!” He hopped up to the high deck, sweeping a hand across the wheel. He watched as Alec and his siblings stood in the centre of the main deck- the low light doing wonderful things for the eldest’s features. Magnus smirked,

“STOP STANDING THERE PRETTY BOY-“ Alec froze, staring back up at Magnus with wide hazel eyes- 

“GET TO WORK!” 

Before long they emerged from the foliage, pearl sails and black bow cutting through the water. The clouds blinded the moon, shielding it from sight and plunging the ocean into darkness. Magnus watched as the Morning Star raced for the docks, brass rumbles becoming wanton growls for the treasure now standing aboard Magnus’ ship.

 

“Oh my god.” Izzy appeared beside him, “they’re heading for Port- oh my god,” Izzy turned to him- 

“Magnus- our brother! They’ll kill him!”

Magnus knew what Valentine was like. He spared no one. No woman or child was safe. The little face of Max Lightwood overtook the forefront of his mind, the round cheeks and too-deep dimples. 

In a flash Magnus untied a rope- gripping onto it and soaring up onto the beam of the main foresail, wobbling a little as he landed before steadying himself with a dramatic wave of his arms. He reached within himself and felt the faint but familiar tingle of magic burning beneath his skin. Tendrils of smoke burst from his fingertips and he guided his hands forward- aiming straight for the approaching ship.

Uproar overtook both ships, Magnus could feel the magic curl around the wheel, spinning it to face away from the docks; a smirk spread across his face- but a bead of sweat trailed down his back and a sinking sensation threatened to force him to the ground telling him that he was being drained- and fast.

The Morning Star began to turn- and shouts arose below him- he noted Raphael’s spanish and knew he was in shit. He moved his shoulders, wincing at the ache using his magic left him with. It would take a while for it to replenish but when his feet planted on the main deck he knew it was the right choice. 

“You’ve turned them on us!” Raphael shouted, Maia hauled the ropes down with unnatural strength, screaming at Simon and Jace to knot the cables.

“We can lose them- this is the fastest ship in the Caribbean.” Magnus shot back, taking the helm and spinning them towards the open ocean. “There’s no point them killing innocent people.” Raphael grumbled but nodded, jumping down the steps and joining the rest of the crew- including the Lightwoods as they prepared the ship for battle. 

 

Magnus could see Valentine they were so close; angular features casting pointed shadows across his face from the lamp fires that burned around him. Magnus glared as they made eye contact, Valentine showed no emotion and began screaming at his crew dropping the main sail as the wind began to pick up once more.

He looked over at his crew, they were small compared to the Morning Star, they didn’t have the manpower or the gunpowder to take down Valentine. He had his crew bound to him the moment the cursed was placed- they could not leave and they could not die. They would always go back to him.

“We don’t have a chance!” Alec appeared next to him, brow covered in sweat and panicked, 

Magnus growled, “I think you’re forgetting something-” He closed his eyes, feeling the prick of the splintering wood of the wheel beneath his hands; the cooling night breeze that soaked through his skin like the ocean spray. The air was metallic, a coursing, pulsing living thing that built with every wave they crashed through. “-I’m Magnus Bane.”

He opened his eyes, they flashed yellow gold and the ship lurched, pulling them forward- the wind howled and stretched the sails. There was an enraged cry from the Morning Star and Magnus smiled at his crew, Maia clapped her hands and Simon picked Clary up with a cheer. Raphael glared at Magnus, whose eyes flickered back to their original brown.

A thundering bang came from behind them. Cannon fire.

The cheering stopped and they all whirled around, unsure of what to do as Valentine’s crew began readying the next attack. Cannons to the left of them, cannons to the right of them. Everything descended into chaos as Valentine attacked. Their victory short lived as Magnus’ magic just wasn’t enough to bring them to safety.

Magnus watched as Izzy took Alec’s hand, whispering something to him. He looked back desperately, exhaustion sitting firmly in his bones. He couldn’t let this be over. He worked too hard and too long to find the Mortal Cup- and now he was this close. He would not allow them to kill his crew. His friends. His family. 

“We can lose them on the shoals!” Maia called back as another cannon skittered on the water, narrowly missing the stern. Magnus nodded-

“Take the helm,” he said, “I’ll do what I can to slow them down.”

“Don’t you fucking dare, Magnus Bane.” Raphael thundered, jabbing a finger at his chest.

“We don’t have any other choice!” He retorted, not waiting for an answer as he returned to the crows nest at the very top of the ship.

 

Magnus could only just feel the wisps of his magic in his soul. He began pulling on it, forcing himself beyond his limits. His body screamed for him to stop as he poured his life force into getting away from Valentine. He tasted blood, head swimming. Another round of cannon-fire. 

Closer.

Closer they came.

The water churned and gargled beneath the boat where the lead hit. Maia’s shouts and Clary’s grunts of frustration mixing with the rallied cries of the rest of his family. Images of the little settlers; of Max Lightwood and his mop of hair and his sketchbook flew across his mind, the paper weighing heavily in his pocket.

The light began to fade and fatigue clamped its jaws around him and before long his eyelids drooped. Everything around him fell. 

And so did he.

 

~

 

Alec looked up at Magnus, who stood with his arms out, eyes closed and blue smoke radiating around him. The smoke engulfed the boat in a matter of moments and they moved faster, drawing the other ship away from the Port and into the open ocean. Alec grinned as the black-sailed ship grew smaller, the canonfire becoming sparse and the horrid shiuts of the damned crew growing quiet. 

Alec looked back up at Magnus. He was no longer surrounded by magic and his face was pale, Alec was about to shout up to him when Magnus fell out of the crow’s nest- he dashed forward to catch him, not really thinking it through.

“Fuck!” He shouted, Magnus landed on top of him in a pile on the deck, Alec grunted as Jace badly suppressed a snort.

“¿Qué demonios está mal con él? Le dije que tenía que tener cuidado, pero ¿ese hijo de puta me escuchó? ¡No! maldito idiota, juro por Dios que lo mataré antes de que esta maldita maldición lo haga!” What the hell is wrong with him? I told him he had to be careful, but did that son of a bitch listen to me? No! fucking idiot, I swear to God I'll kill him before this damn curse does! 

Raphael hauled Magnus off of Alec with unnatural strength, propping him up against the side of the ship and grabbing a bucket of water, Alec stood up, rolling his shoulders from being fallen on. Magnus didn’t look it from how he carried himself, but damn he was heavy.

A woman with dark skin and frizzy black hair rolled her eyes, “Magnus will be fine,” She said, her voice light and powerful… almost mesmerising in a way Alec couldn’t really describe. Raphael grumbled incoherently and promptly threw the water all over Magnus, whose eyes flew open and he gasped.

“T- Thank- Thank you, my friend.” Magnus slurred. Was it possible to be drunk on magic? 

“Shut up.” Raphael said, “You’re lucky you aren’t dead,”

“Rapha-” A young man stepped forward, he had sandy brown hair and dark eyes. His clothes were a little rougher than the rest and covered in a few stains, he also wore an apron- the cook maybe? He put a hand on Raphael’s shoulder; Raphael’s expression softened slightly, but did not get rid of his scowl.

“He’s fine, dear,” the man said, Raphael turned to Magnus, who lazily did finger-guns in his direction,

“Depleting his magic makes him a little delirious,” Clary whispered next to him, she looked up and shrugged, “you looked confused.”

Magnus stumbled to his feet, grabbing the railing to the side to steady himself and taking several deep breaths before speaking again,

“Valentine knows what we have- and he knows what we need to go after next-”

“What the fuck is going on?” Jace stepped forward, confusion clear on his face, “what the fuck does Valentine Morgenstern want with you?! What are you looking for and FOR GOD’S SAKE WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?!” 

Magnus suddenly turned serious, “I think everything is a little… on edge right now,”

“I’ll show them to the barracks, Cap,” Simon said, squeezing Raphael’s shoulder one last time before motioning for the three Lightwoods to follow him below deck.

 

“I’m sorry about Rapha,” the cook, who introduced himself as Simon, lead them through a few winding paths that split into two rooms, “he cares about Magnus a lot- so when he over exerts himself…” he trailed off with a frown. A few moments passed before he perked up again, “the male and female bunks are separate- obviously, and there’s a washroom to the left. Get some rest- we have to be up at eight sharp for breakfast and Cap will give you the induction.”

“You guys are a lot friendlier than any other Pirates I’ve read about,” Izzy mused, Simon shot her a lop-sided smile,

“We aren’t your average pirates, miss,” he replied with a knowing look, “you don’t find many like us any more.”

He left them with that ambiguous response, leaving them to wonder what they had really gotten themselves into.

 

~

 

Alec was thrown from his bunk, crashing to the floor with an undignified yelp. The warm glow from the lamps was hidden by the figure above him,

“Give me the glass.” Magnus said lowly, Alec looked around- two bunks were empty and not even cannon fire could wake Jace.

“No,” Alec scoffed- there was some sort of protection around the glass, he wasn’t about to let it go in the face of a man that could kill him at any moment.

Magnus rolled his eyes, “You’re on my ship, Lightwood- don’t test me.” He growled and Alec glared at him,

“Why do you even want it?” He balked, throwing his arms out in exasperation, “forgive me for not trusting you, Pirate,” 

Magnus sent him a withered look. He took a step forward, speaking so only Alec could hear,

“I saved your life, Alexander, and don’t think I didn’t hear who’s name you were keening when I was in your room.” The steel in Alec’s eye quivered and gave way, Alec dropped his gaze as a blush tinted his face, Magnus sneered again,

“Hand. It. Over.” 

Alec looked back at him, a new determination in his eyes, “No.”

Magnus clenched his jaw and stooped down, easily lifting the taller man over his shoulder and carrying him above deck and into what he guessed was Magnus’ quarters  

Alec landed on the bed with a heavy thud. He glowered at the older man, Magnus ignored him and less than lightly set him down outside the door, striding in without another word.

In the light the ship was magnificent, only a little smaller than the Shadowhunter but with the same grandeur of any other ship in the Navy. The masts stood tall and proud and the translucent blue of the sea sent reflections scattering across the sides from bow to stern.

Alec walked into the Captain’s Quarters, it was warm and pleasant with a large window at the back, looking out over the open ocean. 

Persian rugs and vast amounts of jars and pots filled with various exotic spices and… things lined the end tables and shelves, bookcases obscuring what looked like a plush bed in the far corner of the room.

“Alexander, that was quicker than I expected,” Magnus’ voice pulled him from his reverie and to the man observing him from a dining table, amused expression playing on his features. “I hope that doesn’t translate to other activities,”

Alec felt his face heat up as Magnus winked, “What did you want to see me about?” He gritted out, still trying to keep some sort of dignity about him. As well as trying to forget the way the man effortlessly picked him up- being manhandled was… new to him.

Magnus motioned for the seat across from him, shifting uncomfortably and rolling his shoulder. He reached into his pocket and placed a piece of glass on the table, smooth and rounded and identical to the one on his necklace.

 “This-” he motioned to it- “is a piece of the Mortal Cup; one of two,”

Alec’s hand instinctively went to his necklace and pulled it over his head, “what’s the Mortal Cup? And why do you want it?”

Magnus closed his eyes and took a deep breath, when he opened them again they glowed a brilliant gold, slit down the middle like a cat.

 Alec sucked in a breath, unable to tear his eyes away. They contrasted Magnus’ skin, the growing light of day that streamed in from the windows shadowing his features; plump lips and almond eyes that made Alec’s heart beat out of his chest.

“Six years ago,” he began, raking his eyes up and down Alec’s body, “Valentine approached me with a proposition; we were going after a treasure, one we could share equally and live our lives better than any other pirate.” 

He gave a sad smile, “I went along. What I didn’t know is that the Mortal Cup has many uses. It can be used for good- to heal the sick and injured… but it can also be used for evil.

“When we reached the Cup Valentine attacked me, that’s when I realised he did not want to help.” He laughed bitterly and Alec found himself entranced by the story and his voice “He knocked me out and used my blood to make himself immortal- the only thing he didn’t count on was the spell going wrong.

“The Cup broke, melting into the ground and leaving behind two pieces of glass- that one right there- and mine. I grabbed one and ran.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Alec asked, shifting with the way Magnus’ intense gaze felt like a physical weight, and the things it was doing to him.

“Because when the Cup cursed Valentine- it cursed me too. I’m dying, Alexander, and I need your help.”

Magnus finished his story and his eyes flickered back to brown, Alec almost missed the sight of them- they fit him so perfectly. Magnus held his gaze a second longer- maybe too long as Alec found himself leaning closer.

“Why do you need me? I’m not special.” Alec’s voice, even to his own ears, was breathy, Magnus was so close and all he had to do was move forward…

“I had a dream about you, Alexander,” Magnus replied, seemingly just as affected. “You were just as pretty as you are now, and you had these markings-” his fingertips brushed the underside of Alec’s jaw and he had to bite his lip to keep from keening. “You have something to do with this. And you know what they say about keeping friends close,”

“They say that about enemies too, you know,”

“Are you my enemy, Alexander?” Magnus was so close… 

“We’ll have to wait and see, Magnus?” The latter’s breath hitched, as Alec was about to close the space between them Magnus moved away, assessing him.

Alec pulled back too, studying a knot in one of the pillars of wood next to a large bookcase. The boat rocked gently, knocking a few books over. 

“I need the glass-”

“No.”

Magnus blanched, clenching his jaw;

“I’m coming with you.” Alec smiled, “I- all of us, have always dreamed about adventure, I know Izzy has probably bonded with everyone here and I saw Jace staring at your redhead…”

“And you?” Magnus asked, “Why do you want to stay?” His eyes bored into Alec’s and he longed for the gold-green to come back; Magnus had removed his hat and was sat in new clothes- a deep purple shirt that opened to his navel (did all of his shirts do that?) and cotton trousers tied with a simple belt.

“Adventure.” It was true; Alec wanted to live the stories he’d read to his siblings, see the world… and then there was Magnus, with his eclectic style and his mismatched crew and his spark. He was new. 

A warmth spread through Alec when Magnus smiled, wide and bright, “good, darling, good. We have three more stops before we can get to the Mortal Cup,” 

Alec stood up when Magnus did- following him to the window, the bed was opposite, separated by two bookshelves on the one side. Alec wiggled his toes, enjoying the plush carpet beneath; he looked out over the ocean- they were far away from Port Royal and the dark blue waves collided happily- sprays of foam dancing on the surface.

“What do we need to find?”

“A scale of a Lost Soul. A feather of a fallen Angel. And a drop of Heavenly Fire.” 

Alec scrunched his nose, “I’ve read about the Scale, and the Feather, but… Heavenly Fire is…”

“Impossible to get?”

“Yeah,” Magnus turned to him, a smirk that reminded him of a tiger stalking its prey spread across his face and Alec blushed,

“Well, good thing you met me, darling.”

Chapter Text

Raphael currently had Jace hanging over the side of the ship by his ankles. 

“If you aren’t going to follow orders, I’m going to have to let you go.” He drawled, Jace let out a high pitched shriek.

Alec leaned over the side next to Clary and Maia, watching as his brother tried desperately to cling onto the side of the ship; Izzy was behind them, holding onto Simon’s shoulder and shaking with laughter- who in turn covered his mouth in horror. Magnus was at the wheel, draped forward over it and hiding his face, letting out little noises that gave away his glee.

“ALRIGHT! I’M SORRY!” Jace cried up, flailing his arms in an attempt to somehow pull himself up. Raphael just shook his ankles again with a glare.

“Are you going to follow orders?”

“YES FOR GOD’S SAKE YES!”

“Are you going to flirt with my husband again?” Raphael asked calmly. Izzy and Clary snorted simultaneously.

“NO SIR!” 

Simon groaned, “Rapha, dear, put him down.”

Raphael cocked an eyebrow and lowered Jace off the side of the boat, a whimper escaping the blonde. Alec looked between the two. Husbands. They were married? They could do that? 

“You mean like this?” The young man asked, Jace’s screeching got louder.

“Raphael Ortiz Santiago.” Simon reprimanded, “He did nothing wrong.”

Raphael huffed, dragging Jace back onto the ship, who immediately grabbed onto the mast- wildly looking around him for any other threats. Alec nudged him with his foot, ignoring the belated shouts of laughter coming from Izzy and Clary.

“You okay buddy?”

“Fuck off.”

 

~

 

Alec wiped his forehead in the heat of the summer sun, pulling on the ropes once more to finally let the mainsail down. His muscles creaked beneath his skin and his joints screamed for a break but he toiled on. Clary had told him that there was something on the outskirts of Curaçao- a cove that was meant to be where Lucifer passed through the Earth on his way to hell. Alec didn’t want to think about the possible connotations that might have. 

“Alright,” Simon called from the lower deck, popping his head out from the cargo hatch, “Food is gonna be ready in two minutes!”

There was a unanimous groan from the crew as they all dropped what they were doing, a good meal sounds pretty good right about now, Alec thought.

 An arm wrapped around his shoulder and Jace leaned next to him, a wolfish grin spreading across his face- Alec knew that face.

“What are you planning?” He mumbled, making sure the rest of the crew couldn’t hear them, Jace was as sweaty as him- blonde curls sticking to his forehead. He prayed they’d be able to get a shower some time

“I’m going to piss of Santiago.”

Alec groaned, passing a hand over his face. “Jace, no.” 

His brother let out a hearty laugh and squeezed him, muttering in his ear, “This is going to be fun,”

Alec shook his head, eyes passing over the crew who were beginning to line up neatly for food. Maia and Izzy sat on the stairs leading up to the forecastle, Simon and Clary both leaning on the rigging throwing bits to the fish below. His eyes searched for Magnus, who sat with Raphael up at the helm, they talked and laughed and for once… he didn’t feel like he was looking through a window. There was something about this crew, the brigantine ship that just so happened to come for a man that saved Alec’s life. But for all its welcome, there was something off . Everything was too coincidental.

“Don’t get us kicked off,” he whispered back, breaking away from Jace’s grasp and swallowing his suspicions in favour of grabbing his food. It was nice, bread, cheese and some rum was definitely not what he was used to- but then again he wasn’t complaining. 

Magnus jumped down, bright smile on his face. “Listen up you bunch of dumbasses-” he threw a pointed look to Simon, whose mouth gaped in offence, “We have another thirteen hours until we reach Helcove Bay.”

“What’s Helcove Bay?” Jace interrupted, Magnus gave him a slow, sly smile,

“Helcove Bay is named after Christopher Helcove- he was the first man to live to tell the tale of the Sirinaides. Half Water Nymph, half Siren.”

Izzy gasped, “I’ve heard of them-the Navy sent ships to… get rid of them and they never came back.”

Magnus nodded, Maia began to laugh. Alec hadn’t spoken to her much- she had kept to herself, especially around Izzy and him. Her skin was dark and her hair was black and frizzy- there was a… sheen to her that showed she wasn’t fully human. 

“I knew one of them once- nasty fuckers, even worse in bed.” She snorted, Izzy’s eyes widened and her cheeks went an impressive shade of red,

“Not many have come out of there alive.They guard treasure… is that what we’re looking for?” Simon gulped, 

Magnus nodded, “I’ll take a few men to the caves to get what we need. You need to keep the boat lit up until we get back.”

The crew grew quiet after that, the only sound was water hitting the deck as Jace stood, ringing out his shirt. Alec watched the way Magnus’ posture wavered at his crew’s uncertainty. They made eye contact for a moment and he wished he could just comfort him.

“The Sirinaides shouldn’t scare you, they are afraid of the light- Helcove’s waters run deep and they only come out during the night.”

There was a murmur of solemn agreement and the sun burned through the last remaining clouds in the sky, only just keeping their hopes high. Alec had seen pictures of the Sirinaides- they were beautiful in the night and ugly in the bright of day. They were old magic, something that had been created thousands of years ago when hybrids of all kinds still roamed free in the waters. Something the Navy had made a point of exterminating.

The feeling of someone next to him pulled him away from staring at the splintered wood of the mast; Magnus leaned close to him, lips barely an inch away from his ear,

“You have nothing to be afraid of- you’re under protection,” he lifted a hand and patted Alec’s chest- sending an involuntary shudder down the young man’s spine,

“It’s not me I’m worried about,” Alec met his eyes, breath catching in his throat. Magnus gave him a warm smile, like he’d done something incredible,

“Your family will be alright, I promise you that.”

Alec sensed there was something Magnus wasn’t telling him, but didn’t want to push.

~

 

It was later on in the morning; their breakfast had been satisfactory in keeping them steady through their work. Alec had taken over tying knots for the sails, re-doing those that had started to fray and weaken. He kept a close eye on Jace, who seemed to be moving closer to where Simon was hanging the hammocks out to dry. He prayed to the Angel that Raphael didn’t kill him, but the way Jace was striking up conversation with an oblivious Simon made him skeptical.

“You’re fitting in well,” Maia’s voice pulling him out of his reverie, “Magnus doesn’t usually let just anyone onto his ship.”

“It was a mutual benefit really,” Alec replied, Maia cocked an eyebrow and Alec blushed, “not- not like that I mean-“

she waved him off and plopped down next to him on the very edge of the boat, but not for a minute did she look like she was afraid of falling into the water. 

“Jace is going to die, y’know,” she leaned back and closed her eyes, Alec laughed,

“If he does he deserved it,” there was a pause before he continued “I thought men being with men was outlawed?”

“We are outlaws,” Maia shrugged, “Simon and Raphael got married four years ago now- people don’t care who you bed, Lightwood,”

Alec was silent for a moment, studying the light dancing on the waves and thinking about what it could mean for him- that there were people that were like him.

“I suppose your world is very different to mine,” he joked, Maia smiled at him- a wide, toothy grin that showed off her less-than-human pointed teeth.

“Our world is your world now,”

Alec smiled, “I guess so,”

Maia jerked her head towards where Alec knew Jace was trying to get himself killed, “You’re going to love this.”

Jace was leaning against the mast and flirting obnoxiously loudly to Simon- who for all snese and purpoes- did not know what the fuck was going on. Alec hid his face in his hands to at least try and suppress a giggle. The morning had started off a little like this, although in that sense Jace had not been the one to blame. He had been putting something below deck and ran into the poor cook, making him stumble- And Jace being Jace made a joke that was both glorious and… inappropriate, which sent Raphael into a maelstrom of spanish swear words (that Alec and Izzy both understood thanks to years of tutoring from their mother) and ended well… like he did. For now Raphael was just glaring at Jace- who caught his eye and sent him a wink,

“How long have you been on boats?” Jace asked, leaning forward like Simon’s answer was the most interesting thing in the world,

“Six years” Simon smiled, “Well- I grew up in Cornwall before leaving for spain- then I ended up on a boat to the Islands, although that was because some other pirates thought I would make a good cabin boy- they chucked me off the boat after a few days because I talked too much and started to annoy-” He stopped dead and Alec almost felt a little sorry for the guy. “I- uh, I talk too much,”

“No you don’t” Jace protested, almost seeming genuine, “You talk a lot because you have a lot to say… It’s sweet,”

“Thanks mate. After that I stumbled into a bar and Rapha found me,” Simon smiled again- still oblivious to Jace’s flirting- Alec had seen him use the moves on plenty of girls at the pub and he could tell even though his brother was doing this out of spite he actually quite liked the young man.

Out of the corner of Alec’s eye he saw Raphael still glaring at the two of them- Simon was going on about some bakery they found a year ago. Maia tapped him on the shoulder and pointed to the helm- Magnus had let go of the wheel and started pacing the upper deck, a spring in his step, somewhere along the line his shirt had become half-untucked and it was only now that Alec realised they were slightly too big for him and made of very expensive cotton- it was plain to see as the sleeves past his fingertips. Of course they were stolen. Alec wanted to groan, but then again- piracy was a… challenging trade.

“Shut up- all of you.” Magnus said, he wasn’t shouting but his voice carried over the ship with such power that all conversation stopped immediately. “Our course is set. I’m afraid that you all have to take a few hours off- I know it’s horrible-” 

A cheer went up and Magnus laughed- god he was pretty when he laughed, Alec caught himself staring when Magnus made eye contact with him and smiled before turning away to talk to Izzy; he shivered, wanting him to look at him again.

 

They all sat on the deck, none of them moving after going through a bottle of rum each that Maia insisted prevented scurvy. Alec sat with his legs out in front of him and his back resting against a box of clementines. Humming along to a tune he used to know while the pleasant ease of alcohol sang through his veins. Alec knew he was a messy drunk, Jace had told him he would sell navy secrets for a sack of peanuts after a glass so his lips were clamped shut. 

“What made you want to leave?” Clary asked suddenly, turning to Isabelle with big green eyes, 

“Well, when we were kids-” Jace tried to interject, he was met with a dismissive wave from the Warlock. Magnus sat across from him in a similar position to Alec, although his eyes were more focussed and he seemed more about himself.

 “Clary was asking Isabelle, blondie, not you,” He said lowly, Jace touched his hair in an offended way and sent an apologetic look to his sister.

“We would read stories about the sea when we were young,” Izzy said, “our tutor, Hodge Starkweather trained my brothers and I about everything he knew…” Izzy carried on the story Alec knew- but his attention wasn’t on his sister, it was on the fear dawning on Magnus’ face. The Warlock blinked, as if he had expected he misheard, then took a deep breath, schooling his expression into polite interest.

There was a lull in conversation and a very drunk Simon took the opportunity to fill the silence with random babble. Raphael kept a hand on the small of the man’s back and seemed intent on listening with a little smile (he was also very drunk). 

“Tell us a story,” Raphael said suddenly, eyes trained on Magnus, who had been mostly quiet since Izzy last spoke. He smiled down into his half-empty bottle of rum,

“I don’t think there are any you haven’t heard,” he mumbled, Clary squealed happily, her face nearly the same colour as her hair, 

“Izzy and Jace and Alec haven’t heard them!”

Alec felt himself smile against his better judgement at the fond glare Magnus sent the redhead’s way, “yeah Mags, tell us a story,” he said, finally catching the older man’s eye again and loving the way a pink tinge spread across his cheeks, knowing he was no better once he got drink in him, a murmur of agreement went through the group and Magnus chuckled,

“Alright,” he said, “which one do you want?”

“The one with the french duchess!” Came Simon,

“St. Paul’s Bay!” Clary said,

“The Mermaids!” 

Raphael smiled, Magnus looked slyly at him, “What?”

“Maracay.”

Magnus laughed long and loud and so infectious that Alec found himself laughing along with him.

“You are the worst,” he said, 

“What happened in Maracay?” Jace asked, leaning forward, Magnus sent him a smirk,

“I was drunk- as all good stories start,” he began, “I was with Ragnor and Catarina-” he carried on, weaving a tale that just couldn’t be true, one about flying ships and several different potions stolen from a witch. 

Alec sank back into his makeshift seat, enraptured by Magnus’ voice; it washed over him better than the alcohol coursing through his veins and so much more intoxicating. He spoke for a long time and the group stayed quiet, hanging onto his every word, completely under his spell. 

As Magnus finished his tale there was a collective breath, everyone was rosy cheeked and red faced and laughing so much. The afternoon air was pleasantly warm and the sails shielded them from the harshness of the sun. Alec made eye contact with his siblings and saw their shining eyes, the pure joy that radiated off them. Alec didn’t know how, or particularly why, but he felt safer and calmer than he had ever felt at Port Royal. 

The afternoon went on, filled with jokes and stories about each member of the crew. Raphael spoke with righteous fury at the time he found smugglers trying to carter stolen relics across the sea and returned them to the town they belonged to. Maia talked about how she came into the ship when she was younger, leaving her shoal to help sailors understand them; Clary told them all that Magnus had saved her when she was young- from what she didn’t say, but Magnus looked at her with such affection Alec found himself not wanting to know. 

It was early evening by the time they lit the tobacco and Raphael pulled out some playing cards.

“Place your bets people,” Jace cheered, taking a seat on a stool across from Raphael, who just smirked, “watch me beat this old Sailor with my eyes closed,” 

Alec rolled his eyes, taking a seat next to Magnus with a little smile, “He uses that line every time he plays” he whispered, catching the Warlock’s attention,

“I’m going to take a wild guess and say Jace isn’t the most rule abiding of the family?” Alec laughed and shook his head,

“You wouldn't believe how many wagers I’ve had to get him out of,” Alec said

Magnus cocked an eyebrow, “You don’t seem the bar fighting sort of man,” 

“I’ve got the scars to prove it,” Alec replied

“You’ll have to show me sometime” He said with a wink, Alec felt the blush in the very tips of his ears.

Magnus smiled at him as the game began to get heated, Alec still didn’t really understand the rules but by the way Raphael’s face was going red Jace seemed to be winning- that was until Simon whispered something in his ear and he shot the man a wicked smirk, placing down three cards and watching as Jace’s smile was wiped clean off his face.

Magnus placed a hand on Alec’s shoulder and hid behind him as he laughed, not realising the affect it was having on him. Alec heard the two men yelling but his eyes wouldn’t leave the tears eyed man next to him, goofy, half-drunk smile plastered across his face. 

Izzy coughed and pulled them both from their trance, snapping them both back to reality, “Time for bed- too much alcohol.” She said, seemingly trying to focus too much on her sentences, Magnus smiled and stood up, slightly swaying too, “right you are my dear,”

within a few minutes everyone had tumbled down to the lower decks to their bunks; Alec however, stayed on deck, letting himself relax to the steady motion of the waves that rocked the boat. All he could smell was salt and wood and grease and he reveled in it. 

 

~

 

The night was approaching fast and Magnus tossed in his bunk. Something didn’t sit right with him… as if his insides longed to be somewhere else and his mind wouldn’t rest. after another fifteen minutes of sleepless agony he wrapped a blanket around his bare shoulder and padded outside.

the wind was low and the sea was calm. it was chilly and Magnus pulled the blanket tighter around himself. He usually came out on deck when he couldn’t sleep- which was more often since the curse. He didn’t like to admit that he was scared; not to anyone, Magnus couldn’t be scared of anything now that he had a crew to look after and with Valentine hot on their tails… it was going to be difficult. 

As he stepped out onto the main deck he heard the lull of a melody being sung. The voice didn’t belong to any of his own crew and as he drew closer Alec’s voice became more distinctive. 

he had a very thin cotton shirt and simple brown slacks that appeared black in the low light, he was resting on the foremast with his back to Magnus as he listened. It was a song Magnus hadn’t heard before- Alec’s voice was sweet, light, but held a power behind it that untwined itself with every line he sang. 

magnus found himself forgetting the cold and instead listening to the lull of Alec’s voice. When he finished Alec rested his head back. his smile only just visible,

“you can come sit with me instead of standing there” He said quietly, Magnus chuckled

“I didn't want you to stop singing,” he replied, Alec blushed

“you heard all that?”

Magnus chuckled again, “you sing very well, Alexander,” 

“Izzy is better,” he said,

Magnus notes the shiver running across Alec’s body as their shoulders brushed and draped the blanket over them both. It wasn’t nearly thick enough to keep out the chill but as Magnus moved closer Alec’s body heat did the rest. 

“What does Valentine want with the cup?” Alec asked abruptly, 

Magnus’ brow knit, “Downworlders- warlocks, vampires, mythical beings… to some people we are harmless, to people like you we are peasants and to people like Valentine… we are demons…” He trailed off, painful memories flashing across his eyes. 

“What does the Mortal Cup have to do with that? What do I have to do with it?” Alec unconsciously moved closer to Magnus, brow furrowed in concentration,

“The Cup has the power to grant powers to mortal beings, Valentine can create an army with it and wipe out my kind.” He turned his head to face Alec, whose eyes flicked over his face. “As for you… I don't really know, you have something to do with this, i know you do, i just don’t know what.”

Magnus wanted to bring up Hodge Starkweather- he knew that name, he had heard it before but he just couldn’t place it. But then he felt Alec relax into him and figured it could wait another day. Magnus manoeuvred then both so that Alec’s head rested lightly on his chest despite his height, he wrapped the blanket around them both more and for the first time that night felt himself drifting off into a dreamless sleep.