A Mortal Instruments Fanfiction.

Jace: my parabatai, my brother-in-arms, my best friend. But not my lover. Never that.
Alec POV. Drabbles. AU. Set CoB. Slash themes. M to be safe.

The Mortal Instruments universe belongs to Cassandra Clare as do some of the dialogue excerpts that I have used directly from City of Bones. With grateful thanks to Dihenydd and Shoefreak37 for their help and friendship.

The Beginning of the End

I hate the Pandemonium Club.

My stomach churns. My nostrils fill with salty stink. Everything is magnified in this claustrophobic heat - too many bodies squeezed into a too small space. The deafening noise that passes for music makes it hard to concentrate and everywhere, pressed close all around me, are gleaming sweat covered mundanes. It makes my skin crawl.

I don't know what the Downworlders see in the place; it's shabby and dark, and as Isabelle keeps reminding us, not a place a Shadowhunter would want to be caught dead in.

But it's not a Shadowhunter who will die tonight.

The demon is wearing a garish blue-haired glamour, and falls for Isabelle's own particular brand of enticement just as we planned.

Got you.

She slips inside the storage room, the demon-boy close on her heels, and Jace and I right behind. It's amazing how stupid demons can be when there is a pretty girl giving them a smile. This isn't the first time we've trapped one using my sister's "charms".

I hear Izzy's whip crack as we enter the dusty room, and smile as she stands over our quarry, her golden whip wrapped around the demon lying at her feet.

The Eidolon demon is refusing to give us any useful information - just some rubbish about Valentine still being alive. It's not like we haven't heard that one before. I resist the urge to roll my eyes at it's feeble attempt to placate us with empty lies.

I can see Jace losing his patience - his voice is getting louder, his hands tightening around his seraph blade, and I don't blame him. I just want to get this over with, go home, get out of this dingy club.

"Just kill it already, Jace," I hiss impatiently.

That's when the girl appears.

The girl; she's a mundane.

And she can see us.

"What is this?" I demand. Jace and Isabelle stare at me mutely, looking as stunned as I feel.

Jace hesitates.

The demon attacks.

All I see is a churning mass of bodies, sharp demon claws glinting, red blood dripping from Jace's arms. A desperate flash of black swirling runes on gold skin.

Someone is screaming - I'm not sure if it is me or the girl.

My stomach drops, white-cold fear prickling down my spine as my mind goes blank except for one thought.

Please don't let him die. I wouldn't survive if he died.

Isabelle spins and retrieves her whip, her long black hair whirling behind her like a hurricane. She flicks it triumphantly across the demon's back. Jace rolls, plunging his blade home. Black fluid explodes, the demon dying in twisted, snarling movements.

It should be me who has his back, not Isabelle. Jace and I are parabatai. Warriors fighting side by side, only I am paralyzed by all my fears. I'm useless to him.

As good as invisible.

With his dying breath the demon growls some threat at Jace - I don't register a single word.

Jace is alive.

My heart starts beating again.

The girl is still there. The stupid, reckless mundane who almost cost Jace his life.

My hatred flares like a sunbeam. Hot and angry and boiling in my veins.

What is she even doing here?

I scowl as Jace speaks to her. She is unimportant, a curiosity at best - something Hodge might be interested in - certainly Jace shouldn't be telling her about demon dimensions and talking to her in that quiet voice I know so well.

He doesn't sound like Jace the Shadowhunter who just slayed a demon. He sounds like my Jace. And I hate her even more.

The War Within

Hodge thinks the girl might be dangerous. He wants Jace to bring her in.

The thought of a mundane in the Institute is appalling. I argue, spitting angry words as Hodge and Jace talk about how best to approach her. They ignore me, and I leave, slamming the door behind me like a child.

Something in my gut tells me this is a bad idea.

It's not just the fact she's a human.

I saw something on Jace's face when he talked about the little girl with green eyes that See us. Something that makes me think Hodge is right. She's dangerous.

It all went wrong.

Jace went to get the girl and somehow she got attacked by a Ravener. He says she killed it, but I don't believe him. She's so tiny, pixie-like, there's no way she defeated a demon on her own.

A flash of jealousy, the sting of my own inadequacies, the burning shame of my failures; I channel it all as hatred.

I watch her sleeping in her demon-inflicted coma; part of me wishing she would just succumb to the poison. I know it's irrational to hate someone I've "met" once - but I do.

She shouldn't be here.

"Is Hodge going to call the Brothers?" I shudder as an image of hooded figures flits through my head.

Isabelle is with me, watching the girl with an odd mix of fascination and revulsion. "I hope not," she says with obvious distaste. "They give me the creeps."

You're not the only one.

The fact that Jace hasn't been to see the girl is the only positive in this whole mess. I convince myself I'd imagined everything, that nothing needs to change.

"Look! She moved."

"I guess she's alive after all." I sigh, wondering if my disappointment is obvious. "I'll tell Hodge."

Hodge is being all nicey-nice to the girl. And to my horror, Jace too.

They're praising her for killing the demon. A snort of derision escapes my mouth before I realize. "I can't believe you buy that story," I sneer.

Hodge questions me and I fling some insults at the girl. Her name is Clary. Stupid name for a stupid girl.

Instantly, she's on her feet calling me a dickhead.

I'm outraged. I wait for Jace to put her in her place, but he says nothing.

He's my parabatai. He's supposed to have my back. Defend me - no matter what. Or who.

They go together; Jace and Clary, to search her mother's apartment. They don't ask me.

I'm still angry at Jace for breaking all the rules and risking everything. Not even Clary deserves to be turned into a Forsaken. Mostly, I'm just devastated at the thought of his stele tracing runes on her pale skin.

They return with more tales of demon attacks. She attracts mayhem wherever she goes. Not to mention there's a boy mundane here now.

The old Jace would never have stood for this. Everything is different now.

He's slipping away and there is nothing I can do.

That night I wake from a nightmare, bathed in cold sweat and shaking with fear.

The Clave found out the secrets of my heart. I've broken the one and only rule; don't fall in love with your parabatai.

They punish Jace by sending him to the Silent Brothers. I scream his name, fighting against magical bonds that hold me in place as they sew his mouth shut, mutilating his beautiful face forever.

They strip me of my runes, leaving me naked and shivering on the street. I bang on the Institute's door till my voice goes hoarse and my tears dry up.


At the diner it's hard not to notice that everyone sits in pairs. Isabelle and Simon. Jace and Clary. And me.

Isabelle has news of a party at the High Warlock of Brooklyn's apartment. That's what having two mundanes in tow has reduced us to - "socializing" with Downworlders. Reluctantly, I agree to go.

I steal a few precious moments with Jace in the Weapons Room, but he is distracted and barely listens to anything I say.

At midnight the girls finally appear. I cringe as Jace's eyes drink Clary in, his hands lingering on her neck as he unpins her hair.

Magnus Bane.

My eyes keep returning to his tall, lean frame, the blue shine of his lips, the black spikes of his hair. The charcoal that sweeps around his cat-like eyes, the glitter that falls from his hands as he speaks. He's mesmerizing.

I blanch at the heat of my own thoughts, blushing as his gaze keeps returning to mine.

A vampire causes a scene, and without flinching, Magnus dispatches him with a flick of his long painted nails. Impressive.

I try to concentrate on the conversation, but it's hopeless. I'm spellbound.

When we leave he asks me to call him.

"Didn't you have fun at the party, Alec?" Isabelle asks.

"No," I say automatically without really hearing her question. I'm thinking about warlock magic and wondering if I've been enchanted.

"I thought you might like Magnus. He's nice, isn't he?"

"Nice?" I look at her like she's crazy. There is nothing nice about Magnus. "Kittens are nice," I stammer, "Warlocks are...

Wonderfully exotic. Captivating. Confusing.

"...not." It sounds lame.

"I thought you might hit it off. Become friends."

I glare at her insinuation."I have friends." My eyes betray me, flickering to Jace. Clary is watching closely, and I look away.

Clary confronts me in the hallway, and tells me she knows I'm in love with Jace.

I've spent so long hiding and denying that for a moment I'm too shocked to speak. Then, the anger and the jealousy explode inside me.

"How dare you?" I snarl at her. She knows nothing about me or how I feel. I can't believe she would approach me like this.

I want to wipe that sickening look of pity off her face.

I don't need her sympathy or her pathetic attempts at friendship.

"If you breathe a word of this to Jace, I'll kill you."

I think back to that day at Pandemonium and wonder if Jace fell in love with Clary in that first instant. Jace never showed any interest in girls before. I guess I always hoped...

It's so obvious now, I don't even try and pretend it isn't true.

I see the way she looks at him - the furtive glances and flushed cheeks. I know exactly how she feels about Jace because I feel the same way, too.

This heartbreak feels akin to betrayal. I wish there was a rune that could make the pain go away, or help me to let him go.

Jace is standing with his back to me, his skin glistening over the smooth curve of his muscles. He is so close I breathe in the smell of him; summer and something musky.

"Close to the heart," he says.

My stele glows as I trace it across his skin under his shoulder blade. The rune flows from my heart onto the skin covering his. Keeping him safe from harm.

Marking him as mine.

As the rune settles into place, he turns and wraps his arms around me. Our lips meet in a passionate, searing kiss.

That's how I know I'm only dreaming.

I sneak out of the Institute at night to prowl the streets. I don't know what I am looking for, or if indeed, there is anything that can take away the hole in my chest.

Jace. My parabatai, my brother-in-arms, my best friend. But not my lover.

Never that.

He loves Clary. And she loves him.

There is no place in his heart for me.

I find myself at Magnus's door, seeking distraction and refuge in his strong arms and kisses that taste of sugar and fireworks. He doesn't ask for more than I can give, and for that I am ever grateful.

A new beginning

Blue sparks trail across my skin as Magnus's fingertips glide over my body. I vibrate under his touch, sighing as he pulls me closer.

The magic hovers around him like an aura, and I can't help but drown in it. He makes me feel...wanted. With him I forget everything. He takes my pain and makes me feel safe.

I still don't know what he sees in me. Next to his velvet-glitter exuberance, I feel plain and dull even with my skin adorned in runes. Am I simply a nephilim trophy? A convenient distraction? I'm afraid of the answer so I never ask.

I wake - my head pounding, a searing pain in my leg. My room at the Institute comes slowly into focus.

Magnus is sitting on my bed.

I try to sit up, but blinding pain makes me groan back down. What the hell is Magnus doing here? Disjointed, hazy memories that I can't make sense of flood my head.

Madame Dorothea's. A demon? A crash of glass. Faces coming into focus - Jace, Clary, Magnus. I sense somehow I should feel grateful to Simon; but for what I'm not sure.

Everything's blurry, and it hurts my head trying to decipher it all.

Magnus lays a cool, soothing hand on my head. "Sleep."

When I wake the next time he tells me - without any hint of arrogance- how he saved me from an almost certain and agonizing death. I decide I don't want to remember the demon attack.

I bring his fingers to my lips and whisper a heartfelt thank you.

He won't tell me how he knew to come. A wink and "a warlock has to have his secrets" is all he will give me. The idea that he might be keeping tabs on me is not as disconcerting as it should be.

When I'm feeling stronger, the others come to visit. I smile to myself as Isabelle tells how Magnus arrived at the door, frantic with worry, demanding to be let in.

"It was awesome! Blue and red sparks kept exploding out into the hallway from under the door!"

I lie and say I don't remember Magnus "magicking" me. But as she speaks, my head fills with a powerful feeling of being protected. It's warmth spreads down my limbs, glowing in my heart.

When I search inside myself, I realize Magnus has healed more than just the wounds the demon left with me.

I make my peace with Clary. I actually feel sorry for her now; knowing how painful it is to love someone forbidden to you.

Jace seems withdrawn, his shoulders slumped under the weight of everything that has come to light. I want to help, but all I can do is promise myself to always have his back.

We don't speak of Hodge's deception or death. It hurts too much, but not as much as knowing we failed and Valentine succeeded in stealing the Mortal Cup.

We wait for Clary's mother to recover, and can only hope she has some answers.

My hand shakes nervously as I use the key Magnus has given me to open his door. I step through, leaving my fears and my memories of loving Jace behind.

"Back on your feet already?" he asks with a wide smile.

I grin back at him, twirling on my newly healed leg. I stumble slightly but he's right there, catching me in his strong arms. I breathe in the sweet smell of him, reveling in the feel of his body pressed close to mine.

I start to thank him again, but he silences me with a kiss that sets me on fire.

This is where I am meant to be. With Magnus. I won't be alone anymore.