A/N: This fic was created for the Malec Discord Mini Bang 2020 hosted by the a href=" /5nBgEp8" rel="nofollow"Malec Discord Server/a.
This chapter is available in a podfic read by the wonderful DarayFlair, which you can listen to at this link!: /works/26061766/chapters/63382840
My amazing Beta for this fic was Kakalebox, who you can find at this link!: /users/Kakalebox
I had so much fun writing this, so enjoy!
The world is burning and Alec Lightwood has nothing but regrets.
Alicante burns in merciless tongues of red and orange. Demons flock the skies, shrieking and diving and when they land it shudders the ground. Seasoned shadowhunters lie dead and dying upon ash-dusted ground.
Alec has a bow in his hand, a quiver full of arrows on his back. It isn't enough.
He had assured Isabelle that it would be okay because they were Lightwoods, because they could get through anything, defeat any foe if they just stuck together. Jace and Clary are nowhere to be seen and he and Isabelle had been forced to scatter upon being targeted by demonic creatures.
Alec had lost sight of her somewhere in the fight. Now there is only fire and rubble and death all around him. He is exhausted. His arms ache from firing arrow after arrow, and his confidence is frayed when each has little to no impact.
A demon swoops at him from the fire-tainted sky and Alec releases his arrows until he has no choice but to flee. It doesn't help him for long. The demon knocks him from his feet and he rolls on impact, wincing at a sharp pain in his shoulder. Claws slam into the ground at either side of his neck, pinning him to the ground. The demon snarls. Hot breath chokes Alec, soot and flame in his face, and he knows that this is his end.
He wishes he could have seen Magnus, just once more. He needs to apologise for saying those things, explain that he didn't mean any of it. He had planned on spending the rest of his life at Magnus's side. He planned on dropping to one knee and presenting him with his family ring. He had hoped they might be married. Now, it would never be.
Now, Alec would die here under the claws of a demon, another casualty of this horrific war.
A crack of blue flashes over the demon above him, and Alec gasps in shock as it disintegrates in the air. He shoves himself upright, twists around to see his saviour. Magic flares from bejewelled hands, catching the light across the rings adorning his fingers and glinting from the pendants around his neck.
"Sorry I'm late," says Magnus, hurrying to cast a magic-engulfed hand over Alec's shoulder, relieving the pain there in an instant. "Go inside. You can't stop them."
"Wait, where are you going?" Alec asks, but Magnus is already running. "Magnus!"
Upon nothing but instinct, he follows the warlock. Magnus is unfaltering, firing bolts of magic at demons that try to block his path. Alec helps when he can, notching an arrow in the string of his bow and firing at assaulting demons. It does very little, but he needs to be doing something. Alec has almost caught up with the warlock when he sees his sister, fighting for her life encircled by demons in an exposed courtyard.
"Izzy!" he yells, turning to a sprint.
Magnus shoots a fierce bolt of magic and it splits in the air, cracking into branches of golden energy to fell the demons with unearthly shrieks. Isabelle turns heel, panting for breath, relief in her eyes when she sees who approaches.
"Magnus," she gasps in greeting, looks to her brother. "Alec… We're too outnumbered. The towers are falling—"
"I know," says Alec, ducking when a demon flies too close. "We need the sword. Have you seen Jonathan? Is he here?"
Isabelle shakes her head, turns with a flourish of her whip when there is a yell from nearby. The group turn to see Jace and Clary running to them. Clary has tears in her eyes and Alec grabs her arm when she stumbles to a halt at his side.
"What is it?" he asks. "What's happened?"
"Jonathan," Clary utters with a soft tremor to her voice. "He destroyed the sword. He's gone."
Alec breathes out slowly, releasing her so he can pace back a little, running a hand through his hair. If they no longer have the sword, there is no way to banish the demons back to Edom. If Jonathan had disappeared, they had another problem to solve if they should live through this one. Too much is going wrong.
Alec looks to Magnus. Bathed in the light of fire and the shadows cast by overhead demons, his face upturned to the darkening sky, he looks almost more beautiful than usual. Alec doesn't understand how destruction can suit a person so well.
Alec thinks of the ring that he returned to his mother. He knows he has to explain himself.
"Magnus," he says, swallows hard when the warlock looks to him. "Your Father—"
"I banished him," replies Magnus, almost before Alec can even get started. He misunderstands Alec's intentions, but those words do make Alec's anxiety flare.
The shadowhunter blinks hard. "Where did you banish him to?"
Magnus lifts his eyes to the sky, the firelight of the rift reflecting almost luminescent in his dark eyes. "Edom."
Panic sparks Alec's eyes and he parts his lips to speak. What he wants to say, he isn't entirely sure.
A screech cuts him off and their harried group turns as demons descend on the courtyard. Alec grits his teeth, whips an arrow from his quiver and slots it into the string of his bow, aims to the sky in preparation to fight for his life and the lives of his family.
The world is afire and Magnus Bane feels nothing but frustration.
He is surrounded by his shadowhunter friends. Jace and Clary wield their blades defensively in front of them. Isabelle casts her whip into a staff, holds it forward in both hands. Alec holds his bow, the string taut against his cheek as he aims an arrow to the sky.
Much of Magnus's frustration can be traced to his boyfriend—or ex-boyfriend, he supposes. The shadowhunter had cast him aside, spoken words that Magnus had thought a hundred times over since losing his magic, giving them voice. Worse than that: giving them his voice. Alec had broken his heart.
Despite Maryse shedding light on the situation, Magnus is angry. It can't be helped and, more importantly, it fuels his magic. He lets it happen.
Casting both hands to the sky, Magnus drops a little on half-bent knees. He lowers his centre, as Alec had instructed him during their first (and last) training session. Alec could never teach him this, however. Magic bursts from his hands and the demons burn, shrieking as they plummet to the floor, grounded now by Magnus's power.
They don't disintegrate. Magnus is careful not to expend himself like that again, knowing there are too many demons for him to attempt in destroying every single one of them. The best he can do is injure them, bring them down for the shadowhunters to finish off.
Alec gives the order and the group converge.
A seraph blade and dual blades catch the light of the flames, a silver staff is thrust forward, arrow after arrow strike the demon. Magnus lifts a hand to his head, fights off the dizziness threatening to cloud his mind. Even through the daze, Magnus recognises the danger Alec has put himself in. A long-range weapon in such close proximity to a demon is less than ideal.
The bat-like wings are beating, frustrated by its lack of flight. Alec nocks three arrows into the string of his bow, drawing it back to his jaw, glaring and losing his arrows when the demon charges. They bounce off armour-plated skin.
"Alec!" Magnus shouts at him, runs forward to erupt a barricade in front of them, azure magic cracking in protective energy.
An anguished yell rips his throat, the razor-tipped wing of a demon catching his chest just below the collarbone as his magic falters and flickers. Despite his efforts, he always knew there was little chance of him getting through this without expending his magic to the point of it failing. It doesn't matter now. His fate is sealed.
"Magnus!" Alec gasps and holds him as he staggers, a hand supporting his waist, another to his chest in attempt to keep him upright. His palm comes back red when he lifts it at the warlock's wince. "God, Magnus, you're bleeding really badly."
Magnus grits his teeth, casts narrowed eyes to the sky. "I have to stop this," he growls, shakily prises himself from Alec's grasp. "My father told me about a way to increase my power, to make my magic stronger." His jaw clenches, lifting a hand to hold his wounded shoulder. "There's only one place that can be achieved."
Isabelle looks to him in fear. "Edom…?"
"Magnus, you can't," Alec says, reaching for his free hand. "Please, you're hurt. I know you've been expending your magic too much. You need a medic."
Magnus disentangles their hands, reaches to touch Alec's cheek. He isn't angry anymore, not even a little. "I know about the deal you made with Asmodeus," he says, knowing it may be the last chance he has to say this and needing his shadowhunter to understand. Alec's eyes narrow in pain. "I know why you did what you did. It's okay. I know everything."
"Then you know I can't let this happen!" Alec insists, pulling him in closer, pressing his lips to Magnus's forehead. "Please," he utters against Magnus's skin, ducks his head a little so their foreheads rest against one another. "We'll find another way."
"Alexander," Magnus whispers, his forehead pressing lightly against Alec's own. "You have to let me go…"
Alec shakes his head, holding Magnus closer, as if he believes he can keep the warlock here if he just holds tight enough. "No," he says, the firmness of his voice ruined with a crack of grief. "No, I won't let you do this. I can't let you…" He breathes unsteadily, closing his eyes. Apparently, he can't even say it, even though they both know it to be true. "Please, just stay here with me."
Magnus is quiet and still a long moment. When he moves it is to lean up and kiss Alec's lips, soft and lingering and broken too quickly. Still, Magnus believes he could kiss Alec a hundred times right now and it would never be enough. He wants so badly to give in to Alec's plea, to stay with him.
It can't be. Magnus simply is not designed for lasting happiness. He has been cursed since the day he was born to live eternally, alone. Now, he will die alone. Alec should never have to witness such a thing; he doesn't deserve that.
"I love you so much," utters Magnus, kisses him again, for the last time. "I will always love you, Alexander."
It is not something he usually says to his lovers because he is never certain he can say it truthfully. This time he knows. If only because he believes he will not live long enough to forget Alec—that he won't even live to tomorrow—he makes his vow with confidence.
"I love you too," Alec says and there is something like relief in his voice, as if he believes he has succeeded in convincing the warlock to stay. It hurts to hear. "I'll get a medic for you, okay? Come on."
Magnus bites back a sob. He slips a hand into his pockets, curls his fingers around the ring, that damned ring, and presses it into Alec's hand. The shadowhunters immediately ducks his head, tries to look at it, but Magnus holds his hand closed.
Magic flares his fingers and, stepping back from Alec, he casts a palm towards the shadowhunter when the young man frowns and tries to reach for him once again. His magic traps Alec's feet in place, keeps his hand firmly curled around the ring. Almost tripping over the abrupt force, Alec steadies himself, gives his legs experimental tugs and lifts a stricken look to Magnus, realisation striking his eyes.
"I'm sorry," Magnus says, closing his eyes and snapping his fingers, casting his other hand to twist a portal into being. "Don't," he warns the others as they move to run to him, his tone enough to have them halting. "Allow me this at least. Let me go with meaning."
"Magnus, please don't do this," Alec begs him, tears in his eyes. "Please, you won't survive there without help." Magnus simply stares at him a moment longer, his eyes round and sad, and Alec's eyes widen, shaking his head. Magnus knows now that Alec understands. It is his choice and his sacrifice. "No… No, Magnus, please!"
Magnus steps backwards into the portal, keeping his eyes upon Alec until the shadowhunter is engulfed in a haze of golden energy. The portal snaps shut and Magnus is met with the desolate landscape of Edom.
With the echoes of his fading strength, he casts a hand to the sky, wills the demons back to their home, to their new ruler of Edom. He doesn't see if they obey before the blood loss is taking its toll on his body, buckling his knees and sending him sprawling to the floor of his father's castle. He has to hope that his first and final order will be obeyed, even in death.
Memories fade across his mind, whispers of Alec lost to him as he slips further and further into darkness.