So, next chapter, this time from Magnus' point of view. Going to be trying to work harder on college stuff now so won't be updating on a schedule but am planning on finishing it :)And as always trigger warning for discussion of drugs and drug wise. Pls stay safe ppl!
Magnus was attending to a pan of frying eggs and bacon when Isabelle made an appearance in the kitchen. She was still in the pajamas he'd left her, looking pale though far more put together than the night before. Her eyes were shadowed and he could see she was struggling.
"Isabelle," he greeted, grabbing a vial from a nearby shelf and holding it out to her. "Drink this. Gray's Potion. It should help."
She pulled the cork out with shaking fingers and downed it in one go. As the blue liquid vanished from the clear glass, he was pleased to see the tremors stop and some color return to her face.
"Much. Thank you," she said, breathing heavily.
He found himself hoping it was from relief instead of the memory of her recent discomfort. "Of course."
"Magnus, I - " Whatever it was Isabelle wanted to say, she seemed to be having trouble getting the words out of her mouth so he kept his expression blank and waited patiently for her to build up the nerve to carry on.
She was Isabelle so he didn't have to wait long.
"I'm sorry, Magnus. I let you down. I let the Institute down." She hesitated a second. "If I'd tried harder - "
He shook his head, willing her to meet his eyes and understand. "You'd still have been here. You've always done everything right, Isabelle. Is it really a surprise something would eventually go wrong? You've been a perfect Shadowhunter for so long, but no-one can be perfect forever."
For a moment she looked surprised, even hopeful, but then her expression morphed into an amused look. "I appreciate the confidence but if you think I'm an ideal Shadowhunter, you haven't met enough of us."
He huffed out a laugh. "Oh I know you rebel, Alec's told me enough family stories to make that very obvious."
When she didn't reply he continued, pointing out that violating the Shadowhunterculturalcode was not at all equivalent to abandoning her duty, or failing to protect people.
She stood still for a time after he'd finished. "No-one's ever said that before," she told him eventually. "I tried to be what they want, for a while, but then you feel like it's swallowing you. I had to find a way to be a Shadowhunter and still be myself."
Magnus nodded. He knew how it felt to be stifled. She still looked preoccupied though and so he waited patiently for her to tell him what else was on her mind. She would, eventually, because whatever she was thinking, he could tell it was eating her up inside.
"I failed, Magnus. Mom and dad don't know. Alec, Jace, my colleagues. I thought I could manage, after I found out, but not this time. This time I couldn't."
He raised a hand to pat her shoulder. "It's never a straight road," he said, choosing his words carefully. "But that doesn't mean you won't get there. Just don't expect miracles from yourself. As long as you try, you're doing what you can."
She looked like she wanted to argue so he moved quickly on to a question that had been bothering him. "Where did you get it? You said after you found out. After you found out it was a drug?."
She gave a resigned sign. "Yes. It was Aldertree. After I got my demon wound,iratzesdidn't help and then he said he was sending a mission to the Iron Sisters. I'd wanted to see them since I was little, Magnus. So I tried to hide the wound, but he knew I'd been injured and he guessed it was still bad. He told me theyinfenwould help me heal."
For a brief moment, anger on Isabelle's behalf, anger against endless Shadowhunter manipulation and lies pulsed through him. He quickly pushed it down - it wouldn't help.
"Why would he do that?" he asked, trying to understand, trying to find a viewpoint the situation could be tackled from.
"He wanted me to spy on Clary. He thought if I was hooked enough, he'd be able to control me." Her eyes flashed. "I don't betray my friends, whatever they've done."
Her face held anger for more than one person and Magnus realized that Alec had been right when he'd mentioned that something seemed to have happened between Isabelle and Clary. Magnus didn't ask - Isabelle would resolve her own issues and if she wanted to talk, she knew he'd listen.
But something else about this didn't quite make sense. "If he wanted that, why would he cut you off? To prove you needed him?"
Isabelle shook her head. "No. The Clave called him away. I'd thought I had enough to last but - " her voice trailed off.
"It goes quicker than you expect." Magnus had been there, had seen battles won and battles lost against mundane drugs, magical drugs, alcohol. He studied her, expression soft. Shadowhunters grow up fighting. Isabelle, like all Shadowhunters, was a fighter.
Their companionable silence lasted for all of three minutes before it was abruptly interrupted by a sleepy and very hungry Jace.
"Food," he exclaimed, making a beeline for the stove. As he reached it, he glanced behind him and quickly did a double take when he noticed Isabelle standing there. "What are you doing here? Is everything okay? Is it Alec? What's going on, Izzy?"
Isabelle took in a deep breath. "Alec's fine. He's at the Institute. It's me, Jace."
"What? What's wrong with you?" He turned to Magnus. "Is she okay."
"I'm fine," Isabelle said before Magnus could reply. "It's my demon wound. When Aldertree sent the mission to the Iron Sisters, he only let me go because it was being treated. Except it wasn't. The thing he gave me wasn't a medicine. It wasyin fen. A drug. I got addicted."
She trailed off and Magnus picked up the story. "I found her in the Hunter's Moon last night, trying to buy some more from a certain reprobate warlock. Luckily, I know of a better way to avoid the pain of withdrawal."
Isabelle nodded. "Magnus has been giving me a potion for it. It helps." Her voice sounded cheerful but Magnus could see the cracks in her facade. She looked exhausted.
Apparently Jace could see through the cracks too because he sighed before hugging her tightly. "Oh Iz," he said sadly before pulling back and giving in to his rage. "I'm going to the Institute. I'm gonna kill that bastard."
"No," Magnus immediately said, holding a hand up when Jace started to protest. "Shadowhunters are not known for their acceptance of mental, or other, illnesses. If this gets out, if the Clave hears of this, you could harm Isabelle."
"I don't care. I'm not letting Aldertree do this to anyone ever again." Isabelle's eyes were fierce. "Because I'm sure I'm not the first. Will the Clave do anything to him if they find out?"
Magnus nodded. "Yin fenis highly potent and dangerous. So much as discussing it without good reason has been banned within the Shadow World for over a century."
"Then theywillact on the information. Magnus, I need you to send a fire message to Idris. Now."
"Isabelle," Magnus said, feeling inexplicably sad that he was attempting to quash her righteous anger. "The Clave may take you away. They might take you to the Silent Brothers and if they do I don't know how long it will be before they let you out."
"I -" Isabelle paused, looking scared. "And if I'm recovered?"
"If you can prove your blood is clean, they won't touch you. But if they think it's not, they may keep you long after you've been through withdrawal." He shuddered, pushing away old memories. "I've seen it happen before."
Jace was looking queasy, his eyes fixed on the table. "Izzy, you can't. It's too dangerous. I swear -"
"It's okay," Isabelle interrupted. "I'll wait till I'm better, I promise." She got up, leaving a half-empty plate behind her. "I really have to go now."
Jace looked up at her. "Iz, you're going to tell Alec, right?" Jace asked. "Today. He has to know."
"I won't make you keep secrets," she promised. "Either of you. I'll tell him."
Magnus smiled - the possibility of hiding Isabelle's situation from one or both of her brothers had not appealed to him. "Make sure Alec understands why this has to be kept quiet."
Relief ran through him when she nodded. The last thing they needed was Aldertree returning from Idris early and being confronted by angry protective older brother in front of the entire Institute. When those things happened, the details always got out and these details couldn't. Not yet.
"And tell Alec to give me a call once you two have spoken," Magnus called after the Shadowhunter as he heard her raiding his closet for clothes. He snapped his fingers, using magic to transfer a few outfits from her room in the Institute to her temporary bedroom. "Your clothes are on your bed!"
He tried to ignore Jace's quiet laughter as the rustle of clothes being strewn about was quickly replaced by the click clack of Isabelle's ten inch heels stomping out the front door.
A few hours later, as Magnus worked on yet another potion (not Isabelle's, this one that had been ordered by the head of the Los Angeles Institute), Magnus' phone lit up with Alec's number. Abandoning the spitting and hissing ingredients, he answered it on the first ring. "Alexander, hi."
"Hey Magnus," came the voice on the other end. "Izzy said you wanted to talk to me."
Magnus spoke carefully, not wanting to upset his boyfriend or put him on the defensive. "I did. How are you? Honestly?"
"I'm fine. It's not me you should be worrying about."
Magnus made his voice firm. "It is. Your sister too, of course, but I am able to care about more than one person at once. And I know how you love your family. How could you not be affected? I wanted to check that you were okay."
Alec sighed. "I'm fine. Really." He hesitated before pushing on. "But I should have been there for her. I could tell something was going on and I didn't ask."
"And that's what I mean," Magnus replied wryly. "Don't blame yourself, Alexander. So you didn't do this perfectly.No-one is perfect. Don't carry the blame for something that's not your fault. Okay?"
"I guess." Alec sounded reluctant and Magnus knew he'd have to follow this up later. "My mother's back," Alec added after a few moments of silence.
"Which means I'll make myself scarce," Magnus replied. He would always have Alec's back, of course, but no good could come from forcing himself into Maryse's way, which was why Alec's next words were not what he was expecting. At all.
"Actually I had something else in mind. Magnus, how would you feel about throwing the party for Max's Rune Cerenomy."
"I think I'll pass," Magnus said slowly, wondering if the stress of Isabelle's news was responsible for Alec's suggestion. "I'm sure I'll love Max, but Maryse hates me."
"That is sort of the point of the party. So that she can see that this, us, it's not going away."
So Alec wanted to make a statement - a public statement in front of his family and all the Shadowhunters of the Institute. Magnus felt strangely touched. "You sure about this?"
"Why wouldn't I be?" Alec demanded.
Magnus smiled. "Then I better get to work. Look after Isabelle and don't feel guilty," he added, by way of goodbyes.
It was late evening when Isabelle returned. "Mom wasn't happy about the party idea," she admitted. "But she agreed. I'm glad it's happening here, Magnus. Maybe the Institute will finally get the message. We can change things, right?"
Magnus handed her yet another bright blue vial. "Yes, my dear. We can."
This time, when she downed the potion, it was in two gulps instead of one. Magnus smiled. Slowly but surely, the venom was leaving her body.