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Breathe

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“What will it be, Bane? You decide whether he lives or dies.”

Alec felt the constricting bands of magic clench around his throat as Martin repeated his threat to Magnus. He could see his husband across the room, unable to come closer because each time he tried, Martin would tighten the bands. He refused to relent until Magnus met his demands of performing a summoning spell, one that Magnus had repeatedly refused, citing the risk was too great.  Desperate, Martin had targeted Alec during one of their rare date nights and was holding Alec’s life in the balance until Magnus agreed.

Alec knew that Magnus was powerful enough to defeat Martin but was holding back for fear that Martin would kill Alec before Magnus could deliver his final blow.

“This will never work!” shouted Magnus. “Just let him go. The Clave will not look kindly on you trying to kill the Head of the New York Institute, never mind the wrath that I shall reign down upon you.”

“Big words, Magnus. However, I do seem to be holding all the cards here. Now enough, I am growing tired of this. I asked you nicely to help me out as a fellow Warlock, but apparently you have aligned yourself with the enemy. The great Magnus Bane has forgotten where he comes from. You are nothing more than a Shadowhunter’s pet,” Martin sneered. “You left me no choice. Now I suggest you begin the summoning as I’m losing my patience.”

Martin had kept the bands just tight enough for Alec to struggle with his breathing but not actually kill him. But with each second that passed, Martin’s growing agitation was causing the bands to restrict more, almost to the point where Alec was gasping to take a breath. He instinctively reached up and grasped at his neck, despite not having anything to actually hold onto.

“No!”

“Then start the summoning!”

He wasn’t letting up this time, and Alec wondered how long he could remain conscious. His eyes began to water, and he could see that Magnus was torn. Alec gave a short shake of his head which only enraged Martin more, causing him to squeeze tighter. Alec heard Magnus shout his name as he fell to the ground in a crouch. He just needed Magnus to hold on a little longer, he thought, as black spots danced before his eyes. 

Alec reached into his boot and pulled out his dagger and with his last burst of energy, he whipped around and flung the dagger in Martin’s direction.

“Alexander!”

Alec opened his eyes to take in Magnus’s frantic expression hovering over him. The Warlock’s hands were gently patting his face.

“Oh, thank goodness,” Magnus said in a rush. “When you went down, I thought he had ….”

“He didn’t,” Alec assured him even though Magnus could see for himself that he was alive and well. “He was making it harder to breathe, but he couldn’t kill me. He knew that if he killed me you would kill him.” He still felt a bit light-headed and his throat burned, making his words raspy and hard to understand.

“Easy now,” Magnus soothed. “Try not to talk so much; take a moment.” He placed his hand on his chest and used his other hand to gently touched Alec’s neck.

Alec felt the cool touch of Magnus’s magic, a stark contrast to the hot suffocating restriction of Martin’s hold.

“Better?” Magnus asked.

“Yeah,” he said with a tiny wince that he could tell Magnus saw. “It’s still a little rough, but I feel much better.” He pushed himself to a sitting position and looked across the room. “Martin?”

Magnus chuckled, but Alec didn’t hear any humor in it. “He’s dead. Even half-suffocated, your aim is true. Your dagger landed right in the neck. With the runes embedded on the blade, he didn’t stand a chance.”

“Sorry it had to come to that,” Alec said. He knew that Martin had left them no choice, but Alec still didn’t like taking a life.

“Don’t apologize. And you were far more merciful than I would have been. He was unwilling to listen to reason. Granting his request would have only harmed many innocent people.”

Alec nodded.  “We should probably call this in.”

“And you should probably swing by the infirmary.”

“Why? You just healed me.”

“I did, but the Head of the New York Institute was just attacked by a Downworlder. I’m sure there is some Clave protocol in place where they would prefer one of your people to check you over instead of another Downworlder.”

Alec snorted. “And if it was serious, they would just call in Catarina. Don’t worry about the politics. We’ve come a long way and one misguided soul isn’t going to undo all of our progress.” Alec went to stand up, but a wave of dizziness caused him to stumble back into Magnus’s waiting arms.

“Easy now. Let’s wait for your team in the hallway.” Magnus kept his arm around his waist and led him past the fallen Warlock and out into the hall.

“Sorry about date night,” Alec said, leaning against the wall.

Magnus placed his hand on his cheek. “All I need is you alive and well.”