Wrong Answer

Simon and Izzy had danced most of the night away with very little stopping between. She grinned happily at me as she and her boyfriend slipped out without saying good-bye to anyone. Lily had kept an ever watchful eye on Ant until someone approached her and she was off in an instant dealing with whatever vampire business had come up. The music was too loud even for my hearing. I didn’t care either way.

Jace and Clary left shortly there after and we decided it was probably best to get Max and go back to the loft. The institute still looked like a rundown building to me, until I got nearly on top of it. Ant saw the glory that was the cathedral from the start. Vampire senses seeing through the shroud or glamour as they called it here.

Ant and I went inside despite my desire not to. We didn’t go past the entrance, but the Institute was oddly quiet. Even Alec seemed suspicious of the inactivity. Alec asked the nearby tech sitting at one of the computers. “Where is everyone?”

He looked up and pointed to the monitor in front of him. “Relatively quiet tonight. A few patrols out. Your father and most of the conclave went to Idris.” He looked over at me standing against the wall. “For his petition. Though from the grumbling I heard that wasn’t all they wanted to discuss.”

Alec rolled his eyes. I guaranteed you they wanted to poke and prod at me for a while. A living breathing Extraterrestrial non-alien human like being from another universe? Who wouldn’t want to. Ant laughed. “It’d be better if you were dead.”

I looked back at my friend standing behind me. “Did I say that out loud?”

Magnus nodded. “You did.” He was smiling when I looked over at him and found his little darling blue son giggling in his arms. A very concerned grandmother was rushing down the hall and she stopped dead in releif as she saw Max sitting in Magnus arms.

“Sorry Mayrse, he’s learning too quickly.” Magnus said across the expanse between them.

She hurried towards them with a smile. “I am just glad he hasn’t done that to hide from me yet.” She patted her blue grandson on the head. “Don’t do that to me again. You nearly gave me a heart attack.” Maryse looked at me and frowned. “I do not think things look good for you. Though if they won’t let you go home, I don’t know what you will do here. You can’t keep flouncing about the city disrupting every downworlder.”

I grinned. “Oh I’ll go home. You may not like the way I do it, but I can’t stay here. With another to talk with about what I’m feeling, it’ll destroy us if we try to stay.” I inclined my head, “And I promise I won’t get your family in trouble when I do it.”

Maryse rolled her eyes. “I doubt you will have much choice in the matter, if the situation with our own very dear Clary Fray is any indication of what these boys will do for their friends.”

Alec nodded to his mom, “Thanks.”

She patted her son’s back as he walked away with his arm around Magnus’ waist. I could see the look from his mother but she was far more accepting than his father had been. Ant and I followed the small family to the loft in Brooklyn. Magnus could have created a portal but I was fairly certain he chose the mundane methods so his living room was less of a mess.

The remained of the night proceeded with little incident and just my normal nightmares waking me and I found myself up bright and early. I ran for a good hour before making my way back into the loft for a shower and to make breakfast. I wasn’t the only early riser – even Ant had stayed in bed when I’d gotten up. But Alec was doing his own thing in their small gym that I hadn’t even noticed until I saw the door open when I was in the kitchen. Alec was wearing nothing but gym shorts and I could see the white scars of faded runes as well as the permanent ones that decorated his perfect body. I couldn’t help but stare until I realized what I was doing and busied myself with making breakfast.

He came into the kitchen drying off with the towel around his neck and I turned to avoid looking at him. Alec laughed. “Something wrong?”

I shook my head. “Not a thing. Just avoiding temptation. I mean if you want me to stare I can.”

I didn’t need to turn around to know that Alec was blushing. The stammering in his voice with not knowing what to say only made it clear. I turned and smiled at him, “You really should get used to it.”

Alec ducked his head and smiled. “Yeah, that’s not really me.”

“I know.” I smiled and went back to making breakfast.

“Is Dorian like me?”

I shook my head. “No, Dorian is well aware of his attributes. He has no problem flaunting them when we are alone. But he has an image to maintain, I do my best to not embarrass him in public.”

Alec took a step towards me and moved a stray blue strand from my forehead. “And this doesn’t embarrass him?”

I smiled, “Does it embarrass you with Magnus?” Alec shook his head and I nodded, “Dorian likes the color, he even makes requests. He out grew the make-up, but I never did.”

I finished with breakfast and pushed a plate towards Alec. He smiled. “We are really going to miss this when you go home.”

Ant choose that moment to step into the kitchen, “Sounds like you need to learn to cook.”

Alec sighed, “I can cook. It’s just nice when someone else does it.”

Ant nodded. “It is. He loves to do it. Nox is more at home feeding the masses than he is leading them.”

Alec suggest, “Maybe you should just do both at the same time then. I know food always makes meetings better.”

“All pack meetings have food. Not sure the Venatori council would enjoy coming over to my place for a meal. I might poison them or something.” I joked of course, but I wouldn’t put it past them.

Alec just grinned as he placed his fork in his mouth. Magnus came into the kitchen carrying their son and set him in his high chair with a pile of eggs. “I got a fire message. Your mother. Your father is back with news. When we are done getting ready. Though it said ASAP in the message.”

Alec and I both rolled our eyes. If it were a go, they would have likely just said so. They didn’t want to be the bearer of bad news. “Is there any other way into Idris?” I asked.

Alec sighed. “Officially, no. Unofficially, yes. Luke snuck Clary in. We can talk to her.”

I nodded. “I don’t want you to get in trouble, Alec. I’ll be gone. It’s not worth it. Things are different than with Clary.”

Magnus nodded. “He knows, Nox. But that’s not going to stop him. He has little respect for people who don’t help those in need.”

“I understand the sentiment but don’t get in trouble you can’t get out of because of me. I’m not worth it. Please, just be careful.”

Alec nodded and headed towards his and Magnus’ bedroom with a peice of bacon in his hands. “I’ll be ready soon.”

I looked at Magnus who was already up and read. “You are ready early.”

Magnus yawned, “But crack of dawn fire message. I figured I’d get ready while Alexander was doing his thing.”

Twenty minutes later Magnus was opening a portal with his son in his arms. We wall stepped through. I was surprised not to lose my breakfast, but the nausea still was ever present. Ant hadn’t eaten this morning. He had claimed he was still fine from last nights feeding. He was a big boy and being as old as he was he probably knew better than me.

We’d started walking towards the conference room when Robert Lightwood found us and stopped us in our tracks. “The Clave won’t let you into Alicate. You will have to find another way. But we’d like to discuss things further with you.”

He opened his mouth to continue further but I stepped around him. “Where can I find Clary?”

Alec fell into step next to me, “Probably the training room, this early.”

Dancing

When we finally got up and left the room Izzy had grabbed my hand and was leading me towards the door. She grinned back at me, “The others won’t go dancing with me, but you will. Won’t you?” The smile was seductively sweet and I fell into step with her.

I wrapped my arm around her shoulder, “Sure, Duckling, I’ll go dancing with you.”

I heard Simon scurrying after her, “Hey, that’s my girlfriend.”

I turned back and grinned at him, “You snooze. You lose.”

Isabelle laughed and held her hand out for Simon to take it. “Well if I didn’t have to use another man to make you come dancing with me…” She left the thought hanging as Simon took her hand.

I felt Ant following behind me. I stopped at the elevator down to see that they’d all stayed with us. I looked at Alec and he just rolled his eyes. “You have to play her games?”

I grinned at him, “But of course. How else am I supposed to get you to go dancing with Magnus.”

Simon frowned, “Won’t you feel like a third wheel?”

“Who me?” I laughed, “Never. Besides Ant’s here. He’ll dance with me.”

Ant frowned, “No I won’t.”

“Yes you will.” I smiled at my friend.

It was a short walk to the train station. A short ride to the club, the same one we’d been to earlier. The word demon stayed steady in the sign which brought a chuckle to my lips, I hadn’t noticed it the first time I’d been here. Irony.

Izzy was still dragging me when we entered Pandemonium. It wasn’t so much as dragging as she was just walking faster than I was while holding my hand still. I leaned down when I caught up to her and spoke in her ear, “I’m not going to get away.”

She turned to look up at me with a startled look that turned into a sbright smile in moments. “Oh I know. But Simon hates dancing.”

Izzy pulled me on to the dance floor with little effort. Jace and Clary were the only other two to follow us on the dance floor. I could feel Ant’s eyes on me as he walked around the dance floor taking in the entire scene. He was a good body guard, and I knew he would be at my side in the blink of an eye if it looked like I was in danger. The others found themselves in the same circular booth that we’d sat in the last time I was here.

It felt good to dance with Izzy. She moved with fluid grace that came from being what she was but also from being a woman who knew exactly what it did to men. She wrapped her arms around my neck and spoke through the loud music, “You like my brother don’t you?”

I grinned at her, “He reminds me of my own boyfriend and so very tempting.”

She looked up at me confused, “I thought you were married?”

“I am. It’s complicated. My marriage is more of an arrangement for the pack’s sake and very little to do with love. Though I do love her just not like I love Dorian. I can’t live without him. I don’t want to even try. I need Isabel to get through everyday but not on the same level as Dorian.”

Isabelle pulled me in closer, “Don’t you hurt my big brother or I’ll gut you.”

I laughed and pressed a kiss to her check, “Duckling, I wouldn’t dream of hurting your brother. Teasing him immensly yes, but hurt, never. I mean it when I say he reminds me of Dorian. I can be his friend and nothing more. For both of our sakes.” I grinned at her, “Did you give Magnus the same talk?”

Izzy laughed, “You bet I did. Now go get my boyfriend. I want to see you make stick in the mud over there dance.”

I smiled, “He’s only grumpy because he’s hungry.” But I did as I was instructed and went back to the table and pulled Simon out of his seat. “Your girlfriend beckons you. Snap to it.”

Simon rolled his eyes. “I’m not whipped. I do not have to go.”

I gave him a level look. “Go or I’ll drag you out myself.”

He pouted and went out to the dance floor just as Ant stood next to me pulling out a chair to sit down when I took his hand and pulled him after me. He groaned. I could hear Magnus and Alec laughing as they watched me draging the big bad vampire out on to the dance floor.

Ant was an inch taller than I was, it was refreshing not looking down on someone on the dance floor as I pulled him against me and moved with the rhythm of the music. I leaned against his chest and exposed my neck to him and breathed softly, “Feed.”

Ant wrapped his arms around me pulling me close. His arms were tight around me and I could hardly move as he sank his fangs into my neck. If the last time he’d fed had been erotic, this was so much more. My body felt like liquid beneath his fingers, the strength of his arms were the only thing keeping me upright.

I don’t know how long I was lanquid before he pulled away and steady me and moved with me lazily. His bit was always intoxicating and erotic. It was the only reason we’d shared a bed. I knew better now, but the first time he’d thought I was human when I hit on him and offered myself up as food. I knew how he was and I was using him to get to his mother, but I never got past her own body guard – or Chevalier – her daylight protector, and nearly as old as she is.

Ant whispered in my ear, “Thank you. This place hurts.”

I nodded. “I know.”

There was a figure standing next to us and I blinked back surprise as the dark haired girl was frowning at Ant. “Who are you? I don’t know you.”

I smiled. “I’m going to guess your leader of the vampires here?”

She turned to look at me with a blank expression. “I am.”

I nodded in the direction of Alec and Magnus in the booth. “I’m with them. And he’s with me.”

She turned to look at the pair who were now waving me to come sit down. “I guess we should all go sit down.”

I walked past her but she stopped Ant. “We don’t feed on humans.”

I stepped between them, “He had my permission. I told him to. He’s hungry and I don’t know what your humans will do to him. He’ll feed only on me I swear.” I took Ant by the and and pulled him past her and joined Alec and Magnus.

Alec was shaking his head, “You sure know how to ruffle feathers.” The woman stood at the end of the table, “Lily, this is Nox. He’s not of our world. Neither is his friend.”

She looked at me sceptically. “He looks positively normal.”

I laughed. “I’m not. Trust me Duckling.”

The look she leveled at me because of the nickname made my grin widen. “Did I offend you Duckling.”

She barred her fangs at me and hissed softly. I stood up in front of her and towered above her dark head. I leaned down, “I’ve killed vampires scarier than you Duckling. But since you are a friend of Alec’s I’ll buy you a drink.” I held out my hand and smiled brightly at the pale vampire with dark hair. “Shall we?”

Lily sat down in the chair I had vacated and smiled up at me. “O negative please.”

My mouth dropped in awe, she’d played me too. I leaned down and kissed the top of her head. “Anything for you Duckling.”

Ant rolled his eyes but followed me to the bar. I ordered her drink and two beers, I was still sure we didn’t want to feed Ant any of this world’s blood. There was no telling what it could do. And I didn’t want to pay that price. His mother would kill me if he died – deal or not.

I handed Ant the second beer and carried the fluted glass full of blood to my new vampire friend and set it neatly on a napkin in front of her. Jace and Clary had joined Magnus and Alec. Simon was still making it up to Izzy on the dance floor. He still danced like a nerd, but Izzy seemed to like him. He couldn’t be that bad.

Everyone was nursing their own drinks and paired off except Lily, myself and Ant. Ant stood behind the seat I’d taken like the ever present statue he was becoming. Lily looked up as he stood there, “Why does he guard you?”

“Long story short, because if I die his mother will hurt him.”

“And he’s afraid of his mother?” Lily asked.

“Everyone is afraid of Il Cane.”

“Why?” It was an good question.

I smiled as I answered. “Il Cane was created to scare big bad vampires. She was an assassin before she was a vampire. She was a seductress before that. Il Cane will walk through fire to find you, hunt you and if you are lucky she’ll kill you. If you aren’t lucky she’ll toy you your insides until you wish you were dead, and then things get really interesting. Il Cane shows very little emotion. She is cold and distant and her entire demeanor speaks death. There are stories…”

She put a finger against my lips. “You talk too much.”

I kissed her finger against my lips and she pulled back with a curious look. I winked at her and sipped at the beer that was growing warm. I pulled the heat from it with a quick pattern and took another sip. It was much better now.

I looked to Alec, “Are there any other supernatural creatures to whom I might piss off with my mere presence nearby. We should probably do it before we all get comfortable.”

Alec grinned. “No. You’ve pissed off everyone in the city so far – except the Fairies. But with the Cold Peace, I can’t exactly make those introductions so… you’ll just have to piss them off all on your own. You’ve meet the Conclave at the Institued, the Alpha of the Werewolves, and you’ve just met Lily as head of the Children of the Night here in New York. And of course, the High Warlock of Brooklyn for the warlocks.” He wrapped his arm around Magnus as he boasted about his boyfriend and I couldn’t help but chuckle about it. Alec was perfectly fine bragging about his boyfriend, but not about himself or the fact that he was with said warlock.

I grinned back at him. “Alright then I suppose three out of four is a pretty good record.”

Magnus laughed. “I’m sure you’ll manage to piss me off sooner rather than later.” I laughed as Magnus winked a sparkling cat eye at me dropping his glamour for the gesture as an effet.

Alec rolled his eyes, “You have a poor effect on everyone. Showing off. Tempting us into things we don’t really want to do.”

I stuck my tongue out at Alec, “You didn’t fight too hard when you jumped off the bulding with me.”

Alec blushed, “It was better than walking back down after you dragged me up there in the first place.”

The banter and fun continued throughout the night with Lily watching Ant most of the time in his position behind my back. He joined in on the fun, but he never left his post. He never did. It always grated on me. Maybe one day he’d step out of bodyguard mode long enough to just hang out. But while we were here I didn’t see it happening anytime soon.

The Clave

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.”

“And him?”

“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.”

A Way Home

We’d been less than successful at figuring anything out. Other than the fact that our mere presence seemed to trigger demon portals. Magnus was down. I was spent. I could hear Ant in my ear, “You stupid stupid boy.” But he was helping me stand while Alec took care of Magnus. We wouldn’t be portalling anywhere. So subway it was. But first we had to wake Magnus.

Simon suggested, “A bucket of water usually works.” He looked at me, “At least on TV.”

Alec frowned but I managed to make a weave of water, it wasn’t a bucket full by any means, I was drained and water my weakest element. But it splashed on Magnus’ face and in moments he was spluttering awake. Alec was glaring at me. Magnus was not exactly happy. I just shrugged my shoulders, “Would you like us to carry you home? I’m sure your boy wouldn’t mind.”

Their glamours would work, but I wasn’t exactly strong enough to viel myself. Ant snickered, “I could have taken us to their loft.”

“Still can. It’d be funny to see if they get sick on their first journey through the shadows.” I grinned playfully. I was tired of throwing up each time I went through a portal. I was also tired of being here, I wanted to go home. Not that I minded the company but home had my bed, my pack and most importantly it had Dorian and my Isabel.

Ant nodded, “It’s fastest. Everyone needs to touch or I can’t bring you through in one shot.” Everyone obeyed. It was oddly comforting taking Alec’s hand in one and Ant’s in the other. Alec supported Magnus by his waist and Isabel was the one to take Ant’s other hand finishing of the chain of people. Ant took one step into the shadows that were surrounding us and we were instantly inside another shadow inside of Magnus’ plush apartment space. Everyone was bent over trying not to close their meals. Ant chuckled softly. “It get’s better with more uses.”

He looked at me with a grin, “Except Mr. Sensitive stomach here, he usually pukes his guts out.”

I rolled my eyes. “Magnus? What can we do to help you?”

Alec was already heading towards the bedroom. “I got it. You should all go to the institute and make a report and start looking into what’s going on. I’ll be along after I get Magnus settled.”

The Shadow hunters all started for the door as I collapsed on the couch. Jace was the first to turn around, “You gonna be okay?”

I nodded. “Just tired. I need to eat – a lot.”

He offered me a hand, “I think there is plenty in their stores, what you don’t have I’ll go get.”

I took his hand and Jace pulled me up. “I know Alec said to go back, but I’ll cook you.”

Jace’s eyes went wide and he nodded. “Okay. But we should use the office and make our reports, we can always email them in.”

I laughed. “Are you trying to be out of ear shot?”

Jace paled. “Wouldn’t you?”

I shrugged. “If they have sex it wouldn’t be the first time within my hearing. It’s not like I don’t live with 30 people anyway. Some one’s bound to be having sex at any time.”

“30 people”. Simon sounded astonished, “Damn, that’s a lot of people.”

Ant grinned at me as I started floating around the kitchen gathering supplies. He laughed at Simon, “He’s a pack leader. Well he’s more than that, but most of those 30 are pack.”

I cooked while Ant watched, the others made their way to the office and started writing reports. There was giggling coming from the room so I doubted they were doing much more than snooping through Magnus’ things.

I had food plated and sitting on the island in the kitchen when Magnus staggered out with pajamas on. He gave me a bright smile as Alec too his hand from behind. “No one listened, but you cooked. You are forgiven.” The rest of the crew stepped out after Ant had gone in to fetch them. “The rest of you suck.”

Clary stuck her tongue out at Magnus. “Careful there biscuit, Chairman Meow likes to flick things.”

Ant, Magnus, Alec and I stayed in the kitchen while the rest went off into the living room to sit in front of Magnus’ TV and veg – something they didn’t get to do often enough it seemed. I stayed where the food was. I had already cleared my plate once and was scooping seconds of vegetables and chicken on to my plate as I asked, “Magnus, did you learn anything before the big black portal full of demons shook the house down?”

He nodded as he finished chewing a too large piece of chicken he stuffed in his mouth as I’d asked the question. Alec grinned. “He said he recognized the residual magic. Another one of those I thought he was dead people. So not really sure where to look from there. We have nothing to track.”

“And that portal?” Ant asked. “It looked different.”

“Demon portals usually are. It’s possible we have a demon pulling more demons through.” Magnus said. “Another greater demon, maybe the one who brought the queen through?”

Alec added, “Black portals lead to no where. No Where must be some demon land. At least that’s what the books say.”

Magnus frowned. “Not no where. One way. They came from someplace else probably in this world. Black portals don’t cross dimensions, worlds or time.”

“So somewhere on this earth, someone is trying to kill you, or me, or both of us?” I asked.

Magnus nodded. “Maybe getting you home will solve the whole thing.” Magnus snapped his fingers and as the blue sparks dissipated a very large white leather bound tome landed on the island. Magnus flung his hand over the cover and it opened. The pages fluttered as if well by magic. The book dropped open on to a page about portals.

I glanced over Magnus shoulder but couldn’t read anything on it. It was written in a language I didn’t even recognize. Magnus muttered to himself. Everyone else was just eating, listening to the muffled sounds the warlock made. “Ah ha!”

Magnus flicked his fingers and the golden shard popped into his hands. “We take this to the portal in Idris and we can get you home.”

Alec sighed, “That’s not going to happen. Neither he nor Ant can get into Alicate without permission from the Clave.” He set down his plate and picked up his phone. “I’ll see if I can get my father to help. But he doesn’t like Nox much. I don’t see how it’ll help, but I’ll petition them in the morning. Magnus, can send his request as well. Maybe the both of us can get this to work out for you.”

I was eternally grateful, but both of them were walking out of the kitchen heading off to make their requests. I continued downing food like I was starving. My body was going  through resources faster than I could chew. This wasn’t good.

Kill Them All

The same group of people that had gone to the warehouse the day before went today – minus one dead mage. It was still troubling thinking that someone from this world wanted me dead. It made me wonder what sort of problems I was causing back home too that I was crossing dimensions like that. Alec’s siblings, Clary and Simon all started their search around the perimeter while Magnus went inside to look around, Magnus insisted I come with him for the extra insight into my magical world, and neither Ant nor Alec were going to leave us alone. Not that either of us couldn’t protect ourselves. It was a protective thing. And honestly Ant was going to be more help in the magic realm. I knew mine, he knew his but he was far older than anyone here and that included Magnus.

Alec and I were party to listening to the old timers talking about things that happened centuries ago on both worlds and how our histories differed. It could have been very informative if I cared to listen to the history. I didn’t in school and I still didn’t now. It was the reason I had advisers. So Alec and I snooped around outside the room with the big magic drawing on the floor while Magnus did his thing. We weren’t out of ear shot when the building started to vibrate.

And not a good kind of vibrate, I may have made that comment out loud when I next looked at Alec he as blushing from ear to ear but his bow was drawn and we were walking towards the source of it. Another portal opened up, this one much bigger than the one they had seen earlier. It wasn’t purple, nor was it golden. It was so black I wouldn’t even call it that it was empty of everything, more like a black hole. Demons poured through and the warehouse shook harder and faster and the beams above were giving way. The roof was going to come down on us.

I could think of only one thing to do to keep us from being flattened and swarmed at the same time. Patterns of fire and earth spread across the beams. I could strengthen them. I could weld the rivets and bolts in place without much thought. But it was going to take everything I had to cover a structure this big.

Alec was pegging demons the moment they fell through the portal but they were coming faster than even he could keep up. I heard the deafening crack of the whip his sister wielded. The remaining shadow hunters were soon picking off those that came in.

I couldn’t do anything other than keep the roof from falling. Ant looked at me and frowned, he couldn’t help with that, he was an elementalist but he couldn’t do what I did. He opted to fight and keep things from reaching me. He didn’t step into the foray anymore than Magnus did. He stood by me and behind Ant, expecting the same protection from Ant, and when Magnus’ hands started to glow bright blue I knew he was trying to close the portal from this side.

A voice slithered over their ears, “Kill. Kill them all.”

A mass of demons flowed through the portal and everyone but me took a step back to get some more distance, I couldn’t move. Ant yelled, “We have to hold this position, or these two will go down.” It was like they all moved in unison, well practiced maneuvers as they surrounded Magnus and I. They’d keep the demon’s away while we did our job.

My body started to strain from the over use of my ability and the lack of replenishment be it food or general resources. I was starting to lose my grip on things. I didn’t have time to spare for anyone else as I started a secondary weave. It pulled at my resources even more but I wasn’t going to let the building collapse on top of my friends. I would make sure they survived at least even if the demons over run us. I could protect them.

But there wasn’t much need for the secondary weave as two things happened simultaneously. The portal winked closed cutting several demons in half and Magnus fell to the ground. The building stopped vibrating and when I released my weaves I sank down on to my knees. We were still no closer to figuring anything out. But we had survived.

 

 

 

Stupid Mage

Magnus portaled us into the institute with ease. I wasn’t the only one losing my lunch. Though I had come prepared this time, my own trash can. Alec had laughed at me. He wasn’t laughing now while they cleaned up blood. He commented. “Must be your world.”

He took me down to the cage with Ant in tow. Magnus followed but we were joined by Alec’s siblings and Clary. Simon was not around. Too bad that he’d be fun with Ant. He didn’t get pop culture anymore than the Shadowhunters.

The human Mage looked even more rumpled than before. He looked more hopeless too. The cage was not really a cage more like a transparent box. I stood outside the cage and wove a pattern of fire inside the box much to Magnus’ surprise if his gasp was anything to go by.

“Wakey Wakey.” I said. “Time to talk. I’d hate to let my friend lay into you again.” Ant smiled to send home my point. I heard Jace scoff. He didn’t sound happy with my methods.

The man just stared at me with whose eyes. “You should be dead. ”

“Well I ain’t. ” I smiled a toothy grin at him. “Talk to me. I might let you live. ”

“Your reputation precedes you. You don’t kill. ” He was a pompous in his attitued.

“For you I could make an exception. You tried to kill me. ” I made sure to supply him with an evil grin.

Fear rose in his eyes. Ant laughed. “I think he should be more worried about Mr Sparkles here. I think he feels your hatred of thing beneath you. ”

The man in the cage sneered at Magnus. “Filthy downworlder.”

Alec frowned. “You know what a downworlder is?”

Magnus answered. “He’s from here. I know him. ”

I raised a whistling eyebrow. “Say what? ”

“I thought he was dead. ” magnus said. “That’s why he could make a portal in your world. ”

“The ascended must die. ” He raised his hands and blue fire whipped from his hands through the cage. Magnus was casting. Alec stepped between me and the Mage and knocked me out of the way. Ant had a sword of fire in his hand and was in the cage before anyone could react. The sword sank deep and the man screamed as the spell turned in on it self engulfing him in flames. Ant jumped back.

Jace frowned as he helped me up. “We’ll that was not productive. ”

Magnus spoke softly “We still have the Shard and the Book of the White. ”

“That doesn’t explain why a warlock from your world was in mine.” I said sadly. “There is too much we don’t know now. Too many additional questions. I’ll help you figure this out.” I looked at Alec, “While your boyfriend helps me find a way home. Do we have a deal?”

Alec smiled. “There doesn’t need to be a deal. But yes I would be grateful for your help. You and your bodyguard.”

Jace did a double take, “He has a body guard? What? Why? Huh?”

Ant grinned, “He is the most powerful supernatural being in our world at the present. My mother fears him, he fears my mother. But he rules over the Venatori.”

I interrupted Ant, “Which are like you, here, shadow hunters. People who were born and breed to patrol the supernatural races.”

And glared at me, “This is my story. Thank you. ” He looked at the large blonde with a grin and smiled. “What he said. He rules the Creed of Celestial Beings. Which is basically an organization that in the past has been hell bent on destroying the Venatori.”

It was Alec who interrupted this time. “How the hell does that even work? How can he rule to opposing entities.”

Ant grinned. “It’s not easy. But he’s doing it. The Venatori hate him for making changes. The CCB hates him for making changes. But those are the radicals. The normal people trust him. He makes friends at the bottom and lets the people at the top hate him. What’s better in the long run?”

Magnus smiled. “Alexander, that sounds very much like you.”

Alec blushed but Magnus was beaming with pride at his boyfriend. “It’s better to start at the bottom.” I said, Ant took my meaning and rolled his eyes. Alec glared at me with a look that said shut up, I hate you and oh my god I can’t beleive you just said that. I grinned at the bashful archer, “Sorry, I couldn’t help it.”

Ant made a flourish, “Can we leave this place? Nothing more here to do. We should probably check out that place we portaled into a little more throughly. Magic was used, you think you can spare Mr. Sparkles from finding our trip home Nox?”

Alec frowned, “That’s not his name.”

Ant grinned his fangs glinting in the flickering lights of the magic. “I’m well aware his name is Magnus Bane, while perfectly fitting, I like Mr. Sparkles. He reminds me of a cat Ryan had once.”

“Wait?” Alec looked back at Magnus then back to Ant, “You can see through his glamour? You see the cat eyes while everyone else sees brown?”

“It’s a shadow thing”. I noted. “Old vampires powerful in shadow can see through anything. Ant has the advantage of having the most powerful shadow vampire as his mother. So he’s learned to peirce many veils. But yes Ant, Magnus can help. Another few days or months here isn’t going to kill us.”

Magnus frowned, “I don’t know about that. You weren’t exactly yourself these past few days.”

I laughed, “Nice of you to notice, but I’ll be fine.”

“He’ll just fake it till he’s fine.” Ant frowned. “Can we leave this dreaded place now the magic is making me itch.” Ant scratched at his arms and looked at the magic box the dead mage lay.

They went up the way they came down and ran into the Lightwood parents just as they rounded a corner.