Chapter 10:
Magnus had felt time's passing as he'd lived through innumerable lifetimes, but nothing had prepared him to endure eternity as he and the others waited for Alec to wake. Their joy had been uncontainable the first day, when Alec had taken his first breath on his own. They had all waited in his room for hours on end, hoping that the first breath would lead to his eyes opening for the first time in days. Jace had parked himself at his Parabatai's side, keeping close watch, hoping to be the first to see his lids flicker. Magnus sat himself opposite of the blond, hoping for the same.

But there had been nothing that first day.

The sun had gone down, with Catarina waking from where she'd been napping on the cot in the corner and ushering them all off to bed. When he and Jace had protested, she'd stared at them suspiciously, then ordered them to shower, change, eat, and then come back. To the rest, except for Dot, she kept her orders the same. Grudgingly, the all complied, and Jace and Magnus returned to find that Catarina had summoned some camping supplies and set up the room with a circle of sleeping bags, chairs, and a micro-fridge, filled, upon Jace's inspection, with all of their favorite snack foods (and some healthy ones, per Dot's insistence).

Magnus looked around in awe and gratitude as Catarina and Dot kept themselves busy at Alec's side, changing out his bedclothes with a snap and summoning a bowl of soapy water and fresh pajamas to the side table. Magnus scurried over and the female warlocks looked up, startled. Jace's head snapped up, immediately on guard.

"I thought it would help if we brought back some human contact," said Catarina defensively. "There are so many therapeutic benefits to touch for patients in a co… For patient's like Alec."

Magnus' heart lurched at what his blue friend left unspoken. His eyes watered briefly, before he gently steeled himself and spoke.

"Let me do it," he said, his unguarded cat eyes pleading. "I believe you, but let me do it. Please. I can't just keep sitting here, I have to do something. Maybe if he hears me, or if my touch is somewhat… familiar…", He blushed briefly, hands gesturing vaguely, "then maybe that'll, I don't know… help", he finished lamely.

Catarina chuckled quietly, before handing the High Warlock of Brooklyn the bowl and cloth. "I was going to suggest this anyway," she said as Magnus began to gently wash his Angel's face, his gaze intent.

Magnus allowed his eyes to briefly glance in her direction, before he returned them to his work, desperately keeping watch in hopes that Alec might move, or shift, or something- but there was nothing.

The warlock gently continued his work as Jace joined him, flipping one of the long-backed dinner chairs around and resting his arms on the back, head dropping down and his blond hair covering his eyes. Neither spoke, but their shared grief was almost a comfort.

As Magnus finished up Alec's head and neck, he moved to strap the tube to the vent back in place but Catarina gently halted his movements with a hand on one shoulder. "What," he asked, concerned, "Am I doing this wrong?"

Catarina laughed, the sound a welcome break to the continual tension in the room. "Not at all," she said, "He just doesn't need it any more. Alec might not show that he's ready to wake up yet, but he is improving. He's been breathing on auxiliary support for sometime now- basically the vent has been assisting him to breathe, instead of breathing for him. We can take it out and replace it with a cannula." She held up a long thin tube. "It won't be pleasant for him, or for us, to remove it, but it is a step he needs to take before he's completely awake."

Magnus nodded, both excited and apprehensive at the thought of Alec improving and breathing beyond the tube. Jace stood and joined the Warlock pair at Alec's bedside, ready to help, but even more eager to see Alec turn a corner. Catarina had Magnus gently sit behind Alec, to prop his chest up for easier removal of the tube. Jace she had on Magnus' side of the bed, gently but firmly holding his Parabatai's shoulders as she herself removed the apparatus. The blue warlock gently removed the straps from around Alec's jaw and ears, allowing the soft Velcro to lie at her patient's side. Alec's head had fallen limply to the side as Magnus has squeezed behind him, so she slowly turned it back to its rightful place, placing her cool hand against the Hunter's sunken cheek.

Catarina squeezed in a shallow breath, taking in the Nephilim's pale, drawn face, her brow pinching as she calculated how far the atrophy had progressed during their time in the Chelsea house. He's going to have a long recovery, she thought sadly, running a gentle hand through the boys curls. But we will all help him. Even Madzie loves this one- rare for the Young One. This will be a turning point- for Alicante, for the DownWorld, for us all.

"Cat," Magnus voice broke into her thoughts, its uncertainty giving her pause enough to come back to reality. "Everything okay? Is it something with Alec?"

Cat smiled sadly, keeping her eyes on Magnus' Nephilim for one moment longer, before allowing her gaze to drift up to the Warlock's own tired yet attentive eyes. "He's fine," she said quickly, "let's get this tube out".

Each of the three readied themselves, Catarina slipping in her blue magic around the vent and down Alexander's throat, gently lifting the tube from any loose esophageal tissue, before wrapping her own slender fingers around its rubbery surface. She nodded at Jace, who quickly turned off the machine at Alec's bedside, before returning his free hand to its grip on his older brother's shoulder. "On the count of three," said Cat softly. The other two nodded, Magnus anxiously gripping his lover's hand with one of his own, his other shoulder supporting the raven-haired man's back./

"One, two, THREE," Cat quickly slipped the tube out of Alec's mouth, forcing a cough from the Archer, the first sound the boy had made in what tallied up to weeks. Alec gave several more coughs before his head dropped weakly to the side, eyes still firmly closed. Magnus snaked his arm further around his lover's shoulders, keeping the boy from tipping any further forward while Cat reached for the tissues at his bedside to catch the small amount of saliva that had slipped out of the corner of his mouth. As she gently wiped the Nephilim's lips, she beckoned Jace to bring her the cannula. "Hold up his head for me," she asked the blond, who quickly complied, bringing Alec's tired countenance up into the light, clearly visible to his family. Magnus quickly placed a chaste kiss on his temple, before Cat slipped the plastic tubes around his ears and settled it below his chin. She reached beside his bed then, plugging the tube into an oxygen supply that she had summoned to the room and turning the flow of air on. At her nod, Jace flipped the monitor back on, its electrical presence once again monitoring the archer's life, such as it was.

"Magnus, you can get up now", she said gently to her fellow Warlock, who hadn't taken his eyes off of his partner since his face was first made visible. "That took a lot out of him, he needs his rest- and so do you."

Magnus hesitated, before nodding quickly and gently surrendering his role as Alec's support back to the bed where the archer had spent his recovery. He gently summoned a few more pillows to the bedside, placing them gently beneath Alexander's shoulders, propping him up higher.

The others watched, Jace with an eyebrow raised at the Warlock's attention. Magnus blushed quickly, giving a gently cough of embarrassment before saying "I thought he'd like to see the room more when he wakes up. He doesn't like to lay flat, he says it's disorienting. Usually he'd wake up beside me, on my arm…" His cheeks colored further, more for his Alexander's sake than his own, "well, that's probably more than Alexander would've wanted you to know, but this is the least I can do. I don't know what else to do," he finished lamely. "I don't know what else to do".

Catarina came to him then, as Jace frowned, keeping his eyes down at the ground to minimize the Warlock's discomfort. "Magnus, you've already done so much," Catarina said gently, "Alec wouldn't want you to feel this way, to feel so guilty. YOU literally put him back together again, which, may I remind you, the King's horses and the King's men couldn't do for Humpty Dumpty," she said, her words prompting a small smile from Magnus, before she continued. "I know you and Alec had your differences, you fought, you ended things badly- but he WILL get better, he will remember you, and he will forgive you. Alexander Gideon Lightwood is an extremely special individual- he'd have to be, to have captured you so deeply, my friend. He loves you so very deeply, and his forgiveness is something to behold. He will forgive you, I truly believe it. You'll have your Alexander again," she finished quietly. "We all will."

Magnus gave several quick, shuddering breaths, before surprising the blue Warlock with a hug. "thank you Cat," he said. "Thank you." Releasing her, he turned back to Alexander's bedside, laying himself out on the other side of the queen-sized bed. He looked up at Catarina, who nodded her permission.

"It will be good for him to wake up to someone he knows," she said with a smile. Cat started to leave the room, Jace quickly on her heels, before she stopped him with a hand. "That goes for you too," she said, tempering her words with a smile. "I didn't magic all of this in here for it to go to waste. Make sure the both of you USE it. Take turns with him, help guide him back to this world, but don't overdo it yourselves. One patient is more than enough at the moment." She gave them both pointed stares, which they returned with wide-eyed, innocent expressions. She rolled her eyes, before gesturing once again to the cozy corner she'd set up earlier. "I'm going to go shower, when I get back, I expect one of you to be over there, putting it all to good use." The two boys nodded their understanding again, before returning their attention to the Nephilim on the bed. "Whatever," she muttered under her breath, before leaving the room to attend to her own needs in Magnus' luxurious master bathroom.

Thirty minutes later she returned to the master bedroom to find both the blond Shadowhunter and the High Warlock of Brooklyn sprawled on each side of Alec's bed, each with a hand on the raven-haired boy's own. She smiled gently, placing a blanket on each of them, without either stirring. "Maybe you'll all sleep better this way anyway. Although I don't envy you, Magnus, the crick you'll have in your neck tomorrow," she said laughingly as she examined his sleeping position. Goodnight, loves".


A few hours later, Magnus woke to a slight touch on his hand. Then another. He lifted his sleepy head, calling Jace softly, his voice blurry with sleep. But before he could call for the blond again, he felt a third touch against his arm. Magnus froze, turning to the boy on the bed, towards the one he'd longed for, while once again calling for his sleeping brother./

"Jace… Jace wake up, it's Alexander!"

Jace muttered sleepily at Magnus' first call, but at the mention of Alec, he sprung to his feet, instantly awake, tucking his long hair quickly back behind his ears.

"Is he waking up," he asked the Warlock, who was intently studying Alec's phase. Jace stepped up closer, taking Alec's left hand again from where it lay limply at his side. "Alec?"

Magnus didn't speak, so intent was he on his lover's face. He felt a fourth tap within his own grasp and leaned further in. "Alec, can you hear me?"

They both waited with anticipation as the archer's eyes fluttered, not daring to open, but grinned when they tried again to force themselves up against gravity. "You can do it," said Jace encouragingly, "Just a little more, come on, let's see those hazel eyes we've all worked so hard for. Just a little…"

His voice cut off with a choke as Alec's eyes didn't just lift, but flew open with a choked gasp, before rolling back up into his head, his back arching with an unnatural rigidity into the sheets, his grip locked around both of his family's. No sound came from the boy, his teeth tightly clenched.

As the boy shuddered on the bed, Jace began to shout, calling for "Catarina, Isabel, anybody!" The room began to fill as the various members in the house ran into the room at Jace's hoarse cry. Catarina forced her way to the front, taking in the scene in front of her.

During it all, Magnus remained still at Alec's side, almost as stiff as the boy himself. His grip tightly clenched in the archer's own, the Warlock couldn't help himself, he couldn't tear his eyes away, as he let out one tiny cry of his own.