The One With The Blue Eyes

Disclaimer: Still not mine.

Warnings: None.

Notes: I generally stay away from chaptered fics because I feel like they start off fine and then go steadily downhill after that. xD

This bit's a lot longer than I intended it to be.

Magnus had been right. The one with the blue eyes didn't call. And over the next few days, Magnus slipped into a pervasive sulk.

He didn't flit around the apartment like a hummingbird, singing under his breath. He ignored Chairman Meow when he brought him toys. He didn't change his clothes eighteen times before deciding on what to wear. Most alarming of all, he didn't spike up or dye his hair outrageous colors. When Magnus' hair was black and limp, that was a sign that he was terribly unhappy about something – or he'd gotten laid and was just too lazy to do anything with it, but no one had visited the apartment in days.

"This is crazy," Chairman Meow informed him one otherwise nondescript evening. "You're being ridiculous. If he doesn't see what a great person you are, then he doesn't deserve you. Come on, get up and let's play with the fluffy ball on the stick."

Magnus changed the channel and sighed, rapidly flipping through the pages of the book in his lap. "I," he mumbled, "am bored."

"So try calling him! Don't wait for him to make the first move. Or we could just play… I really want to play."

Heaving another gusty sigh, the warlock propped his head up on his hand. "I guess life gets a bit dull after the eighth century."

"Oh, screw this." Chairman Meow jumped off the back of the couch and stalked out of the den. He'd tried, but Magnus wasn't budging, so it was time for Plan K. Or T. Whichever letter came after A.

Despite his inability to perform simple actions like working the can opener or unlocking doors – damn his lack of opposable thumbs – Chairman Meow was a very intelligent being. He knew that New York City was a vast labyrinth of streets and alleys probably more crowded than Magnus' closet. Finding one Shadowhunter in that mess was impossible – at least, it was impossible for Chairman Meow. But Detective Meow didn't give up quite so easily.

It had been years since I'd taken on a client. After The Case of Snowball's Missing Scratching Post became a double-murder-suicide, I'd gone into retirement. That mess had caused patches of my fur to fall out. I didn't need that kind of stress, not at my age.

Still, some part of me yearned for a job. I missed the intricate dance of sleuthing and deducing that led me to my quarry. I missed the exhilaration of solving a particularly grueling mystery. And I missed the female company. Chicks loved detectives.

It was late. I had been having a cold drink at The Water Bowl when he came. Paid cash, up front. Wanted a kid found – some Shadowhunter who'd crashed his party, codename: The One With The Blue Eyes. I didn't ask what he wanted him for, or why he couldn't find the guy himself. Maybe he owed him money. Or sex. Either way, it didn't matter.

I had a case.

One Shadowhunter. Six million mundanes, plus an undocumented number of Downworlders, Nephilim, and the occasional demon masquerading as something acceptable to society. It was, to use a human phrase, like finding a needle in a haystack, except all the lights were off and he had to search with his tail.

Luckily for Detective Meow, Shadowhunters had a particular scent. There was no describing it, but if he had to give it a color, he would say it was shining silver, shot through with ribbons of blood red, and perhaps edged with gold. Or maybe he'd just been spending too much time with Magnus. Either way, it was distinctive, and if he could catch that scent and follow it, he could lead himself to a Shadowhunter who might be able to point him in the right direction.

"I'm going out!" he hollered at Magnus. There was no answer. He always did that – he would pay no attention when Chairman Meow told him he was leaving, and then he'd scold him for running away when he returned. Oh well, not my problem.

First things first, I needed some information. My main informant was Spook, a ragged black stray with an overall demeanor that suggested his elevator didn't reach the top floor. He heard about everything that went on around the city, though, and I'd gotten him out of a tight spot involving some prime Columbian catnip during a drug bust, so he was indebted to me.

Unfortunately, when I reached his usual alley, I found out that someone who didn't want me finding the Shadowhunter had tipped off his security detail. As soon as I arrived, I was chased away by a flock of vicious gulls – and all I did was ask about the one with the blue eyes and sneak a couple of the French Fries they were all crowding around. Jerks. There was plenty for all of us.

After I'd escaped and regained my composure, I realized there was only one other cat in Brooklyn who could tell me what I needed to know. Heart heavy with dread, I made my way to a loft over on Kent Avenue.

This wasn't going to be easy.

Pressed against a chilly brick wall, Chairman Meow fluffed up his fur against the cold and watched the door. He could hear voices just behind it. Hopefully someone would be coming out soon. He didn't have to wait long – the door opened moments later and out clopped a pair of legs ending in cloven hooves. Chairman Meow streaked between them in a blur of fur, taking care to veer immediately right so he didn't run headlong into the wall, darted into a room, and squeezed himself under a couch.

For several tense moments, he waited, listening for anyone who might have noticed his daring break-in and was coming to kick him out.

Nobody came. Chairman Meow let out a sigh of relief, licked a paw, and swiped it over his ear. What a relief! Of course, nobody can catch Chairman Meow – I'm the fastest thing on four legs!

"What are you doing here?"

Chairman Meow hissed out a few curses and quickly pressed himself against the back leg of the couch, swiveling his ears, trying to look in every direction at once. Except maybe for her. He could hear her, but he couldn't see her. That was when she was the most dangerous.

He didn't need to worry, though, because a pair of amber eyes suddenly appeared beneath the edge of the couch, followed closely by a slender, sandy-furred body. "I thought Antoinette had decided to stop letting vermin in the house for me to catch," Cleopatra remarked casually, curling her tail around her paws.

Bristling, Chairman Meow made himself look as large as possible (which just wasn't very large, unfortunately) and boldly said, "She doesn't know I'm here. I've come to ask you a question."

"Oh? Where's your warlock?"

"Home. Listen, Cleopatra, I need –"

"What makes you think," Cleopatra interrupted, "that you can sneak into my house without permission and then be so impudent as to ask for my help?" Her claws slid out and she dug them into the plush carpet. "I dislike intruders. And I especially dislike you, so this wasn't a very well thought out plan, hm?"

"Uh." Wishing he hadn't backed himself into a corner – Cleopatra kept kneading at the rug, and he could see fibers caught on her unusually long, hooked claws – Chairman Meow thought quickly. Okay, you can't do this, you've dealt with her before. You know what she's like, you have to appeal to her ego fast before you rips you to shreds. "I came here because you're the only one who would know this information. I checked around on the streets, but this isn't the sort of thing that's discussed in the lower circles."

Cleopatra's eyes narrowed. She stopped kneading the carpet and looking like she'd rather be putting her claws into Chairman Meow's throat. She sat up a little straighter.

"And what information might this be?"

Hah! Works every time! "Last night, at my pet's party, there was a small Shadowhunter invasion. I've been tasked with reconnaissance. Know anything about them?"

"Maybe. But why should I tell you?"

Chairman Meow forced himself to keep a neutral expression and not start smirking madly. She had walked right into his trap, put out a welcome mat, and started making a pot of coffee. "Because if you don't, Magnus is going to have to come here himself, and he's wearing that mesh –"

"Fine, fine." If there was one being in the world that Cleopatra loathed more than the cat in front of her, it was Magnus Bane. She claimed he was 'offensive to her eyes'. Chairman Meow thought she was a pretentious drama queen, but if he had to play to her irrational hatred of Magnus' clothing in order to get what he needed, he'd do it. "I overheard Antoinette telling Rico about it. I believe they're the ones who live up in the Institute in Manhattan. She assumed that they were looking for someone who'd broken the Law, but they left without arresting anyone."

Manhattan? Magnus owes me big time for this. "Great! Thanks – oh, wait, one more thing. She didn't happen to mention a Shadowhunter with blue eyes, did she?"

Cleopatra shook her head. "No. Now, if that's all you need, I suggest –"

Whatever gruesome end she was planning to suggest Chairman Meow subject himself to, he never found out, because the couch abruptly shifted about a foot to the left, exposing him to the light – and then someone grabbed him by the scruff and picked him up.

"Hey!" Chairman Meow howled over Cleopatra's laughter. "Unhand me, villain, or prepare to meet your end!"

"What the –"

Chairman Meow twisted and thrashed like he was in an aerobics video, but he couldn't free himself from whoever had a hold on him. He chose to save his energy for a possible fight and calmed down, surveying his captor, searching for exploitable weak points. Short, blond, incapable of properly handling a cat. He dimly recognized the boy as Rico, Antoinette's apprentice.

"Antoinette!" Rico hollered, making Chairman Meow's sensitive ears ring. "Why is Bane's cat here?"

"His what?" she yelled.

"His cat. He was under the couch with Cleopatra – hey, Cleo, I wasn't interrupting something, was I?"

"WHAT?" Cleopatra screeched. "I would never – that mangy, flea-bitten, glitter-coated runt is hardly deserving of my time, much less anything else! How dare you?"

Rico ignored her. "What do you want me to do with him?" he called back to Antoinette.

All right, that's enough. Chairman Meow promptly bit him.

Yelping in pain, Rico let go. Chairman Meow landed lightly and immediately took off. "See ya around, Cleo," he shouted over his shoulder. "Give me a call if you decide you want to tap this – oh, wait, but you can't even have kittens, can you? Didn't Antoinette have you spayed? Too bad!"

Cleopatra started shrieking invectives, but he was already slipping between Antoinette and the door and bolting down the stairs like his life depended on it. If she caught up to him, it certainly did – mocking another cat's reproductive ability was a terrible insult in the feline world. Though he usually pitied those who had had theirs compromised, he could make an exception for Cleopatra.

She didn't follow, and moments later he exploded out of the building and onto the sunlit sidewalk. Well, that was fun… time to find the Institute. I wish cats were allowed on the subway, that'd make this so much simpler.

Now, I wonder which way Manhattan is.

This had not been one of his better ideas.

It had been months – years, even, perhaps decades – since he'd left home in search of the one with the blue eyes. Cats weren't particularly good at keeping track of time. They had people to do that sort of thing for them. And speaking of people, Chairman Meow missed his person terribly. He hadn't seen hide nor hair of Magnus in a long time. He wondered if Magnus was out searching for him, putting up flyers with his picture on them and calling around to see if anyone had seen him – or if he'd already given up and mourned his disappearance.

While he was nosing around a particularly smelly trashcan next to a bench, a horrible thought occurred to him.

What if he's gotten another cat?

No, no, he wouldn't do that. Nobody could replace me. I'm cute and cuddly and sweet and I only hide from him when he starts singing. Great Cat in the Sky, but that warlock cannot sing. He's probably still looking for me. Hm… where am I, again?

Chairman Meow blinked up at the large blue sign on the corner of the street. It was covered in those white squiggles that people looked at to know where they were. He couldn't read it, but he didn't need to be able to – cats were born with an innate sense of direction. Sure, he was hopelessly lost now, but in moments his internal compass would kick in and point him in the right direction.

all right, let's go… this way!

He gathered his legs under him and sprang out from under the bench.

He crashed right into a pair of legs.

"Hey! What – awww, hi there, little guy!" The person – a girl, Chairman Meow noted dizzily, with large amounts of long, black hair that looked like it would be fun to smack at – knelt down and scratched his ears. "Are you lost?"

Warily, Chairman Meow leaned forward to sniff her outstretched hand. She smelled overwhelmingly like flowers, oddly enough, but underneath that was something else, something familiar…

Shadowhunter! I'm saved! He immediately began fawning all over her, rubbing his cheek against her hands, purring up a storm, occasionally letting out a cute little squeak. Predictably, she melted. "You are just the cutest thing." Her fingers ruffled through the fur around his neck. "No collar… are you a stray?"

"Yes, yes! I'm homeless and eat out of dumpsters. Take me home!" he said.

"I guess I'll bring you back with me. If Mom won't let me keep you, I'll find someplace nice for you to live. I hope you and Church get along." She picked him up, cradling him in the crook of her arm, and he kept purring. Excellent! I'll poke around her house and see if I can figure out where I am… then, it's on to the Institute!

The Shadowhunter girl rummaged through her pockets and pulled out a cell phone that had clearly seen better days. "I don't know why I'm bothering," she grumbled before raising it to her ear. Chairman Meow could hear it ringing. "Jace, pick up your damn phone. I don't care if you and Clary are bumping uglies, it's been hours and nobody's heard a word from you. If you don't call me back the moment you get this, I will gut you. Oh, and Alec's not dead, we cleared that up. Now call me, you asshole!"

Chairman Meow snuggled into the girl's jacket. She was nice and warm, and, while it wasn't cold out, there was a strong wind that blew his fur into an untidy mess and pricked at his skin. "I can't believe him," she kept complaining, "he runs off with his little girlfriend while our brother's dying. I swear, if they are just screwing, I am going to kill them both. Don't either of them have any sense?" and on and on she went. He tuned her out after a while. Boy, can this girl talk!

Not too long later, the girl took a sharp turn, walked one more block, and paused in front of a massive church. "This is it, kitty," she said, climbing the stairs.

They live here? Wow, I'm impressed. Looks a little too cathedral-y for my tastes, though. I prefer more modern décor.

"I'll put you in my room for now," the girl decided. Chairman Meow gazed around, paying rapt attention to his surroundings as she took him inside, into an elevator, and down a long corridor. He needed to remember the way out in case he had to make a quick escape. Who knows what dangers may await Detective Meow here?

"Sounds good." Maybe someone here knew who the one with the blue eyes was. Chairman Meow pulled his nose out of a fold in her jacket and sniffed the air. Aside from the overwhelming scent of Shadowhunters, he could also smell cat. Male, unfixed, had been here for quite a while. He made a mental note to watch out for him.

The girl carried him into a bedroom – one not all that different from Magnus', actually – and plopped him down onto the shimmery purple bedspread. "I have just the thing for you," she murmured, rummaging around on her vanity.

"While you're at it," Chairman Meow said, "you wouldn't mind telling me if you know a Shadowhunter with blue eyes, would you?"

"Ah ha!" She turned around, grinning, and proceeded to tie a bright green, polka-dotted ribbon around Chairman Meow's neck. "There, now you look smart. But it still needs something…"

Before Chairman Meow could do more than contemplate the indignity of being collared like a common dog, the girl had come back and attached something small and silver to the ribbon. When he craned his head to try to get a look at it, it jingled merrily.

A bell? Oh, that is not gonna fly, my friend. You'll pay dearly for this injustice.

"Here – it's Church's, but I don't think he'll mind if you play with it." A shiny ball of some noisy, crinkly material was dropped in between Chairman Meow's paws. "Now you stay here and behave. I have some stuff to do." She swept out of the room without another word, leaving the bedroom door open a tiny crack.

Chairman Meow waited a few moments, until her footsteps had faded away, then leapt off the bed and poked his nose out. As tempting as that ball looked, he was here on a mission. First – find out how to get to Manhattan. Second – get something to eat. Third – bathe. Fourth – take a nap. Then he would resume his search for the one with the blue eyes. Emboldened by his careful planning, Chairman Meow twisted around and clawed mercilessly at the pretty ribbon until it broke. If he wanted to sneak about, a bell would just give away his position. From there, he crept along the corridor, keeping close to the wall, stopping every other door or so to sniff around. Okay, the Shadowhunter girl went this way, but she wasn't any help. There was another one walking this way earlier… guess I'll follow that trail and see where it leads me. You can't hide from Detective Meow, Shadowhunter!

The 'trail' ended abruptly when he ran into an obstacle lying in the middle of the floor halfway down the hall. It appeared, at first glance, to be a big pile of gray fluff, but when Chairman Meow got closer, his nose caught a somewhat familiar scent. Hey, this must be the cat I keep smelling! "Hello!" Chairman Meow chirped. "Are you awake? I need to ask you a question!"

The mountain of fur shifted.

Then it uncurled itself to reveal the largest cat Chairman Meow had ever seen.

Oh, crap.

"Um. Hi," he squeaked.

The cat – a Persian, with, under the usual myriad of smells, an odd scent that Chairman Meow couldn't place – just stared at him.

"My name's Chairman Meow. Are you the one they call 'Church'? I, uh, was brought in by someone who lives here – that girl with the really long hair. You know her? I bet you do. So, um, hey, you don't know a Shadowhunter with blue eyes, do you? I'm looking for someone like that. He might be living at the Institute. Do you know where that is?"

The Persian blinked large amber eyes at him. He was scrutinizing Chairman Meow like he was trying to decide which part to munch on first.

"Hellooo… you're not deaf, are you?" No, couldn't be, he woke up when I spoke to him. "It's okay if you're shy, I just need to know about the one with the blue eyes. Yes or no?"

Blink. Blink.

Chairman Meow muttered a few unkind words under his breath. "Are you listening to me? Do you speak the King's English?"

Yawning, the cat raised one paw, which was nearly the size of Chairman Meow's head, and casually unsheathed his claws.

Taking a few steps back, Chairman Meow laughed nervously and said, "Uh, never mind! You can speak whatever you want! I'm just going to, um, go that way. Quickly. Right now." And then he turned and ran.

Two right turns later, he spotted a pair of doors that hadn't quite been closed all the way. He couldn't hear the Persian anymore, but that didn't mean much – oh, I sincerely hope he can't teleport or become invisible or anything like that – so he squeezed inside and darted beneath a nearby bed, concealing himself in the shadows.

Safe! Try to find me now, evil mutant Persian!

When a few minutes passed without an appearance from the larger cat, Chairman Meow started to get bored. He stuck his nose into a tattered boot lying next to the bed, batted at the laces, gnawed a little on the metal bits at the ends. Then he gathered up all his bravery and slithered out from under the bed, keeping an eye out for the giant Persian. I think that's one cat I'd rather not tangle with. He took a long sniff and promptly sneezed as a chemical, antiseptic scent burned his nostrils. Ew! I'm getting out of here!

Hey, wait a minute… what's that? He sniffed again, less deeply. I know that smell…

He looked up.

"Magnus?" Chairman Meow said in disbelief. "What are you – did you come here to get me?"

Magnus wasn't paying attention. Maybe because that was normal for him, maybe because he was too busy sucking face with the kid on the bed.

Gross. Well, I guess I should leave th – whoa, whoa, hold on! Who the hell is that? Has he… did he find someone else? After all the trouble I went to finding the one with the blue eyes… who I haven't found yet, but still! Betrayal is punishable by death, traitor! Chairman Meow crouched, gathering his short but powerful hind legs underneath himself, and jumped.

He landed on Magnus' back and sank his claws into the soft jacket.

Unfortunately, the impact of his righteous fury was diminished when Chairman Meow realized his claws weren't long enough to puncture through the leather and into Magnus' skin. He did, however, succeed in getting noticed.

"Um," the Shadowhunter said breathlessly, "there's a cat on you."

Magnus glanced over his shoulder. His eyebrows shot up almost to his hairline, and Chairman Meow curled his lips back to reveal his sharp little teeth. "So who's this, Magnus?"

Without replying, Magnus reached back, plucked Chairman Meow off him like he was picking a piece of lint from his clothing, and dropped him onto the Shadowhunter's legs. "This is my cat."

"You brought your cat with you?"

"I did not. But he appears to be here, so…" Magnus raised his hands and shrugged, "here he is."

"…all right," the boy said, sounding a bit confused, and he sat up (somewhat clumsily, like he was sore) and patted Chairman Meow on the head. He smelled a little unusual – like blood and magic and that sharp, sour tang Chairman Meow had come to associate with demon poison – but he also smelled like a Shadowhunter. And, when Chairman Meow took a better look at him, he realized that he had very, very blue eyes.

Oh, would you look at that! Magnus must have come here in search of me and found the one with the blue eyes too. I led him right to him! How great am I? Pleased with himself, he stood up on his back legs, placed his paws on the Shadowhunter's chest, and gave him a stern glare. The Shadowhunter just stroked his back as if he was cute and fluffy and not a force of overprotective fury. Chairman Meow immediately hated him. But Magnus seemed to like him, so... "Listen up!" Chairman Meow said. "If you're going to fool around with my pet, we'll have to lay down some ground rules. First, if you ever come over to my house, bring treats. Second, all the toys are mine. You can play with them, but you should ask politely before you do and then make sure you put them back where you found them. Third, don't bring that Persian behemoth with you. Fourth, you'd better be nice to my warlock. He's special. If you hurt his feelings, I will hurt you. Fifth –"

"I suppose it's a good thing he turned up here," Magnus mused. "I hadn't even realized he was gone."

"What? But I was gone for years! You didn't – oh, that is so it!" Chairman Meow had had it with being ignored. And now, if he was going to be completely forgotten about in favor of some kid… well, he'd have to nip that behavior in the bud, even if it meant scaring off Magnus' new love interest. So when the Shadowhunter's pale fingers touched his fur again, Chairman Meow clamped his teeth around his wrist.

To his credit, the kid barely even flinched. Out of the corner of his eye, Chairman Meow saw Magnus sigh and cradle his chin in his palm. "I'm sorry, he's usually so well-behaved. Although, you probably still reek of demon to him…"

"That's not my fault," the Shadowhunter said. He inspected the bite without making any move to actually detach Chairman Meow from his skin. Chairman Meow gave him a few reluctant points for that. Maybe he was tougher than he looked. "It doesn't hurt, anyway. I've been bitten by a vampire before. Same hand, actually."

Okay, definitely tougher than he looked, but that didn't mean Chairman Meow had to like him. He let go of the boy's wrist when his jaws began to ache and backed off a bit, swiping his tongue around his mouth and cringing – the Shadowhunter had definitely been poisoned, he could taste it in his blood. He gave brief thought to puking in Magnus' lap. That would show him. He probably wouldn't notice, though, he was too busy staring at the Shadowhunter with amusement and undisguised longing. "Have you? That's interesting."

"No, it isn't," the boy mumbled, "you just want me to keep talking to you."

"You could talk to me," Chairman Meow suggested.

"Oh, dear, you've foiled my nefarious plan," Magnus deadpanned. "Listen, Alec –"

"You should go," the Shadowhunter – Alec – said quickly. "Isabelle's going to come back sooner or later and –" He stopped. Chairman Meow tilted his head back to look at him more closely, puzzled. A moment ago, he'd been a formidable opponent, but now he looked uncomfortable and timid, his shoulders hunched, and he kept casting nervous glances towards the doors. It was almost as if Chairman Meow's arrival had woken him from some kind of dream. "We shouldn't do this," Alec finished, voice so low it was barely a whisper.

Magnus' expression had gone cold and blank. Chairman Meow pressed his claws into the rough material of Alec's pants in warning. I said be nice to him, you little bastard, weren't you listening? "Why not?"

"We just can't."

"Maybe you should have thought of that before you kissed me."

"I know." Alec sounded so forlorn that Chairman Meow actually felt bad for him. One must have pity for the simple-minded, he reminded himself. "I'm sorry. But I can't do this. You have no idea how much trouble I'd be in if anyone found out."

Magnus sighed. "Emotionally fragile teenage Shadowhunter…" he mused, almost to himself, "really not the best combination of words. Good thing you're cute."

Alec scowled at him. "I am not fragile –"

"Of course you're not, darling."

"You're a condescending asshole."

Chairman Meow made himself comfortable and began cleaning the pads of his paws. He had the feeling that he might be here for a while.

"How sweet," Magnus said, a slight smile pulling at the corners of his lips. "But I concede your point, this is really not the place to be doing this."

"That wasn't my –"

"So!" Magnus continued, cutting across Alec once again. "I have brainstormed a brilliant solution." His half-smile curled into an unmistakable leer. "I live alone."

Offended at the callous disregard of his existence, Chairman Meow opened his mouth to complain, but before he could, Alec blinked and said, "I know."

His words were immediately followed by an awkward pause, during which Alec waited for Magnus to elaborate further and Magnus wondered if perhaps he should have pursued someone with a slightly higher rate of brain activity. That was what Chairman Meow assumed he was thinking, anyway. It was certainly his own opinion. Then the implications must have registered, because Alec suddenly flushed and muttered, "Oh. Right."

"Exactly. Hold out your hand."

"What are you doing to do?"

The leer, which had steadily faded, returned in full force. "Anything you want, gorgeous."

Alec turned even redder. Chairman Meow rolled his eyes. He didn't really understand the concept of human relationships. Cats just got straight to the point, there was none of this silly, sappy flirting business. People were unnecessarily obsessed with reproduction. They acted like it was fun. He drew his tongue down his foreleg and tried to tune his warlock and the Shadowhunter out, but as they were all occupying the same bed, it was difficult.

"I'm joking. Relax, I won't turn it purple or anything," Magnus promised. "Just give me your hand."

Clearly apprehensive, Alec nevertheless extended his right hand. Magnus briefly covered his palm with his own – a bright blue glow lit up their hands for just an instant – and then he closed Alec's fingers, leaned forward, and touched his lips to the Shadowhunter's. "I won't force you to do anything," he whispered, "but just in case you decide the consequences are worth it."

Awww, so sweet!

Chairman Meow then proceeded to hack the wet tangle of fur clogging up his throat onto the sheet.

"Uck, sorry about that," he said once he'd finished, coughing a few times to thoroughly clear his airway. "It's a cat thing. Proceed."

Magnus looked like he was thinking of sending Chairman Meow to Siberia, air-mail, possibly in a box without any holes. Alec just looked faintly nauseated. He slumped back against the pillow, throwing an arm over his eyes, and said, "I think that killed the moment."

"The moment is dead, buried, and has been given a moving eulogy," Magnus agreed, clearing away the hairball with a flick of his wrist. "Don't lose that. I don't want to have to change the locks because some hobo is raiding my apartment at all hours."


"Perhaps." The warlock stood up in one fluid, catlike motion. Chairman Meow approved of his elegance. People could never hope to be as spry and graceful as cats, but Magnus came startlingly close on occasion. "But after the third time I came home to find somebody I didn't know in my den, drinking all my good tea, I learned to be a bit more conscientious."

"The second guy was pretty nice," Chairman Meow mused, absent-mindedly kneading Alec's leg. "He threw my jingly ball for me. He smelled like rotten pickles, though."

"So if you don't want the key, return it to me."

"You're just looking for some excuse to see me again," Alec said. His voice was slurring, like he was falling asleep. "And then you'll… I don't know, seduce me or something."

"My, you have figured out my nefarious plan." Magnus stroked his fingertips against Alec's cheek, so lightly Chairman Meow doubted the Shadowhunter could even feel it. "I'll have to come up with a new one… how do you feel about grapes?"


"Damn. Well, I'll think of something. You should be fine now – you'd better be fine, because I'm running low on magic – but call if you need me, all right?"

"All right," Alec breathed, "thanks." His eyes were closed, so he didn't see the way Magnus was gazing at him, but Chairman Meow did – and he felt vaguely embarrassed, like he was watching something very personal. He'd never seen Magnus look so enraptured, as if he'd just found the one thing on Earth that was so precious he couldn't bear to so much as glance away.

And he was a little offended that Magnus had never looked at him like that. He was polite enough not to interrupt, though. Okay, Chairman Meow admitted, however unwillingly, I guess I can put up with him. He's a Shadowhunter, and not a particularly swift one at that, but… if he makes Magnus happy, I'll live with it. Ugh. I really don't want to have to be compromising again anytime soon. I feel so nice.

Finally, Magnus scooped Chairman Meow up, settling him on his shoulder, and said softly, "I'll go. Get some sleep." Alec didn't respond. His breathing had settled into a deep, even rhythm. Magnus stood beside the bed for a second longer, then turned and headed for the doors. "Come along, you," he murmured to Chairman Meow. "I imagine you're hungry."

"Oh, starving," Chairman Meow said emphatically. "Whatever happened to that fish head? Did you eat it? If not, I want that. And I want that fuzzy blanket you've got in your closet." He stretched his legs out in front of him and yawned, tired from his long investigation. Detective Meow solves another mind-boggling case.

A moment later, he noticed something Magnus, who was opening the door, missed – Alec was not quite as asleep as they'd assumed. He was looking at Magnus' back through half-lidded eyes, expression undecipherable. Then he opened his hand, rolled the key over his fingers, and slipped it into his pocket.

Great. I am never going to be rid of him. Damn Magnus and his fondness for scrawny poisonous boys. Chairman Meow nudged Magnus' neck with his nose and purred sleepily. I'm so good to you. You have no idea how lucky you are.

Out of nowhere came several long, tanned fingers, which found their way under Chairman Meow's chin and began to scratch.

My arch-nemesis Hand Man has returned, and he's found my one weakness! Defeat is imminent!

Mmm… defeat is also warm and smells like strawberries.

And, having done the impossible and generously reunited his warlock with the elusive blue-eyed Shadowhunter (despite his own personal feelings on the matter), Chairman Meow cuddled into Magnus' jacket and fell asleep.

It is done! For now, at least. I may later add on another one-shot or something if I feel like writing Chairman Meow's POV again, but don't hold your breath.

Reviews soothe my tortured soul. And they make me consider writing the sequel to Payment that y'all keep bugging me about.