Chapter 1: One vision
A dream of sweet illusion:
A glimpse of hope and unity,
And visions of one sweet union.
In this moment Thomas had one goal and that was to make it to the Devil Tavern. As fast as possible.
It wasn't because he was running from something but because he needed to be alone. This was the closest place he could think of where he could be alone for now. He knew that James and Matthew were training together in the Institute and Christopher was with Henry doing their new experiment with that ichor. So their room should be empty, right?
When he entered the establishment he barely looked at the people there. He smiled at Polly and nodded at a few other Downworlders but didn't stop to chat like usual.
Thomas tramped upstairs to their room, wanting air. He opened some of the old windows and looked at Fleet Street. It was almost lunch. He had to meet with Lucie soon.
By the Angel, Thomas had to calm down and to put himself together. He couldn't do anything in his current state. He ran a hand through his hair and took a deep breath.
The problem was one particular person. One person with sharp tongue, fair hair and black eyes. His face was in front of Tom's sight. This one vision he just couldn't escape.
The Carstairs arrival shouldn't have been be surprising. At all. It was common knowledge that Lucie and Cordelia are gonna be parabatai. He just hadn't think about it much. Because thinking about the Carstairs means thinking about Alastair. And this always reminded him of Paris. And how confused he was after that. Thomas still was confused. Just less then before.
Love is confusing, Thomas thought. And strange. Like some spell on you which makes you dizzy. Some dark magic that stretches your heart with killing hope.
Yes, this should be. A kind of magic.
When Thomas finally arrived at the Institute Lucie was already waiting for him in the ballroom. Many books and papers were in the big table which they usually used when they're here.
“Sorry for being late” said Thomas guiltily.
Lucie just smiled at him, clearly in a good mood.
“Don’t worry. I'm not in hurry.”
Thomas pulled a chair to sit, facing Lucie.
“You said you need help with a translation?”
“That's right,” she said excitedly. Lucie bring in front of him few papers which he knew were drafts of Lucie's tales. She liked this paper and used it to write on.
“So, you know about the Carstairs arrival, right?”
Thomas managed to nod. His heart was beating fast.
“Anna told me about an hour ago.”
Lucie smiled happily.
“I heard about it today as well. And wanted to do something special for Daisy.” Lucie took a few other papers and two books. Dictionaries, Thomas realized. “And I came up with this: to translate The Beautiful Cordelia in Persian.”
Thomas raised eyebrows, distracted from his thoughts of Alastair for a moment.
“Luce, you have been writing it since you were twelve. To translate it all... it would take weeks. Months.”
“I know,” she sighed. “Four years writing. I know there no chance to do it before their arrival. But I thought it may be ready for our parabatai ceremony.” Lucie looked at all the paper on the table and smiled hopefully at him. “However, that's why I wanted your help, Tom. With you beside me it would be so much faster! So... Will you help?” asked Lucie, pleading.
“Of course Luce!” said Thomas without hesitation. “No need to ask. But do you know when will be your ceremony?”
“No idea” said Lucie honestly. “But I believe we can choose the date. I will convince Cordelia to be in a time after we are ready.”
“You thought about everything, didn't you?” Thomas smiled.
“We are talking about my parabatai after all. Now, let's begin!”
“Let's begin,” Thomas repeated. There were a lot of work to be done.
When Thomas entered the Devil Tavern for the second time this day it was almost evening.
He was with Matthew and James. Together they left the Institute, already in gear, ready to hunt demons. They had to take Christopher before the fall of the night to start patrolling London's streets.
“I just have to pick up some knifes I forgot the last time,” James said. “It won't take long.”
“Jamie loves his knifes too much sometimes” sighed his parabatai.
So now Matthew and Thomas were waiting for him. Matthew ordered one drink for himself but Thomas didn't want. He prefered his mind to be clear before a battle.
His charming friend chated with Polly who was already laughing.
Thomas aksed himself if he should take something to eat. He hadn't eat anything since he met with Lucie. Maybe this could stop his thoughts to wander around Alastair Carstairs.
“Hey Tom,” Matthew called him. Thomas didn't realize when his conversion with Polly ended. “Isn't Christopher the one who usually isn't here?” he asked with a smile.
Thomas tried to smile back but Matthew was right. His mind was elsewhere.
“I'm fine,” he said. He hoped he was not a liar.
Matthew drank from the drink a little, still looking at Thomas.
“Is there someone special?” he asked, curious.
Thomas didn't answer.
“Is it that werewolf girl who was running after you for while?”
“By the Angel, Matthew,” he sighed.
Thomas still felt a little embarrassed thinking about the whole situation. Her name was Bella. She was chasing him for a few weeks and was absolutely shameless. In the end Thomas forced himself to tell her that he liked another person and didn't want she to get hurt, which was true. Bella was very disappointed but said she's fine. Asked about this person though but Thomas refused to tell her anything. It felt too private to share it with someone else.
He thought about Alastair again. For long, maybe longer then Thomas wanted to admit, the Persian was the only one he thought about this way.
There was thousand little things about him. Flash of light in his eyes. The sweet illusion of his hands. His voice. His everything. One heart. One soul. He was the glimpse of the brightest dream in the dark rains.
Thomas felt breathless. The love wasn't what he ever imagined it would be. There's no black and no white. It was all the colors at one.
He startled and looked at Matthew. He forgot that his friend was still there.
“There is definitely someone,” Matthew said, already grinning.
“Are you hungry?” Thomas asked, desperate to change the topic.
Polly came near them, rising an eyebrow.
“Do I know this person? Is it a lady or a gentleman?” the blond keep asking, ignoring Tom's question.
Thomas looked at Polly, trying not to blush.
“Just gimme fried chicken,” he murmured.
Chapter 2: Don't lose your head
Don’t lose your head.
No, don’t lose your head.
Hear what I say:
Don’t lose your way.
Don’t lose your heart.
No, don’t lose your heart.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
As sad as it sounds Alastair often thought that lies were everywhere.
There was no escape from them. His mother lies. Layla. His father. Charles. His so-called friends. The Clave. Alastair probably was the biggest liar of them all.
Even his relationships were all about lies. He lied his mother and sister. He and his mother lied to Cordelia. Even his affair with Charles revolved around lies and secrets.
Alastair looked at his lover who dressed. Charles said that he can't stay for the night and now he was leaving, to return to his full of politics world. That was all he thought about actually - his career.
Alastair often wondered what happened with them. At first it was new. Exciting. Alive. Alastair believed with all his heart that he was in love. Then it was just... nice. Stolen nights here and there, even a few days together. Several hours a day maybe.
Now he didn't know what it was. But he felt that Charles was far from him. It wasn't that something definite has changed. But rather Alastair began to notice things that firstly just bothered him a little but which now were huge issues for him.
Like how Charles almost never tells him where he goes. Or the way he often made decisions for both of them without asking. How he always expected Alastair to be there for him but rarely was there for Alastair. His almost two-year engagement with Ariadne. Alastair was so sick of all this.
And he couldn't help but question himself: if their love was like this from the very beginning, was it actually love in the first place? Wasn't love supposed to send you high? To be more selfless? To be more... truthful? Because this love had started to feel like another lie in Alastair's life.
“Will you be at the ball tomorrow?” asked Alastair while Charles was straightening his shirt collar.
“Maybe,” said his lover. “But I'm not sure. There is unusual demon activity in South London that is bothering the Clave and there will be a meeting about it. I want to show my skills there.”
Alastair felt such a strong annoyance that he surprised himself. Charles always talked about this. To show everyone his best qualities. How good he was. How he could handle every situation.
You will go there to show your abilities again, Alastair thought. But you won't be beside me in the first event I am, in this new town where neither me nor my family don't know almost anybody. You won't be there when I need you. Again.
Alastair guessed there was something in his gaze because Charles stoped dressing for a moment and looked at him.
“What's wrong with you?” He rised an eyebrow.
“Nothing,” Alastair said sharply. “I'm just so happy for you.” Vexation dripped from his mouth.
Charles looked at him irritatinly.
“By the Angel, Alastair,” he said. “You are so moody lately. Calm down. Everything I do is so you and I can be together.”
Alastair closed his eyes for a moment.
Lies. Sweet lies that Charles knew Alastair wanted to hear. Or maybe Charles also believed it? Who knows. But this was a broken promise even before the words to came out of his mouth.
Don't lose your head, he told himself.
“Good,” Alastair said coldly. “You can leave now.”
Charles was already with his coat put on. He glared at him.
“Are you irritated? Really?” he snorted. “I just can't attend one event. It's not a big deal.”
“Didn't you say that you can't stay tonight?” Alastair looked right into his eyes. “Then go.”
For one long moment everything was quiet. They looked at each other intensely. Alastair held his breath, looking at his lover. Charles was fully dressed, ready to leave but was frozen in place. Alastair held the sheets below him so hard that his hands ached.
He wanted Charles to stay so badly.
“Just this one time,” Charles whispered.
Lies, lies, lies.
He turned and after a few seconds the door was quietly closed after him.
Alastair closed his eyes to stop the tears.
The next morning at breakfast, Cordelia looked at him while drinking her tea. Alastair knew she wanted to know what was bothering him but he looked away. Layla was already too concerned about their father. Alastair wanted to protect her by it but his efforts were pointless. But that didn't mean he had to add his problems to her's.
“Alastair joon,” Sona stopped him after breakfast. “Are you alright?”
Alastair's heart ached.
“There are nothing to worry, Mâmân,” Alastair assured her. “Just couldn't sleep well.”
His mother gave him worried look.
“The ball is after a few hours, darling. Are you sure you're fine?”
“Yes,” he said immediately. He didn't want to worry his mother. She was exhausted enough by all this drama with Father. They all were. “I'm fine.”
After this she and Layla went to choose a dress for his sister. Alastair went straight to his room. He sat in front of his desk and put few papers.
He had thought about this all night after Charles left. It hurt. Really hurt. But Alastair decided it the moment Charles turned his back to him that night. He wasn't sure what to say in the letter. He had a feeling that if he starts to write what bothered him about Charles' actions he wouldn't stop. And probably would find new ones. So he tried to keep it simple. It took him three or four drafts but finally the letter was good enough. What was important was there, with no fancy words and fake promises.
Alastair wrote many things in the letter but most important was maybe that he said to Charles this is over. Their romantic relationship was over. He wasn't sure he wanted to had any sort relationships with him anymore but this was enough for now.
Alastair was hurt but he also felt relieved. He was free of one of his lies.
He sealed the letter and call one servant to send it to Charles' house. He looked at the clock on the wall. The ball was soon.
Sona, Layla and him were in the carriage, almost at the Institute.
“London is so beautiful. I can't decide what we should see first. I'm sure the Herondales can recommend something,” Cordelia said, smiling at the buildings they were passing. “I can't wait to see Lucie,” added a little bit quieter but even more excited.
“You said this ten minutes ago,” Alastair rolled his eyes. “And you met her yesterday.”
“Yes, but it was for a while because it was already night when we arrived in London,” she frowned at him.
Alastair opened his mouth to answer but didn't have the chance.
“Children,” Sona said impatiently. “Stop it already. We are here.”
When the Carstairs entered the ballroom, Alastair felt already bored. He didn't like this sort of events. Too much people talking about too much pointless things.
He didn't even made an effort to look for Charles. He knew he wasn't here.
Tessa Herondale introduced them from group to group. He remembered only half of them. At the end they stopped. His mother started a conversation with Gabriel and Cecily Lightwood. Cordelia chatted with the girl beside them. Alastair wasn't paying much attention though. He didn't want to be here but it was important.
“Who’s the boy dancing with Lucie?” Cordelia asked.
“Ah, this is my brother.”
Even before she could finnish Alastair turned and searched the dance floor. This was Barbara Lightwood, by the Angel, how could not think that her brother would be here. There were many people he didn't know, dancing and laughing, some of them in groups, talking. But there weren't many people over 1.90 meters high. And he found him. Sandy hair, hazel eyes and broad shoulders.
Alastair felt like someone kicked him in the stomach. Paris immediately appeared in his head. These short beautiful days with him. The endless conversations about music, books and history, the walks. Thomas' hand. He long wondered if he made that tattoo after all.
When the days ended he carefully tried to forget them. They were pure memories that should be locked and protected at all cost.
At that time Thomas Lightwood was a guilty pleasure. Now he was even more.
At this moment the dance ended and Lucie spotted her future parabatai. She said something to Thomas who fast looked at their way.
Their eyes met.
Lucie hurried to his sister and hugged her. Alastair just couldn't look away from the other boy. Thomas slowly approached them, without breaking the eye contact.
When he finally stood in front him, he smiled shyly. Alastair didn't realize how much he missed his smile.
“It's good to see you, Carstairs,” he said.
For his surprise, Alastair returned the smile.
“Good to see you too, Lightwood. You aren't taller from the last time we saw each other, for everyone's relief.”
“I suppose,” Thomas said, his eyes focused on Alastair. “So how are you? I heard that you were in Devon before coming in London?”
“That's right,” Alastair said. Lucie took Layla by her hand and they both went to talk with some girls. The Lightwoods and Sona was a little far away. Alastair and Thomas weren't alone but the atmosphere between them was definitely more private. “In Cirenworth, a Carstairs house there. It's close to one town, Chagford. Small but nice. I should take you to see it some day.”
Thomas smiled at him so brightly. Alastair wanted to know what he said to make him smile like that. He would say it all the time.
They continued to talk. Alastair probably was supposed to dance with some ladies. Perhaps Thomas too. But neither of them did it. It was far from their minds. Alastair felt like he was in Paris with Thomas again. Just they, talks about art and no one in the world.
Don't lose your head, Alastair thought. Don't lose your heart. But he was afraid it was probably too late.
From here the fic slightly follow ChoG plot. And a little mention: I’m not sure if the Carstairs were really in Devon before arriving in London but why not 🤷
And thank you for reading!
Please tell me what you think in the comments :)
Chapter 3: Pain is so close to pleasure
When your plans go wrong - you turn out the light
But inside of your mind you put up a fight
Where are the answers that we're all searching for
His hair is black, Thomas thought, marveling at it.
He knew that Alastair's natural color is black but had never seen it. Until now.
Thomas wanted to touch it. It would be weird just to do it, but he was really tempted.
It would be soft, he thought. It looked so soft. Thomas imagined it between his fingers, how he runs his hand through it, the little curls escaping, cuddling his skin...
“Thomas,” he felt warm hand on his own and with surprise found out it was Alastair's. His breath stopped but Alastair didn't seems to notice. His palm was calloused against Tom's wrists. The hand of a fighter. “Do you heard what I asked?”
Thomas felt his face hot. The other man raised an eyebrow at him.
“I'm sorry, what were you talking about?” he asked, very embarrassed.
Alastair didn't look annoyed though. Actually, in his eyes had amusement. Like Thomas reaction was not what he expected but he likes it.
Alastair moved away his hand and Thomas missed it immediately.
“I said that I heard there is some strange demon activity. Is that true?”
Thomas suddenly felt anxious. This time it had nothing to do with the dark-haired person in front of him.
“Yes, that's true,” he admitted, talking a little bit quieter. “In South London, around Brixton. At the moment the Enclave has a meeting for it.”
His father and mother were at it, and Will Herondale. He was actually relieved that it was a day now because if not he was sure his parents would go to check themselves.
“Is it really that serious?” Alastair asked, a little bit surprise in his voice.
Thomas hesitated for a moment. He wasn't sure what he could tell or even how true was his information. But he didn't see the point of hiding it. The people would know it soon anyway.
“Honestly, I don't know much myself. What is known for now is that the Shadowhunters who go to hunt there almost never return. These who do are badly injured and say that there is some kind of a demon that they have never see before.”
There was no joy on Alastair's face anymore but a deep frown.
“How long has this been going on?” he asked.
“No one is absolutely sure but around three or four days maybe,” Thomas answered. “I guess we will know more after the meeting.” Or at least he hoped so.
Alastair's frown deepen.
“It's impossible to be something that no one has never seen before.”
Thomas shook his head.
“I don't know,” he answered honestly. “My parents are at the meeting. I believe they could find solution.”
Alastair looked thoughtful and even a little worried. Perhaps to find out there was some kind of new demon when you and your family just arrived at the town weren't the best news.
Thomas felt bad. It would be better if he kept his mouth shut. He didn't want to see Alastair unhappy. But it was always better to know the truth.
“Hey, do you want to get out of here?” Thomas asked suddenly. He wanted to distract Alastair a bit.
Alastair's eyes widened a little. “What?!”
“Come on,” Thomas said hopefully. “I want to show you something.”
“But I have to attend. We can't just leave, can we?” He looked around the ballroom which was full of laughing and dancing people. Then at Thomas' hopeful eyes. And sighed. “Let's do it.”
After Alastair and Thomas secretly left they caught a carriage. Thomas didn't want to reveal where they were going so he said a place near their real destination. He was almost sure Alastair didn't know London well enough to recognize the name even if Thomas did say it but he didn't want to risk it.
After they were left on the beginning of Victoria Bridge, together they started walking along the water. The few mundanes and automobiles that was passing couldn't see them. Thomas felt more at place when people couldn't see him rather on sort of events like the ball.
“You don't like crowds, do you?” Alastair asked quietly.
Thomas gave him a surprised look.
“Yes, that's right. They make me anxious since I was young.” Thomas was silent for a moment. “I... I didn't think you remember.”
Alastair didn't answer. They kept walking together, while the sun was slowly beginning to set.
“So where are we going?” Alastair finally asked.
“You will see.”
They were silent while walking. But it wasn't uncomfortable at all. Actually, Thomas felt very pleasantly. Alastair Carstairs wasn't a friend but walks with him were Thomas' favorites. Which was strange though. But thinking about it now he realized that it was a simple truth. It wasn't he didn't like to be with his friends. But Lucie and especially Matthew always wanted to make small talk which Thomas didn't like. James and Christopher were nicer but Jamie was always reading some book and Kit was often very distracted and thought about other things. But with Alastair he felt calm. Like he was a longtime friend or... a lover.
Thomas stopped his thoughts immediately. Alastair was none of that. Though Thomas really wanted to be. A friend. A lover. Both. None. He wasn't sure. But what he did know was that he wanted to be close to Alastair no matter what.
“Here we are,” Thomas said when they came at the end of the bridge.
“This is a park,” Alastair said, looking around curiously. There was a endless size of trees and greenery. The entrance was open and just now a few people came out. The paths were extensive and clean. There were benches in every few meters. It was almost evening and there weren't many mundanes.
“Yes,” he confirmed. “Battersea Park. Do you want to go there?” Thomas asked hopefully.
“Of course,” Alastair smiled a little. “Why not?”
They entered. This was one of Tom's favorite places in London. When his surrounding became too much he came here. He had never told a soul about it before. It was his very private spot where he could be alone for a few hours. He wasn't sure why he wanted to show it to Alastair. To bring him here felt like giving him a part of himself. To break his own heart into pieces so he could give Alastair one of them.
Love is painful, Thomas thought. But pain is so close to pleasure.
He looked at Alastair out the corner of his eye. His heart was beating so fast he had a feeling it was going to jump out of his chest.
The sun was setting behind him. Looking at Alastair who seemed to enjoy the light breeze with a smile and closed eyes, Thomas felt like he was out of breath. He sensed the world like he was underwater. The sight in front of him was so beautiful that made his heart ache.
“Adelbaram,” fell from Thomas' lips, involuntarily, and the wind carried his quiet words to Alastair's ears.
The Persian opened his dark eyes and looked at Thomas. There was shock. And something else. Thomas' broke the eye contact because he didn't think he could bear to see the disgust on Alastair's face.
“What... did you just say?” his voice was strange. Guttural.
Thomas didn't look at him. He could hear, feel, how Alastair approached him. He grabbed his arm, right under the tattoo.
“What did you call me?”
Thomas was a fool. He was too used to people around him to misunderstand what he murmured. But Alastair was Persian. He could understand what he said pretty well. Or maybe he said it in Persian on purpose? Did really one part of him wanted Alastair to know it so bad?
Thomas let out a breath. He returned to London with the thought he was better now. That he wasn't the sicky little boy who everyone took care of anymore. Thomas wanted to be brave.
He looked right into Alastair's eyes. He couldn't believe he was doing this.
“I called you,” Thomas began, placing gently his hand on the lower part of Alastair's arm, “the thief of my heart.“
So many emotions crossed Alastair's face. And so fast. For a second or two. Thomas couldn't recognize any. Then it became an ice mask.
Dear Raziel, what have I did?
Anxiety grabbed Thomas. He waited. And waited. He wanted Alastair to say something. Something.
But there was only silence.
• • •
As it seems there had happened interesting things at the ball. The morning, while Barbara, Thomas and their parents sat at the table for breakfast, his sister told them.
For a start, the Blackthorns appeared. Gideon tensed.
“All three of them?” He asked.
He and Uncle Gabriel weren't in good relationship with their sister.
“That's right,” said Barbara. “It was a shock for everyone.”
It was for Thomas as well. The Blackthorns had lived in Chiswick for a few months already but they very rarely come to some social event and definitely not all of them.
“How did they look?” Sophie asked while drinking her tea. “Were there any problems?”
“Well,” Barbara looked unsure. “They seemed fine. But aunt Tatiana didn't let them talk with neither me, nor uncle Gabriel and aunt Cecily. The Herondales too. I couldn't introduce myself to them.”
“Only Raziel knows what Tatiana is thinking,” murmured his father but the words was intended to his mother. Sophie whispered something to him which made Gideon smile softly at her.
Thomas thought about his cousins. He had never met them but he had wished to talk to them more than once before. Especially Jesse Blackthorn. Thomas knew that he was sick child too and really wanted to talk with someone with the same condition as his when he was little.
Barbara kept talking about the ball. Their parents were interested to hear what happened but not Thomas. The only thing that he wanted was to finish his breakfast so he can go help Lucie with the translation. Maybe this could distract him a bit.
“What happened at the meeting though?” Barbara asked and drank from her tea. This caught his attention.
“It was longer then expected,” Sophie said. “But useful.”
“We got new information from the injured ones,” his father said. “The Silent brothers told us. But it was confusing at first.”
“What do you mean?” Thomas asked, the first thing he said this morning.
His mother eyed him.
“Some of them said at first they thought that were Moloch or Iblis demons but there was too much fire. None of them could say what exactly are these creatures and no one recognized them the Codex,” his mother shook her head.
“Everyone was worried,” Gideon added, puting a hand on his wife's shoulder. “In the end we decided we have to restrict distribution as much as possible.”
“Are you saying this new demon is trying to seize the whole London?” Thomas asked surprised. How strong these demons could be to not be able to be stopped by so many Shadowhunters?
“Unfortunately, yes,” Gideon said. “It's observed the same demon activity in Camberwell and we will try to stop it from going in west and north now.”
Thomas wasn't feeling good enough for this conversation. Without finishing his breakfast he excused himself and rose from the table. Shortly after that he left the house.
Thomas' body was so heavy. His mind was a little unclear. The night was restless for him. He needed sleep, he knew. He needed to forget. No, he needed to get back in the time to make himself to not say a damn word to Alastair.
Alastair, Alastair, Alastair.
So in love, he thought bitterly, but love had a bad reaction.
While he climbed into the Lightwood carriage, Thomas suddenly missed Eugenia who was in Idris now.
She often was sharp but has a soft side which was saved mostly for her little brother. Maybe she wouldn't say the most soothing thing but would tell you the truth the way it is - imperfect, sometimes painful but always better then a lie.
Thomas remembered what she once told him. He was feeling very weak that day and everyone was trying to make him feel better.
Eugenia sat then on his bed, held his hand and said “Some days you're feeling good, some days you're feeling bad,” she gently ran her hand through his hair. “And if you're feeling happy someone else is always sad. And if you're feeling sad someone else is always happy. This is the way things are, Tom-Tom. So the least thing you can do is to make yourself better. To always try to make feeling yourself well and happy. Because when you are fine you can try to make people around you to feel fine too.”
Thomas had always tried to follow her advice. As much as possible. But it hasn't been so hard until now.
Thank you for reading!
Please tell me what you think in the comments :)
Chapter 4: Who wants to live forever
But touch my tears with your lips,
Touch my world with your fingertips,
And we can have forever,
And we can love forever.
Forever is our today.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Alastair tried to read the article for the third time. The words just couldn't reach his brain. With a sigh Alastair turned the page of the newspaper. In the last week he couldn't concentrate on anything actually. He had work to do but he mostly trained because that was the only thing that seems to calm his mind.
“I'm ready,” Layla appeared at the door at his room. “Should we go?”
“Finally,” he closed the newspaper and put it aside. “It took you forever.”
His sister frowned at him.
“It's not true. Only thirty minutes. Besides,” she added, “I could go alone.”
Alastair raised from his seat and left his room, following Cordelia to the front door.
“You know pretty well this isn't my idea.” It was their mother's. Layla and Lucie had to train together and there was an Enclave meeting at the Institute today which Alastair wanted to attend. So his mother said they should go together. Nether Cordelia nor Alastair were very excited about it but they had no choice.
“I know,” she sighed while they were getting in the carriage. With a little bit of worry, Alastair noticed. He couldn't blame her for worrying about their mother. He did too. Alastair wished Sona to finally tell Cordelia about her pregnancy. Maybe this way his sister would be a little bit calmer.
When they arrived at the Institute it was surprising to see that many people were already there for the meeting.
No one paid Alastair and Cordelia much attention when they entered. Though Alastair saw many familiar faces. Young faces. Many Nephilims were injured, disappeared or killed, leaving their children to deal with this situation.
Cordelia found Lucie in the crowd and Alastair, without much choice, followed her. But then he detected that Thomas stood right beside her. His heart went up his throat.
“Darling Cordelia,” Lucie hugged his future parabatai.
“Lucie,” Layla said, smiling. “I thought the meeting starts later. Why there are so many people so early?”
“Well,” Lucie said, looking around. “I think most of them are just very worried about their close ones and want more information. Though there is none.”
“Excuse me,” Thomas said quietly and went in the crowd, looking tense. He doesn't like crowds, Alastair thought absentmindedly, looking after him. He wanted to stop him, to say he wanted to talk with him, to apologize. But it wasn't the right place or time. And as much as Alastair hated it, he didn't have the courage.
Thomas came to two people who Alastair recognized as Anna and Gabriel Lightwood. Thomas' cousin and uncle. He was a little surprised to see Anna Lightwood. He knew that she had never has interest in politics. But she was probably here because her mother, Cecily Lightwood, was injured by these new demons. Though Gabriel himself looked ill. Like the wound of his wife had an effect on him too.
Alastair envied their close relationship. His only cousin was a Silent Brother who he didn't meet at all. His father would never be someone Alastair could rely on. He had to keep secrets from his mother and sister.
Though none of the Lightwoods seemed happy in the moment. Rather serious and even worried. Like Sona, Layla and Alastair were since Elias was arrested. Maybe every family had their own problems after all.
To look at them, especially Thomas, was painful so he turned his gaze to Cordelia and Lucie. They were deep in a conversation so Alastair left them alone.
“Alastair?” He turned to the familiar voice. Ariadne Bridgestock. She smiled at him. “Do you have a minute?”
“Of course,” Alastair said. Actually, he had plenty of minutes until the start of the meeting which would be spent thinking about Thomas so he didn't mind some distraction. “What's the matter?”
She stepped closer and said “Is it true that your relationship with Charles is over?”
This caught him off guard. He quickly looked around to see if anyone was listening to them.
“Yes, that's correct,” Alastair answered quietly. “Why are you asking?”
Alastair doubted Charles shared anything from his private business with Ariadne. They weren't that close.
“Just... Lately he seems more edgy I think. I thought it might have something to do with you.”
Alastair frowned. Before two or three days they talked and then Alastair made himself absolutely clear: he didn't want to be with him anymore. Charles couldn't believe it at first but eventually he said he understands. Alastair wished him happiness but he didn't want to get involved with Charles anymore.
“Well, I hope he gets better,” he said only.
Ariadne nodded. After a few seconds she asked “Sorry if this is too personal to ask but am I the reason for your separation? Because I wouldn't want to be.”
“By the Angel, Ariadne,” Alastair looked at her surprised. “It's not your fault by any means. It's just...” Alastair found himself unable to stop the words from his mouth but at the same time they hardly came out of it. “It's Charles. And mostly me. I wasn't... comfortable in our current state. I... I didn't want to hide and lie about us. I couldn't stand it anymore. I even don't know how I did it for so long.”
Some sort of a pain flashed in Ariadne's eyes. “So you... didn't want to be his secret?”
“Yes, something like that,” Alastair said.
Ariadne's eyes were on someone in the crowd. He followed her gaze to there. It was Anna Lightwood. Alastair was startled for a moment. He didn't know they had any relationships. Was it possible to have something between them?
Alastair looked at Ariadne again. Her face didn't say much but her eyes spook enough. Did Anna broke Ariadne's heart? Anna was a famous heartbreaker.
Ariadne turned her attention back to him and smiled with an effort. “However. I just wanted to let you know that if you need you can always talk with me. I assume not many people know about... your situation with Charles.”
“Thank you,” Alastair answered, surprised. He thought about the pain in her eyes looking at Anna Lightwood. “You can tell me if something is bothering you too,” she looked him in the eyes. “I mean it.”
Ariadne cast one more glance at Anna. “Thank you,” she said quietly. “I appreciate it.”
They stayed this way for a while. Without talking, every one of them looking at the person they desired the most.
• • • •
Alastair shut the door after himself as quiet as possible. His mother, Cordelia and Risa were probably asleep already and he didn't want to make noise. Though they were in the other part of the building but Alastair didn't want to risk it.
He patrolled for hours by now. With Ida Rosewain and Martin Wentworth, around Lambeth. Although they didn't meet any new demons. Only a few Iblis and Hellhound. Nothing new in other words.
Alastair began to count the spears he had to clean while going to his room. After thirty minutes everything was in the right place and Alastair was in his nightwear. He was checking if all the windows and doors were closed and turned off almost all the lights when someone knocked at the door.
Alastair astonished. In the name of Raziel, he just wanted to sleep. With seraph dagger in his hand, ready to fight if there was threat, Alastair approached the door slowly. He opened the door fast, raised the blade high.
But there was no need. Even in the dark he could recognize Thomas' figure.
“Good Raziel,” Alastair gasped. “What are you doing here?”
“Can... Can I come in?” his voice was husky.
“Yes,” Alastair said, faster then he wanted to admit. He moved from the door so Thomas could come in and closed it after him. “The kitchen is the next door, you can sit there. Wait for a minute.”
Alastair went fast to his room to leave the dagger and to take one candle. He didn't want to wake up the rest. Also took his witchlight just in case.
When he came back into the kitchen Thomas was sitting on one of the chairs. His head in his hand, elbows on the table.
“Thomas? What's wrong with you?”
He didn't respond. Alastair frowned and came near him. He had a bad feeling.
“Thomas,” Alastair said quietly. “Show me your face.”
He heard how Thomas let out a trembling sigh.
“Thomas,” Alastair repeated his name again. But he didn't move. Alastair pushed his hand away from his face and tilted Thomas' chin up to get a better look.
The sight stopped his breath. There was a bruising around the left eye. A small trickle of blood trickled beside the other. Big blue mark on his jaw. This weren't wounds from a demon. But human hand.
Alastair looked him dead in the eyes. “Who did this to you?”
Thomas lowered his eyes and moved his hand away from his chin.
“It was just a silly fight with the boy I was patrolling. The other Shadowhunter was older, it was a shame to be so childish in front of him...”
“Thomas,” Alastair growled. “Who?”
Thomas closed eyes for a moment and let out, “Piers Wentworth.”
Alastair clenched his hands into fists. He was gonna kill him. He would make him regret that we was even born.
“Alastair,” Thomas breathed. “Calm down, please. It was really stupid. His father is on his deathbed. He was upset, I wasn't in the mood and we just lost it. Gerald Highsmith was very angry and told us to go home.”
Alastair didn't want to hear excuses for Wentworth but to break his neck. He was so angry. How dared this scum to touch Thomas.
Alastair looked at his face. Now wasn't the time. But later he would make Piers Wentworth sorry.
“Do you have stele?” he questioned.
“What?” Thomas asked confused.
“In Raziel's name,” Alastair groaned. “For your wounds. You need iratze.”
“Oh,” Thomas said embarrassed. “Yes, you're right.” He gave Alastair his stele from his pocket.
Alastair tilted his head back, exposing his throat. “Don't move,” Alastair muttered as he leaned down. He put his hand on the other side of Thomas neck to keep him steady. His pulse was beating fast under Alastair's fingers while he draw the rune.
“Why you came in my house though?” Alastair murmured.
“I was close and I didn't want my family to see me like this. And I... I hoped to see you.”
Thomas was so painfully honest that it took away Alastair's breath. When he was done with the rune Thomas shifted his head a little bit forward so he could look Alastair in the eyes. Alastair didn't move. He could feel Thomas' breath on his face.
“Alastair, I...” Thomas' word was barely a whisper. “That day in the park... I...”
Alastair still could feel his rapidly heartbeat. His lips parted a little bit.
“I didn't mean. It was... it was a misunderstanding. Can we still be...” he was panting.
Alastair senses were swallowed up by him. He couldn't see anything but his hazel eyes. He couldn't hear anything but Thomas' heavy breathing. He couldn't feel anything but his skin.
Alastair knew it was a bad idea but it was somehow inevitably. Before he knew what is happening Alastair tilted Thomas' head back and pressed his mouth against his lips. He was kissing Thomas Lightwood.
Thomas made a soft sound, a little surprised. Like he couldn't believe what was happening. Alastair couldn't too.
He felt how Thomas' hands slid on his arms, to the elbows. Fire was running through his veins. There was a sound but Alastair couldn't tell who made it. Maybe both of them.
After a few seconds he broke off the kiss and pulled his hands away. “I'm sorry, I shouldn't have...”
But he couldn't draw away because Thomas grabbed his face and crushed his lips into his. Alastair groaned. If the first kiss was gentle this one was nothing but desperation and hunger. Oh Raziel, Thomas' fingers were buried in his hair. They kept him in place like Thomas was afraid Alastair was going to run away from him. Alastair had no such intention. His own hands were on Thomas' wrists.
He had no idea how much time they spent on kissing but the need of air forced them to stop. They parted only a few inches, breathing insteady. Thomas eyes were still closed like he dreaming.
“By the Angel, Lightwood,” he murmured, pressing his forehead at Thomas'. His heart was beating crazy. On Thomas' face was no trace of the brushes, he noticed.
He slowly opened his hazel eyes. They shined with strange light. “Does that mean you...”
“Yes,” Alastair said. He breathed out shakily. “Yes.”
Thomas smiled and Alastair's heart just missed a beat. As much as he didn't want to, Alastair pulled away from Thomas. He had to think and Thomas made him dizzy. He pulled a chair and sat on him. His knee almost touched Thomas'.
“I...” Alastair began. He swallowed. “I'm sorry. For that day in the park. I shouldn't have left like that. It wasn't right.” He couldn't look Thomas in the face. “This is not excuse but in the same day I ended a long relationship between me and... my lover.”
Alastair heard how Thomas took a sharp breath. “Was it... a man?”
“Yes,” Alastair answered. “It was a man.”
For a few seconds there was a hush. Alastair waited for Thomas' judgment. Then he felt how Thomas was taking his hand and said softly. “If you want to talk about it, I'm here for you.”
Alastair said automatically “I'm fine.”
But then he looked away form their hands to his face. Thomas expression was solicitous, his eyes full of concern. Alastair realized that Thomas... cared a lot. Indeed.
“Actually, I'm not,” Alastair released. “I... I don't think I am.”
Thomas squeezed his hand. He asked quietly, “Do you want to tell me?”
Looking at his face, Alastair thought that Thomas was the most kind hearted person he has ever met.
“It will take long,” Alastair whispered.
“Well,” Thomas held Alastair's hand with both of his and said, “Imagine that the world has one sweet moment set aside for us,” he whispered, “And this is tonight.”
Alastair closed his eyes for a moment. He didn't deserve Thomas' kindness. Alastair took a deep breath. Let it out.
And started talking about Charles.
• • • •
“How was the patrolling last night?” Sona asked.
All three of them were on the table, having breakfast. Alastair drank from his tea before answering.
“It wasn't bad. Though nothing happened. We met only common demons, nothing unusual.”
“You seem in good mood today,” Cordelia mentioned with a smile before taking a bite of her eggs.
“If you say so,” he answered neutral.
“Layla is right, Alastair joon,” Sona added with a smile.
Alastair rolled his eyes. “You are imagining it.”
But he secretly smiled, thinking about last night.
Getting off the carriage, Alastair and Cordelia saw that there were too much people in front the Institute.
Alastair notice Inquisitor Bridgestock, Will Herondale and Gideon and Gabriel Lightwood, even Charles. Not far from them he saw two figures who he didn't know. One pale girl and a black haired boy. He spotted James Herondale near them but he was looking for Thomas. Maybe he wasn't here.
“What's happening?” Cordelia wondered beside him. He wanted to know the same.
“Cordelia!” Lucie appeared and hugged his sister. “You're here, thank the Angel.”
“Lucie,” Cordelia embraced her future parabatai. “What is this? What is the Inquisitor doing here?”
Lucie squeezed her arm. “Because aunt Charlotte hasn't come yet. I believe she will be here soon.”
“But what is happening? Why the Blackthorns are here?” Layla frowned.
Lucie gave the girl and the boy a sad look.
“Because Tatiana Blackthorn is dead.”
Chapter 5: One year of love
One sentimental moment in your arms
Is like a shooting star right through my heart.
It's always a rainy day without you.
I'm a prisoner of love inside you.
I'm falling apart all around you.
Here is the London's map
Thomas didn't want to leave Christopher alone. After Cecily was injured he was even deeper in his experiments. Thomas suspected that was his coping mechanism. His escape from reality.
Thomas couldn't blame him. He himself had dozen places and ways to hide.
He was with him all morning, helping with the current experiment. Christopher was trying to do something with fire rune which always made Thomas wondering if there was water near them. He mentioned it was something to do with messages but when Thomas asked for more details Christopher shook his head. It was too early to tell.
Thomas wanted to comfort him. Maybe to hug him or give him hot chocolate. But he knew better.
"Would you give me more papers please?" Christopher asked absently, without taking his eyes off the thing he was writing.
"Of course," Thomas said and rose up to take more lists from the other room.
When he returned he found that Anna was at the door, watching her brother. Christopher didn't seem to notice. Thomas carefully put the papers beside his cousin and went to Anna.
“Any news about aunt Cecily?” Thomas asked quietly.
“No,” Anna shook her head. “I came because I wanted to check how is Chris.”
“He is fine,” Thomas sighed. “As much as any of as could be I suppose.”
“I'm worried about him,” Anna said quietly. “I don't know...”
“There is no need,” Christopher said suddenly and calmly looked at them. “To talk like I'm not in the room.”
Thomas felt guilty. He remembered the times when his sisters and parents talked about him when thought he couldn't hear them or how they made unnecessary things for him. He didn't want to be the same to Christopher.
“I'm sorry,” Thomas said honestly.
“Darling,” Anna said softly. She went to her brother and kissed his forehead. “We're just concerned about you.”
Anna gracefully sat on chair on which Thomas was a minute ago. “What are you working on, dear brother?”
Christopher shook his head.
“Not yet,” then looked at Thomas. “Are you going already?” He sounded disappointed.
“Unfortunately, yes,” Thomas said and he felt bad. He remembered how Christopher said once that he liked the most Thomas to be around him when he was working on something. It didn't matter who was around him but Thomas was the one who knew where was everything. Who was around Christopher all the time and who presence was most comfortable. Thomas felt very touched.
“Hey,” Anna said jokingly. “I'm not Thomas but I'm not that bad. I can help too.”
Christopher smiled at her.
“I will come tomorrow, I promise,” Thomas said and turned around to leave the room.
“Tom!” Anna said after him. “We're patrolling tonight, remember?”
“Yes,” he said, without turning. “I remember, don't worry.”
• • • • •
“Are you sure?” Lucie asked suspiciously.
“Yes,” Thomas confidently. “Your translation is good. There weren't any mistakes.”
“Fine,” Lucie smiled. “But if I found that you lied to me just to make me feel better I will kill you.”
Thomas laughed. “I will keep this in mind.”
They both worked much on The Beautiful Cordelia translation. Lucie was working hard on it herself so it was faster than Thomas expected. Her Persian was actually very good.
They had a little time until Cordelia arrived to train with Lucie so Thomas went back to it.
He was feeling ridiculously good. Great even. It was strange because the situation with the new demons wasn't getting better (but it wasn't getting worse which was good).
Thomas heard steps and both Lucie and he raised heads to see Tessa.
“Cordelia is here,” she said. “She is in the training room.”
“Great!” Lucie said with a big smile. She turned to Thomas. “We will continue tomorrow, right?”
“Yes,” Thomas said and carefully closed the dictionary.
“Good,” Lucie raised and started to sort the papers with the translation. “I'm going now. Thanks again Tom!”
“Always for you Luce,” he smiled at her.
She left the room together with Tessa. Thomas sorted a few papers and left himself. He was thinking if he should pay Alastair a visit. Would be strange? But even if it was, he really wanted to see him.
Thomas remembered what happened that night and smiled.
At the beginning Alastair was hesitant. But then he started to talk for real. While listening to him Thomas' heart ached. Alastair deserved better then this relationships. He never mention a name but Thomas thought he knew who was his past lover.
After finishing talking Alastair seemed somehow… relieved. He smiled at Thomas. It was beautiful.
After that Thomas didn't remember much. Alastair made him dizzy. They talked a little more. Thomas made him laugh. This was beautiful too. He could remember how happy he was when he left. That he stole a kiss from Alastair. He felt brave back then. Like he was drunk.
In the next day he didn't have much time to think about it. Not after what happened with the Blackthorns. Tatiana was attacked at the night, around Fulham. No one knew why she was out so late at night or where she was going. But she was badly injured by one of the new demons which was hunted by group of Shadowhunters. They managed to kill it but Tatiana was already wounded. Most of her body was scorched and she didn't survive the night. Jesse and Grace Blackthorn didn't know any of this and in the morning they were brought to the Institute and had been told what happened to their mother. Thomas' father and uncle were there and wanted to take care of them, Will and Charlotte too. James told him that even the Inquisitor appeared. After all they have let them choose themselves. Now they were at Consul's home. It wasn't so surprising actually - after all their mother had taught them all their life that Lightwoods and Herondales are bad.
So yesterday Thomas was mostly with Christopher, James and Matthew and if not he was helping Lucie with The Beautiful Cordelia .
But the night he fell asleep with Alastair's face in his mind. He wanted to see him.
Now he was leaving the Institute thinking when he could do it. Was now the right time? Would Alastair be angry if Thomas just shows at his door? That night he seemed happy with Thomas but what if he changed his mind? Thomas have always been anxious but the thought of Alastair unpleasant with him made him feel nervous at whole new level.
But when he went outside all these thoughts disappeared.
Alastair was in front of the Institute, a carriage behind him and he smiled at Thomas.
“So,” Alastair began and cleared his throat. “I hope I’m not bothering you but I… I wanted to see you.”
Thomas’ smile was so big that his face hurted. He approached Alastair and almost hugged him but didn’t dare.
“I’m happy you are here,” he said. “I wanted to see you too.”
Alastair seemed surprised at first but then at his face appeared pleased smile.
“Do you have any plans for today?” He asked.
“I don’t think so,” Thomas said.
“Good. Because I heard there is this guy who know where are all hidden and nice places in London.”
Thomas laughed. Alastair stared at him for a moment and fast turned his gaze to the carriage.
“However,” he said and cleaned invisible dust from his shoulder. “Do you have somewhere in mind where we could go?”
“I think I have,” Thomas said, his heart beating fast.
• • • • •
Thomas went out of the carriage. Alastair was right after him.
“Are we going to a park again?” He asked.
“No,” Thomas said and smiled. Because the place they were going reminded him of their first meeting in Paris. “It’s very different place.”
They were close to the Tower bridge. Thomas lead Alastair to one small street. It was busy place around here but Thomas knew where was more quiet.
It was small bookstore of ancient books. Beside it was a cafe. Most of the people who came here wеre regular customers of both, including Thomas.
Thomas said all of this to Alastair while they were entering the bookstore.
“Also,” he added. “Here you can find almost everything. This is the only place in London where I can find old persian books.”
Alastair didn’t answer but Thomas could see he was interested. Thomas thought about all these time when he wanted to show James this place. He was gonna fall in love with it. But for some reason Thomas couldn’t make himself to bring his friend here. He was sure if he asked James wouldn’t tell anyone about it. But the thought of even one person knowing one of his hidden spots made him feel uneasy.
And here he was, showing Alastair two of them.
The spent more than hour in the bookstore. Alastair was fascinated by it. After that they went to the cafe. The whole afternoon was short but wonderful.
But the sun was starting to set.
“I have to go,” Thomas said apologetically. “I have patrolling with Anna.”
“No problem,” Alastair said and they both raised from the table. “I have to patrol too.”
Thomas wished he could go patrolling with Alastair. This he could be more time with him.
They fast caught a carriage. Both of them had to stop at their homes before going out to hunt. Alastair lived in Kensington and Thomas in Holborn so Thomas was going to climb down a lot earlier than him.
When they began to come closer to Tom's home he turned to Alastair.
But he couldn't finish the question because Alastair grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and crushed his lips into his.
Thomas didn't know how to react at first. He couldn't think. Like their first kiss in Alastair's kitchen he was overwhelmed by the knowledge itself that Alastair Carstairs was kissing him.
Eventually he relaxed a bit. The kiss was slow and sweet. One of Alastair's hands was still on his collar and the other on his waist like he was trying to pull him closer.
One of Thomas' hands was around his shoulders and the fingers of the other in Alastair's hair. Raziel, he loved his hair.
Alastair realized his mouth but didn't let him go. They both was breathless, their faces still close.
“I wanted to do this in the moment I saw you today,” Alastair said and smiled.
Thomas smiled too. He pressed his forehead against his and closed his eyes.
To be able to kiss Alastair was unreal. And Alastair himself to kiss him, Raziel. It was so impossible, so imaginary that Thomas was worried he was going to wake up from this dream any moment.
“I wish we could stay like this forever,” Thomas whispered.
Alastair's calloused fingers intertwined with his own.
“Who wants forever,” he said. “When I can have this moment with you?”
Something melt in Thomas' chest. It was so not in Alastair's style to say such a thing, but he still whispered the words quietly and softly. All he could do was surrender to it.
The carriage stopped. They arrived at Thomas's home.
“Can I see you again tomorrow?” Thomas asked fast. They didn't have much time before falling of the night and Alastair should go to his home too.
“Yes,” Alastair said with glowing eyes. “For you is always yes.”
Thomas went out of the carriage feeling like he was flying.
• • • • •
“Did you hear what happened to Piers Wentworth?” Matthew chuckled.
“What about him?” Thomas frowned. He was in the Devil Tavern with Christopher, James and Matthew. He hadn't been with them like this for a long time. He was also worried that James and Matthew would go to hunt the new demons, which given the name Nignis, all alone.
“I heard,” James said. “Someone threw him into the Thames.”
“What?” Thomas choked with his trifle.
He remembered how angry looked Alastair when he told him that he had a fight with Piers Wentworth. He looked like he was ready to kill but Thomas didn't expect to actually do something. By the Angel.
“Yes,” Matthew laughed. “And what is curious is that there wasn't a fight or anything. That person just came and threw him into the river.”
“Who?” James asked.
“I don't know.”
In that moment all three of them heard loud bubbling from Christopher's side. Matthew and Thomas stood up as one but not fast enough. The bottle in which was the mixture made a little explosion.
“Sorry, sorry,” Christopher said as he waved his hand in front of his face to disperse the smoke. “The wrong ingredient.“
Matthew and Thomas cleaned the glass from the table while murmuring Christopher. James put iratze on his hand because several pieces of glass was in his skin.
“Raziel,” James said while he sat back on his seat. “Kit, you promised you wouldn't damage another table.”
Christopher smiled apologetic and shrugged.
Thomas smiled against his will. He couldn't be mad at Christopher for long.
After Matthew and he was done with cleaning Thomas looked at the clock.
“I have to go,” he said. He agreed with Alastair he would go to his home because Sona and Cordelia would be the Institute for the next few days. Which means they could be alone.
“Wait a little bit, loverboy,” Matthew said and put Thomas on his seat again. “We have to talk.”
“About what?” Thomas asked surprised.
“About that someone is stealing you from us!” Matthew said dramatically.
Thomas looked at him with big eyes. “What?”
“Even Christopher noticed it,” James added and looked at his cousin. ”Right, Kit?”
“Did I?” He looked at James surprised.
Matthew glared at him.
“That's right,” he said quickly. “I noticed.”
Thomas just stared at them.
“The point is,” Matthew said. “There is someone you spent most of your time with and we want to know who is this.”
“You want to know, Math,” James corrected him.
“We want to know,” Matthew repeated.
“To be honest, I'm a little curious as well,” he confessed. “But I won't force you to talk about it if you don't want Tom,” then he looked at Matthew. “Not like some other people.”
Matthew ignored his parabatai . He raised an eyebrow at Thomas and smiled. “Well?”
Thomas uncomfortably shifted at his seat. “Well what?”
“By the Angel,” Matthew groaned. “I want to know who managed to win our giant's heart!”
Thomas knew there was no point of denying it. The Merry Thieves knew him too well.
“Would you believe me,” he said unsurely. “If I say that I just showed Alastair Carstairs the town?”
Matthew's smiled disappeared from his face. He drank from his whiskey.
“No,” he said. “I… I even don't understand why you're mentioning him, Thomas. He was awful.”
“But now is different,” Thomas said. “It was long ago. He is not the same anymore.”
Matthew drank again, without answering. James eyed him.
“Matthew,” he said. “Maybe Alastair ought to be given a second chance after his behavior at school. Perhaps we all deserve one.”
“There are some people who do not deserve one.” Matthew’s voice was fierce. “If I ever catch you considering befriending Alastair-”
“Then what?” James said, arching an eyebrow.
“Then I will have to tell you what Alastair said to me the day we left the Academy,” said Matthew. “And I would rather not.” Matthew shook his head.
He disliked Alastair so much. Thomas wondered what he said to Matthew that day. He had to ask Alastair.
“So,” Thomas said after the silence became too much. “I have to go.”
• • • • •
Thomas knocked on the door. After a few seconds it was open. Thomas expected to be Rita or other servant but it was Alastair himself.
“Hello,” he said quickly, almost smiling. “I am happy you could come here. I wasn't sure you will.”
“Of course I will come,” Thomas smiled softly. “I promised.”
Alastair watched him for a second.
“You're doing it again,” he said.
“The smile. You better not smile for anyone else like that or I might have to kill them.”
Thomas laughed. “I will try.”
Alastair moved away from the door and Thomas came into his home.
• • • • •
Chapter 6: Gimme the prize
Now you die.
I have something to say: It’s better to burn out than to fade away.
There can be only one.
Just gimme the prize.
You can look at the London’s map to get a better idea of the mentioned places.
Alastair watched how Thomas carefully held one of his spears. It was the one inlaid with golden designs of dragons, kylins, and birds.
Alastair almost didn’t move while Thomas was looking at his collection. He had a feeling that this is some sort of test for Thomas’ approval. Which, of course, was ridiculous. Thomas would not judge him, much less by his spears. And even if he did, his collection was large and with all kinds of spears.
But it was one of his very few hobbies. Something he did for years and that was close to his heart. He wanted Thomas to like it.
“They’re incredible,” Thomas said quietly without taking his eyes off the spear in his hands. “I have never seen more beautiful weapons.”
Alastair didn’t know how to answer this. He wasn’t used people to say kind things to him.
But he felt how his chest was filling up with pride and warm feeling that left him breathless.
“I never leave the house without my spears,” he said only.
Thomas smiled a little. And Alastair found himself staring again. Thomas’ smile did things to him.
“I have never thought,” Thomas said as he put the spear back in its place. “That I would be in your room.”
Alastair hid his smile.
“And I have never thought you would be in my room either.” After a moment of silence, he added “But I like it.”
Thomas looked at him with sparkles in his eyes and a smile.
“What are we going to do now?” he asked. “We have time before patrolling.”
“What do you want to do?” Alastair answered playfully. Raziel, he didn’t know what was happening with him. But around Thomas he always was feeling brave. He was feeling like… he is allowed to be himself.
Thomas laughed. “Is this a game to you?”
“No,” Alastair said seriously. “Definitely not.” Thomas was anything but a game to him. Actually, Alastair was beginning to worry how important his relationship with Thomas became to him.
Thomas wasn’t smiling anymore. He was looking right into Alastair’s eyes. He gently held Alastair’s face in his big hands and leaned his forehead against his, without breaking the eye contact.
“I know,” Thomas whispered. “And… thank you for it. You are amazing.”
Alastair could feel how his heart was breaking in his chest but it was good. It was good and warm and right because it was Thomas Lightwood doing it.
Thomas bent down a little bit, like he was going to kiss Alastair but didn’t after all. If Alastair didn’t know him better he would have thought that Thomas is unsure but this wasn’t the case.
Alastair had noticed a few things about him. Like how he liked being kissed and often was letting Alastair to intent the kiss. Or how he liked to play with Alastair’s hair (he even was considering to let it grow longer for Thomas). Or his face when he talked about his family and his childhood (he rarely did it). Or how he very carefully listened to Alastair when he talked about his childhood (which was even more rarely).
He crushed his lips in Thomas’ while thinking about all this and more. About his smile that he was kissing now. About his broad shoulders which he now was using to push Thomas on the bed.
Alastair thought of the fire that Thomas ignited in him. He wanted nothing more than to be burned by it.
What got him out of this trans was one moment of hesitation. One little, almost uncatchable moment of unsureness, that made Alastair stop.
If he didn’t know Thomas that well he would think it was only on his head.
“What’s wrong?” he murmured. “Thomas?”
Alastair stopped moving. They were lying on his bed, Thomas under him, both flushed and out of breath. Thomas’ one hand was on Alastair’s waist, and the other - in his hair. But there was tension on his face that he didn’t like.
Alastair’s hand was beside Thomas’ head while the other low on his stomach. Alastair pulled back and whispered, “It’s alright.”
He rolled over on his back beside Thomas and said, “Do you want to hear about Morocco?”
He felt how Thomas’ body relaxed. “Yes,” he said. Alastair could hear the smile on his lips. “I would love to.”
If there was something more impossible than this scene, Alastair wouldn’t believe it. Because here he was, with Thomas Lightwood in his bedroom and he was laughing like when he and Cordelia were children.
It was unbelievable but so much alive that Alastair could touch it. His impossible truth. The relationship he had with Charles seemed so insignificant now. When Alastair was with him, he was always worried and anxious, unsure what to do. When he was with Thomas, he was feeling like he could fly.
When their laugh faded, Thomas said, “Adelbaram,” Alastair’s heart always skipped a beat when Thomas call him that. He hoped he would never get used to it. “I want to ask you something for a while.”
“What is it?” Alastair said.
“Well,” Thomas began. He hesitated for a moment. “It’s about Matthew.”
Alastair frowned. He remembered the days at the Academy and he filled with anxiety. He didn’t like to think about this time. There were too much things to regret.
Alastair didn’t say anything. Just waited for Thomas to continue.
“He… he mentioned that you have said something to him. The day he, James and Christopher left the Academy. What it was?”
Alastair closed his eyes for a moment. He was so angry back then. Full with pain and hate he wanted everyone to experience.
He looked at Thomas. He wanted to say that he didn’t remember or it was nothing important but he couldn’t. His hazel eyes were looking at him and expected the truth. Alastair couldn’t, didn’t want to, lie to him. Thomas was the truest thing in his life and he wouldn’t let it be lost in lies.
So Alastair told him. He repeated everything he said to Matthew Fairchild that day. He told him everything else he said about the Merry Thieves in the Academy and how sorry he was for it.
Alastair apologized to Thomas. He felt shame thinking about these days. It was killing him. He owed the rest of the boys apology too.
In the end, there was silence. Alastair was feeling like he was drowning in it.
“Thomas, please,” he said. “Say something.”
Thomas slowly looked at him. There was… shock. He opened his mouth like he was going to say something but didn’t. He looked away.
“I… I need to think about it,” he finally said and got up from the bed they still was lying on. Thomas left like he was in a trans. Alastair heard him getting down on the steps. Opening the front door. And closing it.
It was a pain worse than any spear.
• • • • • •
The next day Alastair received a letter for an emergency meeting of the Enclave in the Institute.
Alastair washed his face with cold water, dressed up, grabbed a few spears and left the house.
When he arrived he was surprised to see so many people already there. What was strange though was that part of them talked to each other, visibly worried, while other part just stood with stone faces.
Alastair saw Augustus Pounceby and approached him.
“What’s going no here?” he asked him.
Pounceby shook his head.
“You wouldn’t believe it. I heard it this morning from my father. It’s about Charles Fairchild.”
“He organized a special group to hunt the Ignis demons. A group which members are only relatives to injured Shadowhunters.”
Alastair took a sharp breath. “By the Angel.”
“There is more,” Pounceby said. “The list with the members is already done. It’s not allowed to join anymore.”
Alastair thought about Thomas. Thomas who probably was still hurt. Who had an injured relative.
“Is… is there any paper with the members?”
Pounceby frowned. “I don’t know. Probably Charles knows them all.”
Alastair didn’t want to ask him. He tried again.
“Did you know who joined?”
“Not all but,” Pounceby said. “I heard a few names. I know Catherine Townsend joined in the last moment because her father was injured during his patrol tonight.”
“Is there…” Alastair wasn’t sure he has it in himself to ask. He didn’t want to know the answer if it was yes. “Is there any Lightwoods?”
Pounceby frowned like he was trying to remember. “Yes, I think so. Christopher and Thomas Lightwood.”
This words felt like kick in the stomach.
Alastair fast looked around, trying to see if Thomas was in the crowd. He needed to talk to him immediately.
The meeting was starting already. The Shadowhunters were moving. But no matter how hard Alastair looked, Thomas wasn’t here.
The special group of Charles was going in Camberwell tonight. The place where the Ignis demons attack started. The most dangerous place in London at the moment.
Alastair wanted to scream. He needed to talk with Thomas right now. He would never forgive himself if something happened to Thomas.
Alastair knocked at the opened door as he entered. “Hello?”
Lucie Herondale raised her head from what she was writing and looked at him. She was surprised to see him. It was strange, really. This was his sister’s parabatai, a sixteen years old girl he barely spoke with.
“Oh, hello,” she said. “The Enclave meeting is already over. If you want to speak with my father…”
“No, no. I… I came to speak with you.”
Lucie arched her eyebrows. “Oh, well. What’s the matter then?”
“Do you know where I can find Thomas?”
Something flashed in her eyes. “Sorry, I’m not sure where he is at the moment,” she said. “We have appointment after a few hours. Then he goes with Charles group to patrol,” she frowned a little as she mentioned the group. Alastair could see the she didn’t approve. And was worried.
Alastair thanked her and left. He wanted just to wait in front of the Institute for Thomas but his mother and sister were waiting for him in the carriage.
They were talking something about the Ignis demons and London but Alastair couldn’t bring himself to care. He dug fingernails into his palm. This pain was easier to bear than the anxious feeling in his stomach.
• • • • • •
Alastair went to patrol early. There were still sunlight.
His place for tonight was Lambeth. He should wait for two more Shadowhunters to patrol with but instead he went to the border of Camberwell. At the street he heard the special group was going to gathering.
As he approached, he saw them. Around twenty Shadowhunters, most of them young, waiting to face the death. Alastair searched the crowd for Thomas. Most of them were drawing runes on each other or checking their weapons. Finally he spotted Thomas, a little aside from everyone else.
Thomas doesn’t like crowds, crossed his mind.
As Alastair started walking toward them, he saw that Thomas was talking with someone. Christopher Lightwood. It seemed like they’re arguing. Thomas was saying something while his cousin was shaking his head.
As he got closer, he heard them:
“…seriously do this? Kit, this so dangerous, we can’t just…”
“You heard what Anna said,” interrupted Christopher. “About that warlock. If we never get close to a Ignis demon, we would never…”
“Excuse me,” Alastair said. He felt embarrassed but the last thing he wanted was to overhear their conversation.
Thomas turned to him, his eyes expanded a little as he saw Alastair.
“Thomas, can I speak with you? In private,” Alastair asked. He felt unsure now, tense, in the face of Thomas.
But then he nodded and turned to Christopher one more time. “Think about what I said. Please.”
Then Thomas and Alastair was left alone. Alastair took a deep breath.
“Thomas, listen, I know I did bad things and I…”
“Alastair, stop,” Thomas said. He closed eyes and sighed. Opened them. “Please stop.”
Alastair waited. He was drowning.
“I thought about this a lot,” Thomas continued. “I was upset at the beginning. These rumors cased my family a lot of pain. Matthew’s as well. James was suffering at the Academy too. I was angry that back then you… repeated this awful words,” Thomas paused. Alastair couldn’t breathe. “But… but knowing you now, seeing how sorry you are… That you realize how hurtful it was and… and knowing things about you I didn’t know back then… I can’t really be angry at you for long. I forgive you. I don’t know about Matthew or James but I forgive you.”
Before Alastair could say something or melt from relief, a voice interrupted them.
“The sunset came,” someone shouted. “It’s time to go!”
Thomas anxiously looked at the person who said it. “I need to go.”
“Wait!” Alastair grabbed Thomas for the arm before he could turn around. “Why you joined this group then? We both know it’s stupid and too dangerous. You don’t do things like this.”
Thomas’ face turned sad. “To look after Christopher. The rest wanted to join too, for him, but there wasn’t enough time…”
“It’s time to enter Camberwell!”
“I really need to go.”
Alastair squeezed his arm. Looked right into Thomas beautiful brown eyes.
“Noore cheshmam,” he said quietly, almost whispered so no one but Thomas to hear. “Zen'har. Khahesh.”
Thomas’ face softened. “Alastair, azeez…”
“Come on everyone!”
Thomas eyes was warm. He whispered, “I promise that I will come back.”
Then he gently removed Alastair’s hand from his and went to the rest of the group.
Thomas looked back at him. Their eyes crossed. One last glance between lovers, before one of them disappeared.
Alastair stood there for a long time, even when he couldn’t see Thomas anymore.
adelbaram - the thief of my heart
noore cheshmam - the light of my eyes
zen'har - take care, be carful
khahesh - please
azeez - darling, dear, sweetheart