Disclaimer: Alec, Jace, Magnus, and all other characters in this work are from The Mortal Instruments trilogy by Cassandra Clare and do not belong to us. No money is being made… trust us, we'd know, poor fangirls that we are.
Author's Note – From Miyabita: As promised, here's the next chapter. We hope you like it! (And, by the way, I've replied individually to reviews at the end of this chapter!)
Warning: This fic deals with a lot of mature concepts, one of which is sex between two men. If you're not old enough, you should stop reading right here.
—a joint fic by ariviand and miyabita—
The speaker crackled. There was a lot of static and background noise, but the volume of the voice allowed the recipient to be heard clearly over all that. "GO AHEAD AND PRESS THAT BUTTON AGAIN. I DARE YOU," came the irritable growl.
Lip twitching, Isabelle did just that. She pressed the grimy-looking black button with the end of her fingernail, dragging it out for a couple seconds before releasing the button again. Alec scowled, reaching over and trying to make a grab for his sister's wrist, although it was too late.
Jace seemed amused as well, though he lifted his eyes to the blinking low-wattage bulb overhead with a look of distaste, nostrils flaring. The entryway smelled like a several- days-old dead rat, unclean sweat, old cigarettes, and rotten wood.
The ceiling vibrated and pounded from the sounds of the party overhead - bass music, heavy footfalls, something hitting the wall. The unknown impact made the single light bulb twitch. It blinked out for a second, before warming up again with a hum, a gray moth fluttering at its edge.
Simon unconsciously inched closer to Clary, who stared at the face on the nameplate with a distracted frown.
BANE. Magnus Bane.
This time when the speaker crackled, someone was laughing in the background over the static, the sound of music, and the buzz of people talking over one another. But the attendant at the speaker box didn't sound amused. "IF YOU HAVE AN INVITATION, I JUST RESCINDED IT!"
This time Jace eased forward, pressing the talk button. Alec's fingers twitched, but he didn't make a move to stop Jace, even though he was more worried about what Jace might say than Isabelle's impulsive pressing of the button.
"But we got all dressed up," Jace replied, trying to go for a pout. Alec glanced distractedly at that pushed out lower lip, then forcibly shook his head, looking away, heat prickling his cheeks unpleasantly.
"And we do have an invitation. So, why don't you come down here and then you can decide if you still want to kick us to the curb?" It sounded like a challenge - not that Jace had any intention of letting that happen. But he'd rather see the warlock face-to-face than square off with his call box. That was just rude.
Isabelle fluttered the piece of paper in front of her face restlessly like a fan, making the hair against her neck ripple. The scent of her perfume wafted behind her to where Clary was standing, trying not to breathe in the already stale air. Still, the overwhelming rush of vanilla tickled her nose, making her sneeze.
"Bless you," Simon said, touching her arm. "Are you OK?"
"I'm fine," Clary answered, straightening her shoulders. Was he asking about the sneeze itself? Or was he worried that she was nervous to be meeting a warlock with the power to manipulate her mind? She wasn't afraid, or at least that's the mantra she kept repeating to herself. She needed to remember, and this man's name was the only lead she had left.
The seconds ticked on. Jace's pointer hovered over the call button again, feeling trigger-happy. But then the creaking door swung open. Clary and Simon jumped. They hadn't even heard anyone coming down the stairs.
Isabelle smiled and extended her invitation for his inspection. Jace lowered his hand to his belt and leaned his weight onto one leg, lazy eyes panning the man up and down.
Alec tried for the same sort of "lazy confidence" as Isabelle and Jace and failed. He'd seen warlocks before, but none as striking as Magnus Bane (at least, that's whom Alec assumed was "greeting" them). The man looked clearly displeased while also appearing perfectly put together. Not to mention, that amount of glitter and makeup he wore was something to behold. Alec knew one thing almost instantly – Magnus Bane was not in the closet.
Simon's eyes were wide behind his glasses, sure the insane amount of glitter on the warlock's face, throat, hair, and hands must be reflecting off his lenses. He had to blink to be sure that it was glitter that he was staring at, and not some kind of trick of the lighting (what lighting?) or maybe some creepy kind of skin that sparkled.
No, there were definite, distinctive flecks of silvery-white against the man's light, evenly-tanned skin. There was a small silver stud at the edge of his left nostril, and another beneath his lip. There were more obvious piercings along his ears, silver hoops all the way up. His hair was wild, divided into chunky black spikes all over that were covered in a generous coating of glitter and stiff gel.
His eyes were light green battling with an inhuman gold, with disturbing vertical slits like a cat would have. But he looked more like a raccoon, with the dark rings of kohl and eye shadow hiding the droopy division of his lids.
His eyes narrowed as he addressed them, one heavily ringed hand going out and pressing into the paint-chipped doorframe, as if blocking their entrance beyond that point.
"Nephilim," the tall man greeted. It wasn't particularly friendly.
Magnus stood in the doorway, regarding the group of teenagers with a bored glance. The look was a ruse, of course, while he reached for calm. What he really felt was hostility and irritation, being interrupted in the middle of his party to play games with Shadowhunters. His eyes briefly dipped down to take note of the invitation the girl was flashing, long enough to positively identity his own work. Then his eyes quickly traveled over the group, counting five of them.
The dark-haired girl was attractive and confident. She had the smile of a girl who liked to be looked at, but the eyes of a Shadowhunter who just dared that admiring person to fall for the trap. Magnus could smell the weapons she was carrying; steles, seraph blades, holy relics and half the interesting toys in a Shadowhunter's arsenal put off a certain stench, easily detected by a half-demon. He wondered vaguely why she bothered to hide them, walking into a party full of Downworlders with just as keen a sense of smell.
The blond boy, on the other hand, made no bones about it. His long fingers went straight to the weapon in his pants, stroking it in anticipation – just waiting for a reason to use it. Magnus assumed the boy wanted him to notice the maneuver, like an urban cowboy brandishing his gun for sport. Magnus was unimpressed with the heat he was packing and sneered at him before his eyes passed to the next member of the group.
He caught the flash of red hair, having to peer between the taller Shadowhunters up front in order to see the girl properly. Shit. Clarissa Fray. It was well-past time for their appointed visit. And yet she looked up at him with a mixture of awe, confusion, and a tinge of fear, the muscles in her throat nervously working to swallow. So she didn't have a clue. Just as well.
Beside her, there was an unimpressive-looking four-eyed mundane. He was staring at Magnus. Blatantly staring, like a small child with no couth, not even realizing what he was doing. Magnus lifted his brows, challenging his eye problem. Four eyes looked away, clearing his throat.
Magnus's eyes came back full circle, realizing he'd only assessed four of the five. The fifth boy was standing beside the girl with the invitation. The shade of his dark hair and the type of loose curl closely-remembered the girl, only she had tamed the mass, whereas he looked like he'd given up – and hacked at his hair with a rusty pair of scissors, besides.
But barring the mess of his hair, Magnus was amazed that he'd overlooked the Shadowhunter from the get go. What was Magnus doing looking at the sister (or cousin?), when this boy was absolutely gorgeous? Maybe it was the unkempt hair or the grubby, worn, ill-fitted clothes that threw him off. But now he was looking into the boy's face….damn.
And now Magnus was the one staring, looking into those pale eyes, taking in the sharp cheekbones and the pretty mouth, wondering if they were soft or if they'd be slightly rough like the pale tracery of scars on the skin of his neck and his dangling hands.
"Magnus? Magnus Bane?" the girl asked, breaking into his abstraction. Magnus quickly responded with a glare, irritated more by the recent interruption than the original act of being torn from his party.
"That's what the name by the buzzer says," Magnus answered, purposely being difficult about it. "Or didn't you read it before you started playing with buttons?"
"It's the only one with a name," Clary pointed out, staring at the silver placard again like it was bothering her.
"Very astute, Shadowhunter. I'm the only person here who commissioned one."
"You have to pay to get your buzzer labeled?" Simon asked, brows raised.
"In anything but a permanent marker," Magnus replied, looking bored again. "What do you want?" he asked, the previous irritation returning to his voice. His nostrils flared again, this time detecting the faint burning smell from the newly applied marks. It was nauseating, thinking about the Shadowhunters' penchant for self-mutilation. For all he knew, they got off on it. Consequently, they smelled like cheap leather and burnt flesh. Not a hot combination.
"Now, now," Jace tsked, lip twitching. "You haven't even invited us up."
"And I'm not sure I'm going to. I came down, I've seen your invitation, and yet I'm still debating kicking you to the curb."
The humor left Jace's features. He straightened up, still fingering the hilt of the small dagger at his belt, his golden eyes burning through slit lids. "We're not leaving until you hear us out. So you can let us up and we can pretend to join the party, no one the wiser, or we can call a carriage and hitch a ride to the Silent City right now."
"Jace," Magnus heard the dark-haired boy murmur, his jaw tense. The wiry Shadowhunter glanced anxiously between Magnus and his blonde parabatai, clearly concerned for the latter.
If he was the type for physical retaliation, Magnus might have decked the boy. Not that that would be the wisest course of action when dealing with three and a half Nephilim, but it might have been satisfying in the moment, to see the boy's neck snap back from an uppercut and his teeth rattle from the force of the blow.
Unfortunately, that wasn't his style. Verbal sparring, on the other hand, came naturally – and while he wanted to bite back at the one called Jace, he wasn't in any particular hurry to bid farewell to the pretty one, as yet unnamed. And so Magnus breathed in and tread lightly, pursing his lips only to show his displeasure.
"So you're not just crashing to steal some faery cocktails," Magnus replied, glancing back at the girl with the invitation.
"That is sweet of you to offer," Jace drawled, putting on his smile again, though his eyes still held a hint of warning. "Why don't we?"
Magnus appeared to consider, lips still pursed. His glance strayed in the direction of the dark-haired Shadowhunter, wistfully stealing a quick perusal of the outline of his body through the dark sack of his clothing. We'll play this game a little longer. I'll do it for you.
Turning, Magnus waved his hand to keep the door open, and he moved towards the stairs, already ascending.
"Come on then, Shadowhunters. Before you waste my entire evening." He wanted to add, "don't make me regret this," but he could already foretell a snarky come back from the blonde. And so he pressed his lips together and took the creaky steps two at a time, without a backward glance.
And now, as promised, review replies (from Miyabita)!
Katara-alchemist – Thank you! Sorry to keep you waiting for so long. =(
Icaughtkira – I'm glad you liked it! I think ariviand and myself are always talking about the personalities of the characters and trying to keep them as much in-character as possible despite the fact that this is an AU fic. I'm hoping we don't make Jace into a complete evil villain because – at least in my head – I think he somewhat knows what he's doing is wrong but he's also just as confused by the situation. He is an adolescent, after all, and for all his talk and swagger, even in the books, I think real relationships scare him. But, I guess only time will tell where this all goes, yes? ^_^
-tayl0r – Thank you! Glad you like!
DisturbingEmily – Hope you enjoyed Magnus's entrance! There's plenty more of him to come!
Lallie Owesome – Thanks, hope you've enjoyed the new chapters!
Aleksander-Nikolaevich-Her – Thank you!
LA-EL-AS – Thanks! We enjoy writing together, so I'm glad to hear that other people enjoy it as well!
Alice-Brandon-Whitlock-Cullen – Sorry to keep you waiting so long, but I hope it was worth it!
Awesomesauce123 – Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it! And I'm especially glad people think the characters are IC. It's definitely a hard thing to do with AU's. I hope you enjoyed the introduction of Magnus!
lacenoel – Sorry to keep you waiting so long, but I hope you enjoyed the new chapters!
GaaraSands16 – Well, Magnus has been intro-ed. Will he save the day? Only time will tell.
OnceUponALegend – Thank you!
Elizabeth Newforest – Oh, cookies! I love cookies! *munches on one* Hope you liked the new chapters!
Thanks again to everyone who's reading! Sorry again for such a long wait between chapters, but I hope you haven't given up on us, because we haven't given up on this fic!
See you next chapter!