I'm back! I'm sorry that this update took a bit longer than planned. I've been pretty busy with work, and to be honest I was really nervous that this chapter would be a total letdown after the first.
I can't thank all of you enough for the wonderful reviews you've given me! They gave me the encouragement to continue with this story when I might otherwise not have. You are all the best, and I hope that you enjoy this chapter!
Without further ado, here it is:
"Magnus..." Isabelle sounded half-apologetic, but there was no mistaking the urgency in her voice.
"Fine." Magnus stood up. "But," he added, pausing by Alec's chair and leaning in close to him, "you are not trivial."
Alec flushed. "If you say so," he said.
"I say so," said Magnus, and he turned to follow Isabelle out of the room. (CoFA, page 310)
A pounding on the front door jolted Magnus out of his dreamless sleep. He rubbed at his eyes, the remnants of few-days-old eyeliner (purple this time) smudging against his knuckles. He sluggishly reached for his phone, wondering what time it was. The display read 07:24. Under the time were the words 13 MISSED CALLS. 6 VOICEMAILS.
He blinked in confusion as his phone suddenly lit up like a marionette coming to life. He answered before even checking to see who it was.
"'lo?" He was still too groggy to manage more than a monosyllabic greeting.
"Magnus? Is that you? Open up! It's Isabelle." There was a definite note of panic in her voice despite her best efforts to remain calm. Magnus knew that something must be very wrong for Isabelle Lightwood to let fear bleed into her voice.
"Whassamatter?" he asked, tripping over his own feet in his efforts to get to the front door. In retrospect, he probably could have used magic. Then again, his powers were still drained from healing his injury, despite Alec's assistan-
Magnus's mind sputtered to a halt. The phone slipped from his hand and hit the floor with a resounding crash. He didn't even bother to check if it was still in one piece, preoccupied as he was with other more pressing thoughts.
Alexander had betrayed him. He, Magnus, had broken up with him the previous day.
The world suddenly slid back into sickeningly sharp focus. Magnus needed to lean against the wall for support, disoriented by the sudden shock of loss that surged through him.
The pounding against the door grew more frantic. "MAGNUS! If you don't open up in five seconds, I swear on the Angel that I am breaking this stupid door down!"
Wearily, he slid across the wall and unlatched the door. Isabelle burst into the room not a moment after, her head snapping every which way as if searching for something.
"Alright, what have you done with him? Where is he?" Her hands were on her hips, and she was looking at him with an annoyed but not hateful expression. Magnus, for once, was at a loss for words. He just stared at her as if she had grown a third head. "Well?" Isabelle demanded, her voice raising an octave.
"What do you mean 'where is he'?" Magnus asked, nonplussed. It had been almost a full day since he had broken up with Alec, and he was certain that everyone at the Institute would have heard the young boy's sob story by now. "Surely you wouldn't expect him to be here of all places."
Isabelle seemed caught off-guard by the venom in his voice. "Why wouldn't I? He told me and Jace the other day at he was coming over here to check on you."
"And so he did," said Magnus coldly. "But that was then, and this is now."
Isabelle, who'd had much more experience with relationships than Alec and perhaps even Jace, narrowed her eyes. She didn't like where this conversation was headed.
"And just what exactly do you mean by that?" she asked dangerously and in a tone that implied Magnus was on very thin ice.
He was immediately dragged back into another moment, another time.
"Don't shout at my sister," Alec had said, his voice quiet but resolute. There was a fire blazing behind his bright blue eyes, a stunning contradiction.
Magnus had always found it amazing how fiercely protective both Lightwood siblings were of one another. If he had been a few hundred years younger and less wise, it might have even made him long for the normal childhood he'd never had.
He shook away the memory as a dog might shake the water from its coat. He needed to be strong right now, and that meant not thinking about the Shadowhunter-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
"Alexander Lightwood is no longer welcome in this apartment," he declared, immediately berating himself for using the Shadowhunter's given name. A chill inched up Isabelle's spine at his words. She had never heard the warlock sound so intense before. From his lips, the message had sounded like a divine proclamation.
"I don't understand," she said slowly. And she didn't, not really. It was true that she'd begun to suspect that the boys' relationship was on the rocks a few weeks ago, but the look that Alec had given Magnus as he'd hovered over him on the battlefield had erased all of the doubt from her mind.
She had seen the understanding and the love that had passed between them as they'd locked hands, fingers intertwined. Isabelle had actually felt the need to withdraw from the intimacy of the scene before her. She knew that her brother would only have offered up his strength to someone that he loved, a list that she suspected was short enough to count using one hand: herself, Jace, maybe their mother, and now Magnus. If Max was still alive, he would undoubtedly have been on there too.
Magnus pinched the bridge of his nose, a gesture that he had picked up at some point during the past century or two. "And what exactly don't you understand?"
"Well, Alec-... I mean, you-" Isabelle, who was usually so strong and self-assured, tripped over her words. "You love him," she accused. "You told me that yourself."
"And what? You love him. He loves you. Case closed." Isabelle waved her hands in the air as if to punctuate her point. Magnus couldn't even be bothered to compliment the girl on her sparkly metallic nail polish at this moment.
"Perhaps you're too young to understand," he said, ignoring the spluttered indignation that arose from Isabelle, "but things are rarely that simple. I loved your brother, yes, but he-" Magnus took a deep breath. "-he betrayed me."
Isabelle raised an eyebrow. "Are we talking about the same Alexander Lightwood? Because the one I know had never even kissed anyone before you arrived in all of your glittering glory."
Under any other circumstances, Magnus might have appreciated the alliteration or wondered at how Isabelle had known that he'd been Alec's first kiss. Now, however, he just scoffed. "I hate to break it to you, Shadowhunter, but your brother isn't perfect."
"No," growled Isabelle, "but he's pretty damn close." It was at times like this when Magnus found it difficult to remember that Alec was actually the older sibling. Isabelle always defended her brother with such an intense ferocity that he couldn't help but respect her for it, misguided as her beliefs might be. This was the reason why he had been so insistent that she come to the apartment last week to comfort Alec. Isabelle would always be able to reach through to Alexander in a way that he, Magnus, couldn't.
The warlock knew better than to try to convince Isabelle to doubt her brother. To be honest he wouldn't have wanted her allegiance anyway. Still, he felt the need to explain himself to her, if only to ensure that Isabelle didn't think that he was a crazy pathological liar. "He was planning on stripping me of my immortality without my permission," he told her seriously, watching the transition of this revelation through her dark eyes. They widened in surprise before collapsing into narrowed distrust.
"I don't believe you," she said. "Alec would never do something like that."
"No," agreed Magnus, "probably not. But there was a moment when he considered it, and I can't forgive that."
An uneasy silence spread through the apartment. It was clear from Magnus's deathly serious tone of voice that this wasn't a trick. And remembering the uneasy look that had been in Alec's eyes when she had last asked him about the warlock, Isabelle could almost see him doing something that idiotic.
Isabelle shifted her weight from one foot to the other, casting around for something to say. Magnus decided he would save her the trouble.
"Look, this is really none of your business," he said tiredly. "So if you don't mind, I'd like to get back to my beauty sleep."
Isabelle bit her lip. "Maybe you're right. But just let me say that I don't think I've ever seen Alec happier than he's been with you." Isabelle paused. "I don't know if that changes anything, but-"
"It doesn't." Magnus was reaching the boundaries of his Shadowhunter tolerance for the day, and it wasn't even noon. God forbid the Clave attempt to contact him later.
"Fine," Isabelle all but spat. "You both need to work out your differences. Whatever. But before you kick me out, can you at least tell me where he went after you last saw him?"
Magnus shrugged. "Who knows? He's probably back at the Institute by now."
"I just came from the Institute," Isabelle retorted. "I know he isn't there."
Magnus scowled. "Well, I don't know what to tell you, my dear. Maybe he's moping around somewhere." Maybe he's out looking for Camille. That was what Magnus really meant, of course, but he couldn't quite bring himself to suggest this aloud. "Perhaps you should spend less time chewing me out and more time actually searching for him."
"Fine." From Isabelle's mouth, the word held all of the viscosity and toxicity of poison. "Thanks for being such a big help."
Magnus's scowl deepened at the heavy sarcasm in her voice. "I already told your brother that I was done helping his ragtag group of Shadowhunters without proper payment. Perhaps he should have been considerate enough to pass along the message."
Isabelle was more hurt by this statement than she thought she'd be. Somewhere along the way, she'd begun to think that Magnus actually wanted her as a future sister-in-law. She pushed her disappointment aside, burying it beneath a scornful laugh. "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize you were so obsessed with money."
"Just get out, Isabelle." There was an implied 'before I make you' to his statement, reinforced by the blue sparks that crackled across the pads of his fingers.
Isabelle didn't bother to say a proper goodbye to the warlock. Instead, she jutted out her chin and strode proudly to the door, almost ripping it straight off of its hinges in her anger. She would show this Downworlder who was better than whom. Each tap of her stilettos against the hardwood floor was like a nail being driven into a coffin.
"Oh," added Magnus, leaning against the doorframe and raising his voice so that she could hear him over the click-clacking of her heels, "and if you find Alec, tell him to give me back my damn key!"
Chairman Meow was wailing mournfully by the time Magnus had retreated to the couch. Magnus shot his cat the most fearsome of glares, but it seemed to bounce right off of his fur. It was a shame that cats couldn't be intimidated into silence.
"And what, might I ask, is your problem?" he asked with irritation. "Don't tell me that you're siding with the Shadowhunters."
Magnus narrowed his eyes, causing his slit-like pupils to contract even farther. "Fine. Do whatever you want. See if I care." He stormed off toward the master bedroom, ignoring the fact that he was acting like a complete drama queen. "And good luck finding food on your own," he added before slamming the door shut behind him.
Chairman Meow merely tilted his head.
Magnus flung himself onto the bed, not particularly caring about the childishness of such a gesture. It seemed as if the young Shadowhunters' immaturity was beginning to rub off on him, like an infectious disease. Magnus wrinkled his nose as if suddenly struck with an illness.
How dare that girl try to lecture him on his relationship? She might be Alexander's sister, but that didn't make it any of her business. And for her to have had the nerve to appear on his doorstep at the crack of dawn in order to bitch at him-!
He punched a pillow. Somehow, it didn't quite have the desired effect.
What had Isabelle said again? Thanks for being such a big help. As if he had never done anything for her - for all of them - before. He had laid his life and his reputation on the line over and over again for Alec's sake, and often without as much as a simple thank-you in return. So what if he didn't feel like engaging in a game of Where's Alec? As far as he was concerned, he no longer had anything to do with Alexander. That part of his life would be closed for good the moment that his key was returned.
Magnus snorted. He still thought that Isabelle was wasting her time by worrying about her older brother. The poor boy had just suffered through the trauma of his first breakup. He was probably sobbing in a dark corner of a coffee shop somewhere, nursing a latte and wondering where exactly his life had gone wrong. These sorts of scenarios always played out in the same way, and Magnus had about eight hundred years of experience to support that theory.
Alexander might have seemed mature for his age in some respects, especially when he was wielding a bow and arrow or charging into battle, but when it came to relationships he had always been tragically clueless. It was a bit pathetic, actually, now that Magnus thought about it. The boy had been as needy as a newborn, requiring Magnus's constant love and devotion, and still that hadn't been enough to make him open up. Magnus felt that he had been more babysitter than boyfriend to the helpless Shadowhunter. It had been really irritating, actually. He'd had enough on his plate without having to deal with Alec's ongoing problems.
It was obvious that the kid had serious trust issues, especially considering that he had never been in a real relationship before Magnus. While Magnus had once found it adorable (and a bit sexy) that he had been Alec's first kiss, now it just seemed pathetic. It was really no wonder that the blushing virgin hadn't seen any previous action, though, considering how hung up he had been on his brother when Magnus had first met him. Talk about fucked up. Even Magnus, who had been with just about anything and everything under the sun, set boundaries somewhere.
Then again, thought Magnus savagely, they say that beggars can't be choosers.
Even Jace (who, now that Magnus thought about it, really had been better looking than Alec) hadn't wanted his parabatai in that way. Magnus still remembered how Alec had used to resemble a kicked puppy whenever Jace and Clary were in the room together. It had been so ridiculously obvious that the boy had a crush on his adoptive brother, and yet Jace had never spared him a second glance. The situation was so pitiable that it made Magnus laugh.
And laugh he did, a loud barking sort of laughter that shot off the walls of the loft and caused the windows to shake within their frames.
All things considered, Magnus shouldn't have been surprised that the boy had turned out to be such a complete basket case. His own brother didn't even like him. And his parents were so disgusted with his homosexuality that they wouldn't even look at him, let alone show him any sort of affection.
Magnus's face twisted into a cruel smile, his cat eyes shining with malice.
He bet that Robert and Maryse were secretly disappointed that their youngest child had died before their eldest. After all, he scoffed, out of all the Lightwood children Alec was undoubtedly the most expendable. He was weaker than Isabelle and Jace, he was moodier than poor Max had been, and he would never be able to provide his parents with grandchildren. He was of no consequence. He was nothing.
He was trivial.
There was a sudden flash of red light as every glass surface in the apartment shattered into a million pieces. Jagged shards of the mirror from Magnus's vanity were sent careening across the bedroom in the explosion, only a hair's breadth away from cutting the warlock to ribbons.
Magnus hunched over in his bed, breathing heavily. He felt as if he had just taken on a whole army of Greater Demons singlehandedly. His heart was beating at more than twice its usual speed, probably racing faster even than a human heart.
The lights had blown out in the sudden magical surge, but Magnus's body was still glowing with an aura of uncontrollable magic. The entire room felt charged and unstable, as if Magnus's sudden outburst had thrown the world out of alignment.
He felt suddenly ill. It was as if all of the anger and disappointment and hurt that he had been feeling since receiving Camille's letter had suddenly erupted to the surface of his consciousness. Magnus wasn't sure if he'd realized just how upset he'd been before now. It certainly wasn't atrivial matter, considering that his anger had been powerful enough to blow out the windows of his apartment.
He flicked a few stray shards of glass off of his bed before collapsing against the sheets. Screwing his eyes shut, he began to chant phrases under his breath in Latin. It wasn't actually a spell, but an old meditation trick that had been taught to him by a group of Cistercian monks some centuries ago.
Even after chanting for several minutes, his head didn't feel any clearer.
Magnus wasn't proud of the nasty turn that his thoughts had taken over the past hour. He was well aware that it had been his negative energy which caused the mini apocalypse inside of his loft. Still, no one could exactly blame him for being upset. What Alexander had done to him was unforgiveable. The little Shadowhunter should thank his stupid Angel that Magnus hadn't been out for blood, or there was little doubt that he'd be dead.
Still, Magnus regretted what he had thought about Alec's family. It had been unnecessarily cruel for him to drag Max into this, or any other of Alexander's relatives for that matter. It was true that Alec had hurt him, yes, but that didn't make the boy a monster. Unlike Sebastian, the young boy was still very much loved by his family and friends.
It wasn't exactly fair to call Alexander trivial either. After all, the pretty Shadowhunter had attracted Magnus's attention and had even managed to hold it for a significant span of time. Hell, Magnus had even entertained the idea that Alec was The One. He wouldn't have done that if Alec hadn't been at least somewhat special.
Despite Magnus's current resentment, he couldn't lie to himself and pretend that Alec wasn't worth anyone's time. Because Alec had been worth it - every damn second of it - up until the moment when he had decided to strike a deal with Camille.
And fine, amended Magnus, his anger slowly ebbing away into the dull ache of loneliness which he knew only too well, perhaps it is slightly adorable that Alec had never been kissed before. But only slightly. And, he added righteously, that doesn't change the fact that the boy is a heartless bastard.
Magnus heaved a sigh, knowing suddenly what he had to do. He might have broken up with Alec, but that didn't mean that he could just flip off all of his feelings with a snap of his fingers. Far from popular belief, love was not a form of magic. It didn't work like that.
Isabelle had been stalking through Brooklyn for the past half-hour, phone in hand. She had contacted almost everyone in her phone (an impressive feat, considering that her contacts list was roughly the equivalent size of an actual phonebook), but none of them had heard from Alec in the past twenty-four hours.
Tears pricked behind her eyes, threatening to spill onto her cheeks. Isabelle bit down on her lip hard. She didn't have the time or energy to waste crying. Alec was out there somewhere, hurt either physically or emotionally or both, and he needed her help.
The phone in her hand began vibrating, and to Isabelle it felt as if the Earth was suddenly splitting open. Hope flared inside of her before she had the chance to quell it. This was it. This would be the lead she needed. She flipped the phone open and blanched.
To be honest, she would've found a text message from Sebastian to be less of a shock at this particular point in time
FROM: MAGNUS BANE
She smiled grimly. It seemed as if Magnus wasn't quite as ready to throw them all out of his life as he'd thought.
The last time I saw him was yesterday before 11am. The old City Hall subway station. He was going to meet with Camille. I'm hoping you know who that is.
Isabelle bit her lip. She did know who Camille was, of course. Simon and Alec's anecdotes had painted a fairly clear picture of the woman in her mind. Still, knowing didn't make Isabelle feel any less uneasy. If anything, she was now more desperate to find Alec than before.
She flinched as her phone began vibrating again.
FROM: MAGNUS BANE
BTW, don't think that this changes anything.
Alec awoke in a cold sweat, and instantly wished that he hadn't awoken at all. He was shivering from head to toe, due in large part to the fact that his cheek was pressed against a cold stone floor. The jacket that he had been wearing when he'd gone to see Camille had been removed, as had the faded long-sleeved shirt that had been under it.
He winced as a light suddenly switched on. The bare bulb hung dangerously from a fraying cord on the other side of the room, an electrician's worst nightmare come true. The light cast long shadows across the floor, the bars behind which Alec had been imprisoned stretching out toward him like spindly fingers. He tried to drag his leg out of the reach of these shadows, but couldn't muster up the strength. His entire body felt numb, as if he had been plunged into freezing waters.
His thoughts travelled to the moment when he had been thrown off of Valentine's boat and plunged into the icy depths of the East River. Alec had tried to kick out, but his limbs had suddenly stopped working, every nerve ending in his body having gone into automatic lockdown. He had been so sure that he would die, but then Magnus had dragged him out of the water and forced life back into his body.
But Magnus wouldn't save him now. Alec wasn't even sure if he wanted to be saved this time.
He lifted his head off of the ground at the sound of echoing footsteps in the hallway. Squinting into the light, Alec was just able to distinguish a small figure on the other side of the room. Illuminated as the creature was from behind, Alec could almost imagine that he was receiving a visit from a divine being. Maureen, however, was anything but an Angel.
"Dinnertime," she said pleasantly, for a moment sounding like the fourteen year-old girl she resembled.
Alec's ears perked at the announcement. When had he last eaten? It must have been before he'd left the Institute to visit Magnus, but he wasn't exactly sure how long ago that had been. How long had he been trapped inside of this prison anyway?
He was dragged out of his reverie by Maureen's cold, high-pitched laughter.
"Oh no, little Shadowhunter! I think you misunderstood. I didn't mean dinner for you." Maureen grinned, her fangs flashing in the semi-darkness. "No, I meant dinner for me."
What do you get when you mix an eight hundred year old warlock and a breakup? One bitter old man, apparently. I feel like Magnus would definitely be the type of person to use anger as a coping mechanism, though. Either that or he'd throw a few sexy parties and have a Faerie/Vampire orgy... But let's not go there, shall we? ;)
I'm sorry that it took me so long to update. I was originally going to end this chapter with Magnus's text, but I felt that I couldn't deprive us of Alec's presence any longer. I hope that the update wasn't a complete letdown! I'm regrettably still a bit rusty at writing fanfiction (or anything for that matter). Constructive criticism is not necessary, but always welcome!
By the way, I'm sorry to hear that so many of you, like me, are still hurting over the breakup. Let's try to get through this together, shall we? As Cassandra Clare said, there is always hope!