In my many years I have known many Shadowhunters. Some of my earliest memories are of adolescence in the Silent City. I grew up around them. As much as I've tried to keep out of their affairs since then it would seem that my life is destined to entwine with the lives of the Nephilim. So I can say with absolute honesty that I know more than my fair share about their race.
Being with Alexander, though, certainly made me hyperaware of the danger the Nephilim put themselves in. I'd always known but it didn't resonate with me until I found myself dating a warrior. Every night he took too long to contact me after a patrol was terrifying. He could handle himself. I knew that. However we both knew that there was only so much he could do to against raging daemons. With his life on the line so often Alec devoted a large portion of his time to training.
He wasn't like Jace. Jace took obsession with training to whole new, unhealthy levels. It didn't mean that Alec didn't love it. Whenever I picked him up from sparing he was in a great mood despite being completely worn out.
That bright, happy young man was who I expected when the door to the Institute opened. Instead I was met with a particularly pissy Isabelle decked out in tight workout gear.
"He isn't done yet." She snapped. If her eyes were weapons she would have killed me with them. How I'd earned the eye-assault was a mystery. I held up my hands in a mock sign of surrender.
"I can wait?" I offered cautiously. Even I wasn't certain if I was telling the girl or asking her permission.
"You'd better." Isabelle grumbled back at me before she turned on her bare heel to go back inside. She left the entry open so I followed after I closed the heavy wooden door. It was the kind of bulky woodwork one would expect in a church or a castle. Nostalgic. Just like the antique metal elevator which rattled when it moved.
"He was supposed to be doing target practice with me today. But no," Isabelle ranted over the noisy clangs. I'd be lying if I said I was paying more attention to her voice than the scenery. So much old architecture made up the Institute. It was always a surreal feeling to see something old which you knew when it was young. "I got there and he was fighting Jace like usual. He's not going anywhere until we've had our session."
I smiled tolerantly and gave her a nod. Alexander could have given me warning if he had things to be doing. I could have been doing important things too. Like finding a better outfit or feeding the cat. Still, Izzy was being kind of adorable about it. If you subtracted the fact that she was dangerous and trained to kill from the bad mood she was in.
When she was walking in front of me I saw that she had styled her hair into long plaits curled up onto the back of her head like a cluster of ropes. They were braided and thin as her whip like a dark version of the electrum weapon she loved so much. She was all about the weaponry that day. She even kicked the door open.
"Alec! Your boyfriend is here!" She called in an agitated voice and stormed off to one corner of the room.
I'd barely stepped inside before a projectile body, which I realised with a pang of concern was in fact my Alexander, landed at my feet. The boy winced on impact, he spluttered where he was winded. Then he laughed.
"Hey Magnus!" He grinned up at me with his blue eyes mirthful. He was hauled up from the floor by Jace who he thanked before he turned back to me. He was still grinning when he kissed my cheek and I caught the smile like an infection.
It was still a surprise whenever Alec would decide to initiate a kiss or an act of PDA. Everybody knew about us but he could still be... Unsure. Verging on shy. More like self-conscious. I ran a quick hand through his messy hair before he pulled away. It was moist and I very nearly regretted the decision, wiping my hand on my jeans and trying to be casual about it. I felt kind of bad when picked up on my being a little grossed out.
"Sorry," he said sheepishly, "let me go shower and we can head out."
I had to wait with my mouth open until Isabelle had yelled an outraged 'No!' before I could speak.
"Isabelle would like you to honour your promise of target practice." I sighed and rubbed my temples. Sometimes it was easy to forget I was dealing with kids until one of them started to throw a tantrum. Alec looked at his glaring sister but it was Jace who spoke next.
"Is that why you're so moody? By the Angel Isabelle you nearly hit us with a chakram!" He yelled and threw his hands in the air.
"The 'nearly' is why I need the practice." She huffed back. Alec was shaking his head, not the least bit alarmed while I to grips with the fact that Izzy apparently hadn't told them why she was mad. That's women for you though. I can't count the amount of times I've had some female or another inexplicably angry with me. Sometimes it's just easier to give in.
Isabelle was holding Alexander's bow to him as if she was daring him not to take it. Blue eyes gave me a glance somewhere between pleading and apology.
"I can wait; you know I love to watch you shoot off." I told him and strolled over to the nearest bench nonchalantly. I resisted the urge to look at his face while the double meaning clicked. Jace made a gagging sound.
"We don't need to hear about that." He groaned.
"He's talking about arrows, Jace. Grow up." Alec said. I smirked a little. His expression proved he hadn't been thinking any differently to his brother.
Before I could sit down Jace piped up again. I paused stiffly while he complained. "I'm not sure I'm cool with some guy just sat there oggling."
I twirled to see his sideways look and rolled my eyes at him.
"Get over yourself; I'm only 'oggling' Alec." I informed Jace flatly. He was nowhere near fabulous enough to think so highly of himself.
"It's not just me," he continued, "you swing all over the place right? Izzy's like the female Alec."
When he'd finished Jace looked rather pleased with himself. The other two Lightwoods looked completely horrified with the idea of being compared that way. They stopped unloading arrows from a cupboard to face the conversation which was now heating up.
We stood close now, the Shadowhunter had to tilt his head up to look me in the eye but he didn't appear the least bit intimidated. He looked more amused to have gotten a reaction. I snarled.
"I don't leer over every living creature you know."
"Well, not the mermaids..." Jace sniggered. Even for him that was a bit of a shocking statement. Oddly enough my fist clenched. Usually my go-to reaction was magic. My fingers would splay and spark blue. Maybe if I'd done that he wouldn't have noticed that I wanted to hit him and I wouldn't have been roped into sparring.
I had to snap workout clothes to the Institute because of the short notice. While I thought back I couldn't quite pinpoint the last time I'd found myself in genuine hand to hand combat. Normal to me was using magic in a conflict. That was long range, semi-long range at least. It took a toll on my energy level and could leave me with an aching body if I overexerted myself but it didn't involve a whole lot of running or dodging or force. So yes; I was very much out of my comfort zone. There were other people in the room though, my boyfriend for one, so I was determined to beat the annoying blonde.
When I walked in I looked over to Alec. He was adjusting his sister's stance as she held a bow in her hands formidably. He looked over his shoulder at me with another of his smiles. There was something in the way he looked at me. Some kind of appreciation; some kind of pride. He looked happy to have me there.
Then my head slammed into the floor.
I blinked. Once. Twice. My vision was clouded by surprise even as I sat up to look at Jace. He's already stood up from the savage tackling. I heard a chuckle and was quite prepared to zap the blonde for laughing. Until I realised that the sound was coming from Alec.
"He's not going to go easy you know." He grinned.
I figured he was a sadist and wondered how I hadn't noticed that in him before.
He turned away when Isabelle shot an arrow straight into the centre of the target. He looked astounded at first before he grit his teeth and set forth to prove he was the better shot. The siblings took rapid turns until instead of hitting the marked centre of the target their arrows bounced off the bundle already occupying the space.
Alec looked amazing. Focused. Grown-up. He was obviously in his element. Although I couldn't see much difference between where each arrow landed, my boyfriend's growing grin and Isabelle's angry eyes told me that Alec was winning. Easily. And I faced Jace with newfound determination.
This time I got a wooden pole thrown at me. A long staff much like a broom handle. Jace held a similar one and span it effortlessly between his fingers as if it were the size of a baton. I thrust my pole into the blur created and stopped the spinning but not his grin.
"You're better long range right? It would be nice if you were a little challenging." Jace smirked and easily dodged my blow to his side. Memory of learning to use that kind of weapon tugged at the edge of my mind but I couldn't quite place when I'd learned about it. Or what I had learned. I was just glad I remembered not to hold the stick like a sword. The balance would have been all wrong.
We battled back and forth. I held my own for all of ten minutes before Jace had me backed up against the wall. His staff was pressing into my throat. He wasn't using enough pressure to choke me but it was enough to prove that he could have choked me.
"You are not good at this." He taunted, looking off to the side. "Don't you teach him anything Alec?"
Taking advantage of the way he was looking elsewhere I managed to twist the weapon from Jace's hands and strike him in the stomach with it. I felt pretty satisfied when he doubled over and coughed. I didn't care that his reaction was more surprise than pain. It was just nice to have gotten a solid hit in.
"Maybe he doesn't need teaching?" Alec murmured absently. He was now pulling arrows out of the target and handing them to Izzy. Jace wasn't even listening to him. I heard though. I couldn't help my lips quirking up again.
That was when Clary walked in, looking small in the entryway to the big room. Her red hair was scraped back into a ponytail and the T-shirt she wore was at least two sizes big on her. She looked more like a little girl pretending to be a Shadowhunter at that moment. If I thought that looking at Clary, I dreaded to think what I looked like.
Blondie veered off to talk to her and Isabelle dropped what she was doing too. The arrows that she was holding clattered to the floor. She probably expected her brother to pick them up. Instead he stepped over them and came to talk to me while she whined some more and hit Jace none-too-lightly in the arm for some reason. At that point I was convinced any reason to hit Jace was a good one, though. I rubbed my neck where it hurt a little.
"He fights like it's serious." I complained when Alec was in earshot. His calloused hand wrapped around mine and pulled it away so he could inspect my neck. The others always said that he was the one looking out for them; I wondered how much of his life he'd spent checking his siblings for injury. Even the minor ones.
"It's serious to him." He said distractedly. I frowned. His thoughts seemed to be elsewhere. "Don't worry, there's no mark."
"Well, Shadowhunter, give me some tips. How do I beat Jace?" I questioned jokingly and leant against the wall. It was cool against my heated skin and I couldn't help but close my eyes and relax into it. Warlocks have unusually warm body temperature, apparently. Obviously to me everybody else just feels cooler.
"You don't." Alec said. "I never do, anyway. And I'm in shape."
I felt my own nose crease up and jabbed a finger into his side for suggesting that I wasn't in shape. I'm no fighter but I've never had an unfit build. I felt offended and sighed.
"If it's so hopeless I think I'll call it a day, Darling-"
I think that we were both taken aback by the way Alexander had blurted the word out. The two of us spared a glance to the other three in the room but they either hadn't noticed or were pretending that they didn't. I raised an eyebrow at the young Nephilim.
"No?" I prompted when he failed to explain.
"I don't know. I like it when you get involved in the Shadowhunter stuff..." Alec said, with his eyes drifting off to look anywhere but at me. "I guess it's pretty hot."
It was hard not to snigger. Not because what he said was funny but because Alec had the bluntest way of saying anything I didn't expect him to say. He grimaced and looked away again when he saw how I smirked.
"Is that so?"
"Shut up." He growled. I kissed him this time, pulling him close to me. Suddenly it didn't matter that he'd been working up a sweat all morning. He made a surprised noise in his throat before melting into it the way he usually does. He was pressing me back, twining his fingers into mine, when we heard the awkward cough behind us.
"Round three?" Jace asked.
I broke for air and looked at him over Alexander's shoulder. "Hell yes."
Well I think that's the longest I've ever posted on here! I hope it was okay.