Reciting the Words.

A/N: Magnus Bane was fun to write. I ship him with Alec. ^-^ This is an introverted, dark, angst-filled one shot, where Magnus makes a potion. Hopefully quite a good character reflection piece.

It's a bit long, slightly confusing, but stick with it 'til the end, if you can. I think it'll be worth your while to read the conclusion.

Disclaimer: MINE! *Tackled by lawyers*. Oops. Guess not.

οοʘοο

I've been around a lot in my time, but I can't imagine kissing another since that Alec boy crossed paths with me. His heart is not mine, and though I want it, I could never force him to give it. Even though I could with magic...

Magnus Bane wasn't a normal warlock. No one thought that of him anyway; after all, he was the High Warlock of Brooklyn. He could recite the most intricate, long-forgotten spells and concoct incredibly fiddly potions at the drop of the hat. He always got what he wanted. Except this time, the heart of a young Shadowhunter was beyond his reach.

Sullenly, he stood, tall and dark, face hidden in shadows, eyes flashing in the dim light of the smoky room. Before him rested a small black cauldron, smoke swirling around it, borne from the open wood flame on which the pewter pot lay. No more than a cup and a half of water fit within the small container, the high flames coercing it into a simmer that was quickly morphing into a raging boil of hot liquid, scented only by a sprig of fresh mint leaves.

His green eyes were lit up more so than usual, from the strange angle of the light or his flickering excitement, it was hard to tell; they were a vibrant green not unlike the fresh new buds on the trees during springtime.

What he was contemplating was wrong. Magnus knew what he was planning wasn't right on so many levels, but his hand moved to grab the first ingredient, regardless. The warlock had to restrain his strength, his enthusiasm; shadows of silver sparks were leaving his fingertips, and it wouldn't do if he set something alike with magic so early on in the proceedings.

A small crystalline bottle was lifted from the table with a gentle care, a small welling of clear liquid sticking to the bottom, magnified in appearance from the distortion of warped and carved glass. The diamond stopper came free easily with only a light scraping chiming noise breaking the heavy silence of the room, save the noise of the bubbling water and the crackle of enthusiastic flames.

Three teardrops of an innocent's bitter anguish.

As the first drop hovered above the boiling cauldron, sticking stubbornly to the rim of the delicate flask, Magnus remembered how he worked to collect the tears. It wasn't too long ago, perhaps no more than a month since he gathered the first of the crucial ingredients. Innocent's tears only worked when relatively fresh, for the innocent never stayed so for long.

Sheer luck, or maybe serendipity, allowed him to pass a weeping girl sitting on a park bench, all pig-tails and pink-laced clothes, and a flowery red clip pinning back her bangs. Bane rightly assumed that she wasn't older than thirteen.

Pausing in his activities, he spent some time talking to her, finding out that she had run from home, her parents fighting and yelling, more tears spilling over at the memory. Clicking his fingers, Magnus had paused time, briefly—though a more apt explanation would've been creating an illusion of freezing time, for stopping time entirely was far beyond the scope of even his abilities.

The little girl blinked to see herself alone on the park bench again, the mysteriously charming man she was talking to now gone, her cheeks oddly dry, despite all her crying. She stared in wonder at the flower gripped in her fingers; they sparkled as if with magic, and glowed in the fading sunlight.

Magus Bane didn't always pay for his ingredients, but the tears of an innocent were always tarnished if he didn't. Anyway, a single pine-spring-apple blossom was a small price to pay for such a cherished item—it was hard to find anguish in the pure. These days, the warlock mused, innocent people themselves were hard to stumble across.

Without much preamble, he threw in the next ingredient. As it hit the water, it hissed and the water seemed to churn a touch more violently, the magic in the air and fire working its power into the mixture.

A stolen first kiss.

Almost definitely one of the most finicky of components he had to collect. It wasn't so hard to steal a kiss, and even preserving it to add it to a potion was no longer a riddle; living for years and years has its perks. Something twisted in his gut at the idea of stealing a first kiss though. It sounded non-consensual. Kisses were asked for in a variety of spells, but only a handful would ask for a first.

However, it was when Magnus felt the urge to dance at Pandemonium that he bumped into a teenager-almost-legal-adult, grinding at his leg as way of introduction. A mundane child, but an incredibly attractive one at that. Not anything comparable to Alec, of course, but this was months before he even met the Shadowhunter. Luckily, Magnus always kept a keen eye out for ingredients, and stolen kisses were used in potions more often than one would think.

Bane remembered the thin sheen of sweat that covered the boy, his throbbing pulse as he quivered in excitement, his breathy sigh as he whispered in the warlock's ear. Surprise and an evil kind of glee filtered him when he heard the words, "I've never kissed a man before, but for you, I'll make an exception."

They stole out of the club, and again, Magnus clicked his fingers and everything seemed to stop in cut-glass clarity. Red lipstick pinched from the purse of a passing woman while they were both still in the bar, painted the boy's frozen lips a rich red, and the warlock pressed his lips to them gently, noting the warmth and the taste of stale cigarettes, before parting and transferring the lipstick stain once more to the white handkerchief he fished from his pocket.

The print of his lips on pristine cloth—a stolen first kiss trapped forever. It was the kid's first kiss with a man, that he never really experienced, nor would ever remember. There was no better definition of a stolen kiss.

A forgotten childhood memory.

The potion irrationally turned green at the addition; there was no real scientific reason for the sudden color change, something no human could explain, an exchange made with magic only the warlocks could interpret.

Possibly the oddest of all his gathered trinkets, Magnus had found a string of attached pennies, slightly green with age, tucked between the yellowed pages of a dusty book when he first moved into his house. Cleaning his attic, the small book caught his eye, and he fingered through the pages, critically observing the childish scrawl. It was a diary, and the pennies were once used as a bracelet.

Since the book's entries stopped halfway, he figured that they were forgotten—especially since the previous owner left them in the house. Magnus would never admit it, but he liked to read the stories, the entries of a little girl's average life. Secretly, he'd always harbored a slight resentment to the mundane, to the normal, to those not burdened with a power that was sometimes a curse. A resentment and a feeling of longing, and of envy.

They were free to live and to love without worry. Magnus was over eight-hundred years old, and he'd seen so many people he'd love die. The pain was one he never truly grew accustomed to. Yet here he was, attempting once more to woo a heart.

Shard of mirror that will never break.

In the past, it would taken three months to enchant glass with the correct properties to make it as hard as diamond yet remain as reflective as the surface of a still lake. Nowadays, he simply put in a candy wrapper, the shiny inside reflective and unbreakable—ingredients could be interpreted several ways if the reader knew how to squint. The warlock smiled as he dropped it in, the mixture slowly morphing into a dark blue hue.

Six drops of blood willingly spilled.

Magnus picked up a sharp letter-opener, a fine thin blade carved from rare ivory, tipped with diamond, the hilt created from the bone of the rhino from which its horn was taken for the knife's blade. Holding his palm over the simmering cauldron, its quiet hissing noises sounding as dangerous as the leer of a snake, he cut a slit and watched the crimson drops fall.

The wound would heal quickly with magic in his veins, and the sting of a cut was familiar. It wasn't as though he had never stumbled over spells that needed blood, though he'd touched a cold blade to his flesh for completely different reasons before.

The man shook his head, frowning now, thoughts swirling as he watched the liquid change colours erratically, rejecting and accepting the blood from a child of Lilith. When it calmed down to a nearly transparent shade of blue, he moved on to the next addition to the mix.

The frozen breath of a human.

Used cigarette butt; not even a challenge with the centuries moving along as if to accommodate witches and wizards. Times had changed from superstitious folk to a lot of ignorant scholars who think they knew the secrets of the world. Religion had lost its podium as signpost of the world, and now men walked the earth without guidelines.

Magnus laughed at the thought. He knew the revolution wouldn't last. The world had passed far too long without war, and as soon blood was shed with bullets and bombs, God would appear again. There was no such thing as an Atheist in the trenches—not that the warlock felt God's presence himself.

God dictated that those like himself should burn on the cross to pay for a sin they had not committed. He felt no reason to acknowledge such an existence.

Sighing, he glanced at the item lying innocently on a table, as if mocking him.

Mark of infatuation.

Truth be told, Magnus did not want to use this—a slightly abused, dog-eared, tired post-it note with Alec's scrawled handwriting displaying his name and number—but he could not think of anything better to symbolize infatuation. Or at the very least, attraction.

He smiled sadly at the memory. Alec liked him, he liked Alec, got his number, gave his own, and things evolved from there. It was all pretty simple. They would kiss and touch and just feel. Then he suggested things get a little more serious and the Shadowhunter blanched.

To play with another's heart, while their own was in the hands of another entirely, was truly a cruel thing to do. But Magnus was alright. He knew that Alec was simply stalling.

Loving a brother was wholly different to the affections of a lover, and soon his eyes would open and he could realize. Should he take too long to see, Magnus would help him.

Sign of rejection.

The final piece. The final part of the potion before the incantation. It was a letter he had received unintentionally by a child of the moon looking for revenge for a slight by their lover. It was a love note—but to a whore, not to the partner, found hidden within drawers behinds socks and delicates.

Angrily, bitterly, they demanded a spell, and when he initially declined, they shoved the proof in his face, tears shining in their eyes. "I want to claw out their heart, but that is far too quick," they had intoned darkly. Magnus couldn't help but return the gaze with a dark smile of his own.

Pale parchment covered in the smallest calligraphy spinning words into poetry and declarations of love. No wonder they were pissed, he thought. Perhaps the letter showed more love than the person ever received themself. Of course he asked for a rather hefty fee, but with anger comes the thirst for bloody revenge, for which there is no real price limit.

So they left contented in the knowledge that the vial they paid for would leave their former love impotent and ragingly horny, ignorant that they had forsaken the evidence of their heartache at the house of the warlock.

A hoarder of items, Bane had kept it, and now watched it burn away in the thickening concoction swirling hotly in the pot. With a stick of blessed oak, he stirred the broth, smiling as it cleared up entirely, thick and transparent like melted sugar.

His eyes slid to an open potions book several feet away, propped up on a table against another stack of books, the recipe in small spiky cursive script, though his cat-like eyes could pick out the words clearly.

Love Potion.

Pot of boiling mint water

into which you add (in order):

Three teardrops of an innocent's bitter anguish.

A stolen first kiss.

A forgotten childhood memory.

Six drops of blood willingly spilled.

The frozen breath of a human.

Mark of infatuation.

Sign of rejection.

Mix well,

recite the spell,

and violà!

Taking a deep breath, Magnus bent over to whisper to the liquid frothing lightly in the cauldron. "Gone in one faery sigh, make your heart strings flutter-by..." Soon the incantation devolved into old, forgotten gibberish, a language completely apart from human communication, the thought of translating it a headache on its own. Apart from the Lilith's children, only the Fey would have any grasp on the dry, foreign-feeling language.

When the final words passed his lips, the potion seemed to compress and shrink, warping in colour and shape, until it curled into a small liquid-like ball at the bottom of the pot, not unlike mercury when you play with it in your hands—except the mixture was clear with foggy white streaks, so perhaps watery glue was a more apt description.

Nodding, he cooled the mixture with a few well uttered words, carefully pouring it all out into a large test tube, sealing it with a cork and melted wax. When the time was right, he'd let Alec taste it. The warlock was a patient man—he had centuries of life after all—but there were some things that could do with being rushed.

I wouldn't be called a normal warlock; I'm dubbed the High Warlock of Brooklyn, after all. I can recite the most intricate, long-forgotten spells and concoct the incredibly fiddly potions at the drop of the hat. I'm amazing like that. I always got what I wanted.

And this time, I want the heart of the Shadowhunter, Alec Lightwood.

οοʘοο

A/N: I like the idea of a darker Magnus. This would probably be considered a bit OOC and AU, but then again, we don't know; perhaps he did slip a potion to Alec when he wasn't looking.

Shameless plug: I've also written character-reflective one shots on Alec, Isabelle, and Luke. Next up? Probably Simon. I'm planning on writing about all the supporting cast!

Can you please review? I love any and all feedback! :-)

Random book recommendation: if you liked Mortal Instruments, I suggest Tithe by Holly Black, first in her modern faery tale trilogy. It's bloody epic.