Post City of Glass, Pre-City of Fallen Angels. Spoilers for Clockwork Princess.
Standing with his forehead resting against the cool glass of the window pane, Magnus remembered.
Rain had always made him think of London, and it was raining now, the ice cold water pounding like music against the stone streets of Idris. It was the kind of rain, Magnus thought, that a young Will Herondale would appreciate. Harsh and vicious and unyielding. When he closed his eyes, he could picture the boy, dripping rain water on his carpet, screaming that he was cursed, begging Magnus to help, and then to save his parabatai.
Sighing, the warlock ran a hand throw his hair, which was spiked now. It had been so many years, and yet those two were never far from his thoughts. Jem and Will. The bitter, broken boy and the silver one who reflected the good of the other. They lived for each other. Jem still did, although he was no longer Jem now.
He had mentioned that to Tessa, the last time he had seen her. They had spoken of Jem, but he had not told her that he was still searching for a cure. That promise he had made to Will nearly one-hundred-and-fifty years ago.
I'll be in the library if you need me.
He had been, when he'd heard Will leave the institute and pound out into the rain.
Over the years, after Tessa lived with him for a time, Magnus had stopped searching. When she went off on her own he had started up again. It wasn't that he didn't want her to know, but he felt like it was something private between him and Will. Something that wasn't meant for the others to know just yet.
He turned, half expecting to see Alec(Sometimes Magnus swore he could hear the Shadowhunter's soft voice in his head, like a teasing lullaby that never faded) but it was only Brother Zachariah.
The Silent Brother stood with his hands, his young, slim hands, folded in front of him. The hood of his robes was drawn up, but Magnus could just make out the pale white of his cheek, the dark runes that stood out stark and black against his cheekbones.
He did not look any different now than he had nearly a century earlier, after playing a song to Will as he died, holding his hand while Tessa cried. Tessa had told Magnus the story while they had been in Paris. He remembered it now:
She was shaking in his arms, face twisted in anguish, wet and blotchy with tears. "He came, you know," She whispered.
She nodded. "Will was waiting for him, I could feel it. And he came and he played the violin...he told our story, their story, with music and Will just let go and-"
She had dissolved into sobs then. Magnus had held her, stroked her hair while she'd clung to him, crooning meaningless words in Indonesian until she drifted off to sleep in his arms. Neither of them had mentioned it since, but the memory lingered in the air between them, the unspoken knowledge: Jem was still in their, somewhere, buried behind silence and runes and dusty old robes.
You saw Tessa? The cool voice said in his mind, almost gently, startling him out of his reverie.
Magnus cleared his throat and ducked his head, feeling awkward. "Yes, I did."
Brother Zachariah tilted his head to the side and glided forward, slowly, until they were close enough to touch. She's mourning...the thought was a quiet whisper.
"Everyone is," Magnus felt compelled to point out.
The old Jem would have laughed softly at that comment or given him a disapproving look, but Brother Zachariah only made a soft humming sound within his mind. We have lost much.
"Why did you come?" Magnus finally asked. The conversation was making him uncomfortable and he wanted to find Alec. The Shadowhunter had been like fragile glass, after his young brother died, and Magnus felt oddly responsible for his boyfriend's emotional states-he wanted Alec to know he cared-but Alec was making that difficult of late.
I do not know. The mental voice was light, but there was almost a tremor in it, a hint of emotion.
"James," Magnus sighed. He shook his head.
The Silent Brother looked up, the motion as slow and graceful as ever, but Magnus could feel his shock. No one has called me James in a long time.
No, Magnus thought. They hadn't to Tessa, he had always been "Jem." But to Will...
"I was thinking about him," Magnus said, knowing that Brother Zachariah would know instantly who he was talking about, "I think he would have like the rain."
Yes. There was a note of quiet sadness in his voice, a kind of ache that made Magnus want to touch him, grasp his shoulder and comfort him. But Silent Brother's weren't supposed to feel that way, and the distance between them might as well have been mountains.
'Will asked me to find a cure for you, the day you decided to join the Brotherhood," Magnus was not sure why he said it. Perhaps it was because his conversation with Tessa had renewed his energy for this old quest, or maybe it was because, for a Silent Brother, Zachariah(Jem) looked so sad, "I have not stopped."
Why are you telling me this?
"Because you feel. Because Will would have wanted. Because I may have a way to give you back your life. Because I'm sympathetic and sentimental and I like broken things."
You think I am broken, then, warlock? Jem would have never asked him that, would have never spoken to him so cooly and with such little regard for manners, but the years had changed him. This was not the sweet, dying boy who had played the violin in London so many years ago. This was not the boy he remembered fisting a hand into Will's jacket and pulling him back when he was angry. This was a Silent Brother who felt too much and understood to little. This was a man who'd lived longer than he should have and dedicated the remainder of his life to silence and darkness.
It hurt, Magnus. It hurt because for an instant he did not see the mirror of Will's goodness. He saw a broken, defeated, lost boy. He saw someone who needed help, who was trapped in a world that was not good for him. Jem needed music and love and Tessa. He did not need this life of silence and rules and harsh runes.
"No, I think you are strong," Magnus said, tilting his head back, looking at the Silent Brother through his lashes, as if narrowing his eyes would allow him to see the silver boy underneath the shadowed hood. "I think you are stronger than anyone I have ever met, James Carstairs, and I think your parabatai would be proud of you."
Brother Zachariah did not correct him. He did not say that Will was not his parabatai, he did not say that his name was not James. He stared at Magnus for a long moment while the rain lashed at the windows outside and the Shadowhunters lit off the last fire works outside in the City of Glass. When he spoke, his mental voice sounded almost tired, weary and aged, Thank you, Magnus Bane. He turned his head, as if listening to a distant call, I must return to the Silent City. His hood shifted back as he looked back at Magnus. Magnus caught a glimpse of black hair streaked with silver before the Silent Brother flicked the cowl back in place.
"Until next time, then," Magnus said, feeling as if he should say more. As if he should promise to find a cure, as if he should say that Tessa missed him, or something comforting.
Brother Zachariah turned away, gliding to the door. He paused, though, hand poised over the handle. Magnus?
"Yes?" Magnus turned his back, closing his eyes. He was suddenly very tired."
Enjoy the rainstorm for Will and I.
It was such a startling, such a human thing to say that Magnus found he could not reply. His throat tightened and he pressed his forehead to the cool windowpane.
He thought he heard Alec's voice, laughing at Jace, telling him not to go in the rain. In his boyfriend's voice and Jace's answering retort, he heard the eco of another paired parabatai. He heard Jem's soft voice, saying, It's not a duck, is it? and Will's, Jem is my great sin.
"I'll enjoy the rainstorm, James," he whispered to the empty room, "for all of us."