DISCLAIMER: ALL CHARACTERS, THEMES AND SETTINGS USED IN THIS STORY BELONG TO CASSANDRA CLARE, THE TRUE CREATOR AND OWNER OF THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS AND INFERNAL DEVICES SERIES. I OWN NOTHING THAT YOU RECOGNISE.

Alec Lightwood was getting kind of bored. Ever since he'd walked into Jace's room (since Jace and Will were now banned from any excursions outside the Herondale residence, Jace had decreed that his room be their new centre of operations instead of Alec's favorite coffee place, Taki's) his best friend hadn't stopped complaining about how 'cruel and unusual' the punishments his grandmother meted out were. Even though Alec was sympathetic, he was actually of the opinion that Jace and Will had brought this onto themselves. After all, it was their own unruly behavior that had landed them in Imogene's bad books.

"Alec, you're supposed to be consoling me here. Don't you think you should be a little more supportive? You're my best friend!"

"Am I?" Alec asked absentmindedly as he examined a spot on Jace's bedside table.

"Are you what?" Jace snapped impatiently.

"Am I your best friend?"

"Well, of course you are! What kind of question is that?" Jace responded, sitting up indignantly.

Alec sneaked a look at Jace from the corner of his eye while still pretending to be distracted, "Do you think I'm a bad influence on you?"

"Are you crazy? You're the most goody-two-shoes teenager I know. You're always being responsible and doing the right- and boring, mind you- thing. You're like a shining beacon, the paragon of model behavior."

"Um-hmm, and do I normally encourage rude behavior on your part?"

There was silence in the room for a moment. Alec was experienced enough to duck the pillow that Jace threw his way. "You sneaky little bastard! I can't believe you're trying to lecture me too. I've got enough from my grandmother, thank you very much. I don't need more from my best friend!"

Alec turned a serious gaze on Jace, "And what kind of a best friend would I be if I didn't point out your obnoxious behavior once in a while and keep you from turning into a grade 'A' jerk? I wouldn't be worth very much as a friend if every single time you did something wrong all I did was egg you on."

"Okay, fair enough," Jace muttered rather shamefacedly, but Alec barely noticed. "You know you were out of order at Magnus' house. And to not even apologize after all the damage you two did. That was reprehensible."

"Alright, I get it already!" Jace yelled. "I was wrong. Imogene was right to punish me. I'm sorry. Now will you stop with the lecture and cheer me up a bit?"

Alec said nothing.

"Oh, come on," Jace pouted, sticking his face right up aloes to Alec. "Look at this face. It's so fricking sad and adorable. How can you resist such a cute face?"

It was such a ridiculous expression that Alec found himself cracking a smile against his will.

"There it is," Jace said in a satisfied tone as he leaned backwards. "And I did apologize, just so you know. Imogene made us call Bane and do it with her practically standing on our necks. Do you know how hard it is to be charming when Imogene Herondale is standing next to you with her 'judge-y' face on? Oh, who am I kidding? I'm Jace Herondale! It was easy! I turned on the charm without any trouble."

"And Magnus forgave you, just like that?" Alec asked skeptically.

A shadow passed over Jace's face. "We offered to pay him back, so that he could repair the damage or whatever. Imogene wouldn't give us the money, and she wouldn't let Stephen and Edmund float us any either but I'm sure we could have thought of something. But Bane said he didn't want the money."

"And that's it? End of story?"

An unsatisfied groan was the beginning an answer, "He demanded us to go over and DIY all the repairs. Most of it was superficial damage, anyway. A few smashed light fixtures, a couple of crashed side tables, and some scratches in the wallpaper. If you ask me, Bane is squeezing this for all it's worth. I'll bet you anything he's trying to get me and Will to do free renovations on his house."

"So you said no?"

"I wish! Imogene thought it would be a good idea. She said something about learning the consequences of our actions and making amends? Now 'Extreme Home Makeover' is added on to my load of punishments. I swear, I'm feeling pretty exploited right now."

"You poor boy," Alec said mockingly as he tried to stifle his laughter at Jace's faux beaten down demeanor. "You've learned a tough lesson, haven't you?"

"Yeah," Jace muttered and screamed into his pillow. "Never trust a Downworlder!" He looked up, batting his eyelashes at Alec. "I don't suppose I could count on you to come with me when I go to Bane's place?"

"Sure," Alec murmured with a non-committal shrugging of his shoulders. Idly, he wondered if Chairman Meow would recognize him. It would be nice to see the little fur ball again. And see Magnus too of course. They hadn't exactly had a chance to finish their conversation last time, after all.

"Let me get this straight," Magnus said, obviously trying not to laugh. "You brought your cat on vacation with you and he commandeered most of your bed?"

"He was a large cat and it was a narrow bunk, AND he was lying right in the center of it!" Alec answered lamely. "Okay, so maybe I could have moved him but you should have seen the expression on his face. It was completely 'don't you dare, minion'. If I'd tried it, I'd probably have lost an entire layer off the top of my hand. So I just had to perfect the art of sleeping ramrod straight with my hands folded on my chest like a corpse."

"…waiting for true love's first kiss…"

"What was that?"

"Nothing, Alexander. I was just musing about the sleeping habits of animated royals."

Alec stared at the other boy, "You're not making a lot of sense."

"Oh, I usually don't. But it keeps things interesting." Magnus flashed a teasing smile and Alec was suddenly struck by a feeling that he was missing something in their conversation. Just as Magnus seemed about to say something else, the door to his room opened and someone came in.

The new guy wasn't dressed as outlandishly as Magnus had been but he certainly looked just as strange. His most striking feature was his hair which, as far as Alec could see, was completely white in color. He was also wearing a harried expression that Alec was pretty sure he had seen before. An uneasy feeling started in the pit of his stomach.

"Ragnor? What is it?" Magnus asked curiously as he stared up at the other boy.

Ragnor's gaze swept over Alec for a moment then turned back to Magnus. When he spoke, his words were clipped and irritated-sounding, "'Kawan-kawan' kamu sedang menghancurkan rumah aku. Selesaikannya. Sekarang juga." With that, he turned and left the room.

"Um, is something wrong?" Alec asked nervously.

Magnus shrugged, "It seems someone is having a little too much fun. The party is getting a little too rowdy- at the expense of the furniture. Sorry, Alexander, I need to settle this. Maybe we could continue our conversation some other time?"

"I'll come with you," Alec burst out and then under Magnus' questioning gaze answered, "I have a terrible but probably accurate feeling that I'll find Jace wherever the trouble is."

And he had been right. Jace and Will had been the source of the trouble. Alec could hardly look at Magnus with the residual guilt he was feeling after the destruction Jace had done to his new friend's house. Sure, he wasn't expressly responsible for Jace's actions but after so mnay years of trying to keep his best friend in line, Alec felt that any messes created by Jace were starting to represent failure on his part.

"Hey Alec, if you're done spacing out, I'm ready to start kicking your ass at this game," Jace called from the floor where he was setting up his gaming system. "You really suck at this game. Your kill count is practically zero and you've never even taken out a single demon in all the time we've been playing."

"Maybe it's because I'm too busy watching your back, you reckless fool. You'd be dead a thousand times over if I didn't clear out the surroundings while you focused on the 'big bad'," Alec quipped back. Jace stared at him. It was rare that Alec had a comeback for anything that came out of Jace's mouth but when his brain did start working, it supplied him with a number of gems.

"Okay," Jace laughed. "Let's see if you have the moves to back up that attitude."

Alec shrugged and took the controller that Jace handed to him. The upshot to Jace being grounded was at least he had a break from trying to keep his best friend out of trouble in real life. Saving his butt in video games would be laborious enough for Alec.


Author's Note: Ragnor said, "Your 'friends' are destroying my house. Fix it. Right now."