A/N: The MI characters are not AH, but this is an AU. Enjoy
Disclaimer: The plot belongs, mostly, to the Great Gatsby, and the characters are, for the most part, the property of the Mortal Instruments.
The Magnificent Magnus
New York, 1922
Hodge once told me something that has played on my mind a lot recently.
"Whenever you feel like criticizing someone," he had said, "just remember that all the Shadowhunters, mundane, and Downworlders in this world haven't had the advantage you've had."
There was a time when I lived by those words, and I think that nature to reserve judgment was what kept close with my siblings, despite how different we were. Even since my family has left the institute we have been in touch.
Almost immediately after the war in Idris, Jace took off from the school and ran away to France with Clary. They were married two years later. Isabelle had, of all things, started training to be a Silent Brother. She had lived in the Glass City for a little over a year. Now I was expected to take over the institute. It was not a bad job, and had it not been forced upon me I may have loved it. But as the case was, I merely tolerated the position, and would take every opportunity to travel away.
This was one of those opportunities. My parents were starting to feel too old for demon fighting, and wished to have a more relaxing job. Without hesitation I suggested they come run the institute, and their acceptance left me able to find a new home. I had the whole world available, and where did I chose? A little cottage in West Egg. Why? I told my parents I loved the city, and wanted to stay near it. Really? Jace and Clary had now settled down at the East Egg.
My rented home was lovely though; a beautiful view of water stretched nearly to the sky, a shell-thin sliver of the East Egg caught between the two. I will be honest, I remember very little of my first two weeks. There was that view, and my little home. I say little only relativity; it was really quite adequate. But looming mansions on either side caused the house to cower and shrink into its meager plot of land.
The house—perhaps castle gives a better image—to my right belonged to the Magnificent Magnus. I did not know this for those two weeks. I had never heard the name before.
There was a night in my first week when I was out on the beach, squinting at pages of runes only barely visible in the darkness. A cat was picking its way along the sand, running close to the shore in search of fish and scaring away at each sweeping wave. As I followed its progression I noticed a human figure also present on the shore.
The thin silhouette stared out at the horizon, and it felt like I was pulling a weight through the sand to drag my eyes from him and follow his gaze. He, like I had many nights before, was staring at the faint glow of witch light coming from the East Egg. My first clue that he was also not a mundane, and I overlooked it. I merely wondered if he was alone in his mansion, and if so, how very lonely he must be.
Perhaps it was this sight of that miserable solitude that gave me the extra courage to visit my brother. Of course Jace and Clary welcomed me to their gorgeous home with open arms. Again my house was put to shame; their mulberry wood antique dining table could have filled my living room wall to wall.
Clary greeted me with a shriek of delight and a hug. My awkward smile was recognized for the sincere and warm greeting it was, and she led me by the arm to the table, all the while gushing over how lovely it was to be outside the Shadowhunter world. Whatever bad blood had been between us had disappeared when she married Jace.
I took the last open seat and looked pointedly from Clary to the stranger across from me. With the excuse of fetching the drinks, Clary stood again, and as she passed me whispered.
"Camille, my friend. Downworlder."
I tentatively smiled at Camille. She flashed a radiant grin at me, and though I nodded politely she seemed flustered at that I had not melted into my seat. Undoubtedly, she had that affect on most guys.
Clary, thankfully, returned with the drinks—wine for me and Jace, lemonade for herself, and a glass of a deep red liquid for Camille. Involuntarily my eyebrows drew together and my breath let out with a hiss. Leech.
The blood was taken with a sweet smile and deepest glowing eyes. When she licked her lips I noted her teeth were sharp needles.
As I said before, what Hodge had told me came frequently to mind during the events of West Egg. It was at that moment that I first recollected his words, and I tried to view Camille as a mundane with an awful disease; to be pitied, not hated. But shouldn't a sick person lie down? Go into quarantine? At least be ashamed to laugh and grin with a mouth full of gleaming fangs? I pushed down these thoughts, but the word Downworlder pulsed painfully behind my eyes with every laugh of the healthy creature.
"Alec," Jace pulled me out of my thoughts. His eyes had not aged a day since I last saw him. One look and I was stuck to his honey-gold gaze. "I heard a rumor that there was a werewolf gang war near the institute. Did you see it?"
I shook my head, letting hair fall over my reddening face. Two years, and he wanted to know about clave gossip. "I was in town that day, and it was hardly a war. A brawl perhaps, no casualties, but not casual." I stopped. I had nothing more about it I cared to say. "How have you two been?" I addressed Clary too. "Are you really settled down and moved past demon hunting?"
Clary nodded and smiled, and after a beat of an unsettled look, Jace joined the affirmation.
"The demons have calmed down after the war," Clary said, "as if the ones Valentine let in depleted the other worlds' supply." Clary had taken a breath to continue, but let the air sigh back out as the phone rang. Jace scraped the chair on the ground in his hurry to reach it, and left the table with only a wave of his hand to excuse himself.
Jace's quiet words were faint through the wall. He was whispering, hardly trying to hide his secrecy. The color had drained from Clary's already pale face, and she met Camille's eyes.
"Dear, don't worry. I'm sure its fine." Camille had stood up and walked to Clary's side. The red head was now hung, her shoulders shaking. Clary's breath came hard and she was sniffling. She pulled herself up on the table edge and slipped out of the room with surprising grace. Camille did not try to follow, but sat back down.
"She thinks Jace hasn't given up hunting demons. I can't blame him though; it is in Shadowhunter blood." Camille talked to her plate; I felt almost as I was eavesdropping. "He could have tried harder. It meant so much to Clary."
I was standing, then, and followed Clary's path to the porch. She was on a little wood bench with chipping paint in one of those tidy little gardens I have never liked. The flowers were in painstaking rows and the grass cleanly trimmed. A little perfectly circular pond seemed pitiful with the great shoreline so near. I doubted the bench's chipping paint was even authentic carelessness, but an expensive painting technique advertised to those willing to pay handsomely for a "homey" look.
Clary looked up as I came down the steps towards her.
"Oh Alec," she hurriedly wiped at her eyes, "I'm sorry."
I sat next to her, "You do not have to explain the irritations of Jace to me."
"It's just… oh, he knew that phone was going to ring. He always knows." She cried softly for a minute. Poor thing, I thought to myself and I think it now. She loved him so much and trusted him. She was usually so tough. "With the money the Clave gave us to keep quiet about everything that happened and the reward for confirming Valentine's death we need never work again if we kept living modestly."
Modestly? What appeared to be a small polo field seemed to disagree.
"So I convinced Jace we should stop hunting demons. I mean he's already die—got hurt. He's already been hurt once, and I didn't want it to happen again. But he can't stop, can he? Of all times to start something so dangerous, oh God, why now?" She was weeping furiously.
"Clary," I put a hand on her shoulder. "What else is the matter?"
From her slouched position she looked up at me miserably. What had happened to the strong girl? Was this what two years of marriage to Jace brought you? A frayed mind and broken heart.
"I…" She trailed off. She opened her mouth a few times before breathing out another, "I'm…" Her eyes closed, and I almost thought she fell asleep. They opened a second later and the gaze that met me was vibrant and brave. "I love wine." She said strongly.
I blinked. "Are you…" I knew no way but bluntness, "having drinking problems?"
She laughed. A hoarse and rasping thing that made me want to laugh just to make sure I did not sound like her. "No, tonight, remember? You and Jace had wine. I didn't, and it wasn't because I didn't want any."
I looked at her blankly. Why wouldn't she have wine if she wanted some? Wine in moderation isn't bad for you. She said she wasn't an alcoholic.
She laughed again. Her throat had warmed up to the sound, and it was almost pretty. "Oh, Alec, I've missed your innocence. Here," she picked up my hand and placed it on her stomach.
My hand jerked away and my face turned deep red. I stared at her in hopeless confusion. At least she was grinning now, tears dried.
"Oh!" I exclaimed. What else was I supposed to say? I knew very little about… all those girly things that happen with… you know… and that stuff… "It takes nine months," I said suddenly.
"You know…" I couldn't say pregnancy. I point at her stomach. "That thing that happened to you. It takes nine months. Then it turns into a baby." I nodded impressively. I was pretty proud of myself for knowing that fact off the top of my head.
"Yes…" She said with a laughter strained voice. Then in a quick turn she seemed to melt back in to the bench. "And I would like the baby to have two very healthy parents. I just… feel like my mom. I want to leave the whole Shadowhunter world behind and shelter the baby the best I can. Perhaps Magnus can erase my mind again."
"Yes, he's the warlock that altered my memory. Didn't you? No, that's right; you didn't come to the party. It was all so long ago. But haven't you met him now?"
I shook my head.
"You don't know? He is your next door neighbor."
Eventually we returned to dinner and passed a meal in awkward conversation. Camille and I got along, and seemed to take friendship in our shared pity for Clary. I recognized the vampire from the war in Idris, and the bloodsucker earned a grudging respect. It made for a comfortable conversation, too.
As the light retreated shyly from the sky I hurried out of the home, mumbling harried thank yous and goodbyes. I had learned how to drive, and took a car of my own home. Driving was already a struggle, and with my mind off the road it is a miracle I made it home. All the while I thought the same words, sometimes so powerfully I had to say them out loud.
"Perhaps it would not be so bad for Clary to take after her mother. But, by the Angel, this does not make Jace Valentine. It can't. It doesn't."
I feel vaguely like I'm plagiarizing… but it is sort of its own story. Well, what do you think? If you liked it or at least tolerated click the REVIEW THIS CHAPTER button below. If you hated it click the rectangular red button in the top right corner. No, criticisms are appreciated too. Thanks!