IF WE MAKE IT THROUGH THE NIGHT
Notes: Just wanted to express mt wholehearted thanks to everyone who reviewed/favourited/alerted this story. I have never seen so many alerts in my e-mail inbox! It made me so so happy, I can't tell you how amazing I felt after seeing that! I also want to express my utmost thanks to my dear BETA Dem~ Dunno what I'd do without youuuu! So without further ado, I hope you enjoy chapter 2!
Italics: Quotes from Cassandra's work
DISCLAIMER: I don't own anything but the plot.
CHAPTER 2: EMPTY INSIDE
He was going to kill Camille - anything to distract him from that image of Magnus walking away"
Alec dropped his weapons belt down onto the cool metal of the table settled in the centre of the Weapons Room, sighing as it made several satisfying clunks and chinks as the various blades hanging from it collided with the cool table top. He reached up to his shoulder and quickly unfastened the thick silver buckle on the strap to his quiver then placed it down onto the table beside the belt. The remaining arrows inside it rattled and slid out onto the table, revealing their sleek black shafts. He watched them shaking his head and pushed them back inside before raking a dirty hand through his windswept hair. He grimaced lightly at the feel of it. It was stringy and matted - full of blood, dirt and demon ichor and not to mention sticking to his scalp and the back of his neck with sweat.
He was in desperate need of a shower. A long and hot one at that. He stepped briskly out of the Weapons Room and glided up the stairs to his bedroom where he closed the door, locked it and proceeded to yank off his mud-caked boots. He was just so dirty it made him grimace and wonder how Isabelle always managed to come away from a fight with perfect hair and make-up: a smudge of ichor on her arm and nought else to tell that she had been in a fight. "I'm pure at heart. It repels the dirt." She always says.
He left his boots by the door and peeled off his sticky, sweaty gear then discarded it in a pile at the end of his bed before trailing over to the en-suite bathroom in his boxer shorts. He switched on the shower and took a glance at himself in the mirror above the sink.
He almost didn't recognise himself. His eyes were a deep midnight blue, like the sky at twilight, and they were set into a face that had hardened and become much more serious and strained over the past week. Days old stubble was growing along his chin and under his nose and that too was dirty. Heavy dark circles sank themselves deep into his skin and the layer of dirt from his most recent outing only served to make them look darker. Blood and demon ichor streaked across his cheeks and a long dribble of darkened dried blood had made its way down his chest. His marks stood out on the pale skin of his chest where the mud hadn't been caked on and pale red indentations stood out along his arms, shoulders and legs where the straps of his weapon belts had dug into his skin. He looked older, he thought, like his father. He shook his head and stripped his lower body of his undergarments then stepped under the hot spray of the shower.
He sighed and felt his body relax; deflating the tension in his muscles and back. He stood for a moment underneath the steam and water before grabbing the bottle of shampoo on a small shelf attached to the shower wall. His eyes shut to protect them from the water; his hands ran on automatic. They flicked the container's cap open and poured a good handful of the cool gel onto his palm then flicked it shut; pressing it against the wall to make sure it was closed fully, and dropped it onto the floor. He quickly started to rub the stuff into his hair and under the steam it blossomed into thick white bubbles with the heavy scent of sandalwood.
He stopped and dropped his hands, sighing.
He opened his eyes and rubbed soap suds from them then looked down at the bottle. He had asked Isabelle to stop buying that for him and to find a more subtle smell for him instead, but she must have forgotten this week. The aroma floated around him in the clouds of steam and curled up and around his hands. He saw the flavoured suds from his hair running down his body in rivulets and closed his eyes again, tipping his head back and plunging them into the cascading water. He rinsed out the suds and dirt and washed his body thoroughly with a regular bar of plain scentless soap before stepping out and towelling himself dry. He wrapped the towel around his waist, quickly brushed his teeth and shaved off the stubble.
When he was finished he padded into his bedroom and picked up a set of old holey, faded jeans and pulled them on. He attacked his hair with the towel then threw it onto a chair and lay down on his bed with another heavy sigh.
The shower had been needed but in the end he wished he hadn't. Sandalwood. Who would have thought that the smallest little thing could bring back memories so vivid that it could have brought tears to his eyes? He refused though - refused to cry. He had been refusing ever since the incident in the alley.
He had found it easiest to keep himself busy and to keep his mind occupied with another strong thought. For the past week he had been doing that and had surprised both Jace and Izzy when he had accepted every single call to demonic suspicion in the area. He had even been going on his own when Izzy hadn't been around to help him. Jace had been banned from such physical activity for a while now on the grounds that he was still recovering.
He was even surpassing Jace in some grounds. The reason for that was simple though. He was doing everything he could to concentrate entirely on the battles.
That very night a huge, grotesque Behemoth Demon had fallen victim to Alec's attempt to forget the sparkling cloud of yellow-green eyes that floated through both his conscious and unconscious mind. It had taken a very long time, but he had done it eventually. Breaking down the demon had taken skill, strength and stamina and not to mention the very utmost attention and concentration. He hadn't been able to use a seraph blade during the encounter, so he had relished the chance to use his more effective bow and arrows and his feather staff.
When the demon had been reduced to a puddle of oozing green slime, Alec's muscles had been tempted to do the same but he had dragged himself home with the much greater temptation of a warm shower.
Now he just needed to sleep. His body begged for it, as did his head with a pounding headache, but sleep simply refused to come.
Instead the sensation of curling up beside a warm, slim, glittery body flooded over him and he almost found himself rolling over to attempt to do so. He set his jaw and gripped his fists instead; willing himself to lie flat on his back.
There was nothing in his bed to roll over for after all.
He sighed and firmly closed his eyes, chanting softly to himself, "Sleep. Go to sleep Alec. Sleep." Over and over, but as soon as he felt relaxed enough to actually fall into a doze, he would catch the scent of sandalwood creeping up off his chest and once again that magnificent face would fade into the back of his mind like an infection.
He finally gave up.
He sat up and got out of bed.
On his way out of the room he picked up a simple t-shirt and yanked it over his head as he padded through the institute's silent corridors toward the training room, his eyes black in the dark and reflecting glints of silver from the witchlight that flickered from their posts on the walls.
He pushed open the door of the training room and went straight over to the simple old punching bag hanging dismally in the corner. He gripped a fist and sank it deep into the bag. A puff of sand and dust exploded from the top and it swung away from him. He waited for it to return then punched it again. Then again. He pummelled the bag, gritting his teeth and turning his face red with the effort.
It wouldn't work. Every punch brought back images more fluid and vibrant than the last. He needed noise, strategy, to think. Then he would be distracted.
Voices began to appear in his mind. The mocking purr of Magnus' voice and the hoarse kind he used during and after intimate moments. He couldn't take it. His hand went through the bag with a fierce roar escaping Alec's mouth. He didn't stop.
Sand poured out of the bag and the ripped material flapped and smacked other pieces, making a bizarre sound, but it was what he wanted. It was noise. He felt sweat drip from his nose and was hit with another wave of memories even more intimate than before and it sent him over the edge.
He punched the bag with such force it snapped off the chain and hit the wall, splitting open and spilling its contents out onto the hardwood floor. He stood tense, watching it as he panted heavily. His hands quivered at his sides and he could feel his hair sticking to his neck and forehead.
"Whatever the punch bag said to you, I want to know so you won't do that to me." Alec dropped his head, his shoulders losing a fraction of the tension.
"Jace, what are you doing here?" he asked between pants. Said blonde boy walked slowly over to him. A slight limp was visible in his step, but only to those that knew how he walked normally; otherwise it just made him slightly more vulnerable in appearance. "You're not supposed to be awake at this time."
"You were the one that woke me up. It sounded like a bunch of demons had got in." he said, folding his arms and looking over at Alec. The older boy's cheek bones tinted red.
"Guess I got carried away. I'm going now. Up to bed, you should get back to bed too."
"Not until you tell me what's happened between you and Magnus." Alec's head shot to him and he looked at him with wide eyes. Jace's lips curved softly into a smirk "Don't look at me like that. It's obvious. Magnus hasn't been answering any calls from the clave for the past week and you've been sneaking off by yourself every night, returning like you've spent the night rolling in the mud with a Drevak demon. Now I know that you and Magnus aren't into that sort of stuff, so tell me what's happened." He leaned back against the wall behind him, next to the deflated punch bag.
Alec's eyes softened slightly and his shoulders lost their tension as he sat down on the floor. He looped his arms around his knees and looked over at the pile of sand. "We... broke up a week ago," he told him softly, "because we can't trust each other... we don't tell each other anything anymore." Jace's expression fell and he slowly squatted to Alec's height.
"Why didn't you tell me sooner?" he asked.
"I didn't want reminding. I... guess I just wanted to forget him as soon as possible and return to normal."
"But you can't." Alec shook his head.
"Everything brings him back. If I'm not focused on something else I just... lose it..." he looked at Jace and a lopsided smirk briefly touched his lips, "take it out on punching bags."
Jace laughed. It wasn't hollow or scornful; it was warm and to Alec it was reassuring and it filled his heart with a comforting gesture. He couldn't help but smile at Jace and felt something tickle his cheek. He reached up and wiped it, his hand coming away wet. Damnit. He hadn't wanted to cry. But they wouldn't stop now, no matter how hard he rubbed his eyes. He saw Jace shaking his head and for a second he thought that Jace would think he was pathetic for crying like he was.
Instead his brother came over and hugged him tightly. Alec relaxed into it and closed his eyes, hugging him back.
"If you ever need to talk, just come and ask Alec. I'm there for you." he said calmly. Alec nodded.
Word Count: 2077
To Reviewers without an account:
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Love Loki xxx