I had eaten everything else that I’d made. Jace had come back for seconds disappointed. Our night progressed slowly with nothing really to do. Jace and Clary were snuggled up on one of the frilly couches that adorned Magnus’ apartment. Simon and Izzy were luring on the floor entwined in each other’s arms. Alec and Magnus occupied the other couch. And the three couples watched some reality TV slow. Neither Ant nor I were overly interested so I read in the library just inside the master suite. Ant stood outside the door standing guard like he’d done so many times at home.
As the four shadowhunters who doesn’t live there left in pairs. Magnus and Alec me in their library. Alec sat down in his chair with the book I tossed at him and started reading where he’d left off. Magnus smiled at me. “We could have been doing this before. They didn’t have to stay.”
I nodded. “They ate your family. I’m fine on my own.”
“Ant is doing what he does at home.”
Magnus grabbed Ant’s arm and made him sit down in another chair. “Sit. Relax. Enjoy.” Magnus conjured a cocktail and handed it to Ant, who took it gratefully. He didn’t offer Alec or myself one. I’d probably refused him one too many times. Alec loomed to engrossed in his book to care one way or another.
We lounged for another hour before I took my leave and went for a run. Which meant Ant went with me. Afterwards we shared a bed, in the most platonic way. I had missed the warmth of another body in my bed.
I woke to squawking across the hall and got up to check on Max and found Alec already there. He smiled as he walked past the open bedroom door Ant still slept in. I followed him into the kitchen for a drink. Alec prepared a bottle. “There are other rooms.”
I took a sip of water from a glass Alec poured as he made the bottle. “We know. He won’t leave my side. And it feels good to have someone in my bed.”
Alec blushed so I added, “I don’t think I’ve had an empty bed since I joined the CCB.” I absently rubbed the tattoo at my right temple.
“I was wondering about the tattoo.” Alec was busily feeding the squirming child in his arms as he continued, “I mean I know it means exiled in Chinese but that’s not the story is it?”
I nodded. “You are right. It marks me as disgraced. I was exiled for trying to kill our leader, who ironically I killed later anyway. He’d created some elaborate plan to ferret out those who were trying to really kill him, and he needed me to do it. So by our law I could have died for trying to kill him without issuing a challenge first, but he exiled me because I was just a pawn. His words not mine. All Venatori have a tattoo of two crossed swords that only supernatural creatures or humans with magical sight can see. This covers that declaring me exiled and disgraced to the whole world. It’s magical in that it covers the magic of the symbol, but it’s normal ink, and the whole world sees it.”
“How does that work now that you lead these Venatori?”
“Honestly I don’t know. I’m not Venatori, I’m not Were, or dragon or even vampire, but I’ve a stake in everyone of those races. Isabel is my wife, my mate and my second in command of the pack, she is the reason I can rule over my pack without question. Challenges would come down quickly as they did when I first started leading them. I can’t run with them during the hunt, it hurts my standing. But with Isabel at my side I can send her instead. The Venatori are harder to explain how they tolerate me, but they still have their council, still do the same things they did then, except I’m making them change, not letting them go about life killing supernatural creatures because they’ve robbed a bank. Fair trials. I haven’t removed killing on sight for the henious crimes, but usually its because it’s self defense. I want the story the full story before we take drastic measures. I understand some supernatural creatures are beyond repair and they must be ended. But a wolf who turns unknowningly and kills a man walking by, that’s not the same as killing for sport.”
Alec was smiling, “I think Magnus, was right, we are a lot alike.”
I grinned at him, “It’s probably why we get along so well.” I set the now empty glass in the sink, “I’ll wash that later, I better get back to Ant before he’s sending out a search party for my body.”
Alec nodded. “If I’d known you were… um…”
I smiled at Alec, “I don’t want to intrude upon your life. I’m capable of sleeping alone. I’m just glad Ant’s here now. Though I wish he’d have stayed to protect my family.” I sighed and headed back to my room and laid down next to Ant who dutifully wrapped his arms around me. We slept the remainder of the night like that except I was up a few hours later woken by my own nightmares again.
AFter a long shower I found the other three men geared up and ready to go to the Institue. Max was bundled up and Magnus was weaving a portal. Alec smiled at me, “You took longer than usual.”
I frowned, “Nightmares, long runs and depression don’t preceed short showers.” I gestured at the portal, “Are we coming along?”
Magnus turned my direction, “But of course, we can’t have your petition be heard if you can’t speak for yourself. You are a leader among leaders of your own kind, maybe Maryse and Robert and the rest of the conclave will hear your plea with that in mind.”
I sighed, “The Lightwoods do not like me. I doubt the rest of this conclave will either.”
Alec laughed, “It has more to do with me than with you.”
“All the more reason for me to make their life a living hell.” I said flatly.
Ant chuckled, “I take your parents aren’t fond of your living arrangements.” Alec nodded then stepped through the portal. Ant followed and I joined them soon afterwards. I didn’t regret not eating, Ant looked releaved as well as we both caught our breaths from the near drowing of our own stomachs. Ant looked up at Alec, “If your culture is homophobic, then I don’t think presenting Nox is going to make his plea any better.”
Alec gave Ant a confused look and Ant continued, “He becomes very…. how does one put it nicely.”
I interuptted, “I have a bad tendancy to play up the gay and make it a well known fact and flaunt myself in that capacity when someone is openly homophobic.”
We were greeted by Izzy and Clary. Isabelle didn’t look too happy. I sighed, “That bad?”
She gave me a bright smile, “If you think fighting that greater demon was bad. This is worse.”
I laughed, it wasn’t funny. It was horrible. I just wanted to go home. I needed to go home. I could feel it in my bones, the need and desire to leave this world. “Let’s get it over with then.”
We followed Alec and Izzy into a room looked like a conference room. There were more people than just Alec’s parents and from what I understood, Alec’s was one of those high and mighty ruler types. I should have dressed better, too late now.
I took a deep breath and took charge, I was not some peon to be shit on here. I was their equal if nothing else. I might be in their home but I had earned my place. I wondered how many here had. “My name is Nox Setanta. I come to petition to the Clave for entrance into your capital so that I can leave this world and return to my own.”
Robert Lightwood stepped forward and glared at me. “There is much more that needs to be discussed than your request.” He looked around at the people who stood behind me. “The rest of you need to leave.”
I shook my head. “I don’t think so. First, Anthony Giovanni will not leave my side unless you kill him. He is my sworn protector and to remove him from my side will make this a very blood room. And secondly, Alec Lightwood and Magnus Bane have agreed to insure I understand things that happen in this room since I am not from your world.” To demonstrate I wove a chaotic symphony of lights around me, inside the room clouds formed and lighting popped along the ceiling, and it started to rain, small torandos stirred the papers on the desk. I grinned at my masterpeice and then let it fall. “You will understand I am only asking to be nice and to not make this any harder on my hosts.”
I took a seat. “I will answer your questions. But those three stay.”
I felt Izzy put her hand on my shoulder and squeeze. I back up at her and smiled, she was nodding. “We got your back.” I nodded in response and she took Simon’s hand and Clary and even Jace followed without another word. I was amazed that he hadn’t said anything not even sarcastic. That said a lot about how deep I was in now.
Ant stood at my left behind my chair and Alec and Magnus both took a seat as well. I smiled. “Now that’s settled. Shall we begin?”
Mr. Lightwood spluttered and stammered before he clamped his mouth shut and took his seat next to his wife. It would begin.
But it wouldn’t end for several hours. They asked question after question about where I was from, how was I connected to the demons, who I was, what I was but more often than not we came back to the same question. “What is your connection to the demon attacks?”
I answered for the upteenth time. “I don’t have any connection. Not that I know of. A mage from your world… sorry a warlock from your world pretended to be a mage in mine. He tried to kill me, or whatever he was planning on doing. He opened a golden portal and pushed me through. I landed in the middle of a horde of demons where I met Alec and his friends. Beyond that I have no idea.”
And the same question followed, “Why would someone want you dead?”
“Because I’m changing my world. I’m making the hunters think before they are killing. I’m giving certain rights back to supernaturals. I’m putting us back on the path of the Clanedestine Providence as I’m coming to understand it.”
“What is this Clanedestine Providence?”
I sighed at the same round of questions for another person. “It’s like your Angelic law. It dictates how supernatural creatures are to live and behave out in the world. It specifically states how we are to interact with humans and each other. How the Venatori came to protect the laws of the Providence is long and complicated and I’m sure you don’t want to hear about it.” I added of my own free will, ” The biggest difference between our worlds isn’t in the laws its the mechanics of angels and demons. We do have half breeds, but they are mundane as humans. Demons and Angels can’t take form in my world, we call them marionettes, they have to possess humans to inhabit our world.”
“This has nothing to do with the attacks here!” Mr. Lightwood yelled.
I nodded. “I know. I don’t know anything about what’s going on here. They may be connected, they may not be. The fact that your dead warlock wanted to have me killed probably means that there is some connection but I’ve no idea why anyone here would want me dead.”
“What makes you so special?”
I sighed. “Nothing makes me special.”
Ant cleared his throat. I grinned. “Okay fine. I am improbable. Everything about me is special. My mother was human, my father Venatori. She survived my birth and I survived. Those things all combined give me like a .1 percent probabily of existance. But that fact gives me 100% probabilty of being Magnus. I am Cesari, which is also very rare, there were only two others beside myself that were natural born, both are now dead. But apparently my genetic make up is even more complicated. Things I don’t want to get into, but it essentially makes me immortal, or at least an extraordinary healer beyond my capabilities as a Venatori. So I’m rare. I’m the leader of two organizations who are fundamentally against each other. You take a pick as to why someone might want me dead.”
“But I’m not special here, for any reason.”
I could feel Ant rolling his eyes as he snorted. “Idiot,” he muttered.
“I’m tired of answering these questions that always have the same answer. I want to go home. I need to get to a portal inside of Alicate and apparently I need your permission to enter the city.”
Mr. Lightwood stood, “We will take all of this with your petition to the Clave.” Everyone stood up but the three of us, and they left.
I sighed. “I suppose that’s the best we can hope for.”