Word Count: ~2,000
Summary: Science is messy. Elements reject each other. Things combust and fall apart. Life is a science, and therefore no exception.
Pairings: Alec/Magnus, AlecxIsabelle, one-sided SimonxIsabelle
Warnings: Nothing really, not yet. Will get worse in progressing chapters.
Disclaimer: The characters (with the exceptions of Jason Clearwater and Robert Longfellow) and universe presented in this are property of Cassandra Clare, not me. I am merely a fan who writes for her own amusement.
Note: Hi everyone :] I'm not dead yet. I'm really excited about this fic, considering it may be the first one I actually ever finish. Much love to Loki(xlokifoxx)for beta-ing this for me. She's a saint. I have the second and third chapters all written and I'm starting on the fourth pretty soon so updates should come fairly regularly. Thanks so much to everyone who reads/comments.
a moderately reactive metal and a strong reducing agent
There’s a break in the conversation when Alec’s phone rings, vibrating across the tabletop like some mad whirling dervish. “Call From Jason Clearwater.” The phone’s blaring electronic voice announces. The couple two tables over shoots Alec a disapproving look before turning back to their meal. He ignores it, staring vacantly at the offending cellular device like it’s done something vaguely disappointing and he’s debating between scolding it or just letting it go. The electronic voice announces the caller’s name once again. Alec does nothing.
“Are you going to get that?” Magnus inquires, raising an eyebrow. Alec just shrugs, resting his chin on his hand as he waits for the phone to shut up. It stops after about a half minute. “Who was calling?” Magnus asks nonchalantly. He doesn’t want to sound like he particularly cares, because Alec might take that as an indication of him being jealous and that’s the last conversation Magnus wants to get into with him, especially here, especially now. Alec chews on his lip, reaching for his fork so he can resume his previous engaging activity of staring at the table and picking at his steamed vegetables.
They’re out for dinner, to commemorate the rare occasion of not just one, but both of them getting off of work on time for once. Sometimes it feels like years since they made the move to Alicante so that Magnus could take up the Lilithian Senate seat, other times merely weeks. For the record, it has been two years, seven months, two weeks and five days.
Not that he’s counting.
Now that his term has ended for the year, they could, in all theory, move back to the Brooklyn loft until re-elections came along, but he knows it would be fruitless. No other warlock was insane enough to want the job and he would win the election by proxy, as he had for the past two years. And, regardless, moving would force Alec to switch jobs. The Council would surely give him a position in New York, but even if he won’t admit it (and, being Alec, he never does) he loves his job in Alicante. It wouldn’t be the same in New York.
His phone is ringing again and, though this could just be Magnus’s ears playing tricks on him, it’s ringing a little louder, vibrating a little harder, as though to catch Alec’s attention. But Alec just sits back and rests his elbows on the arms of his chair, biting his thumbnail and staring blankly at the table. He must have turned something on the phone off because it no longer announces who’s calling, but the noise is distracting all the same and it’s drawing more than a few angry glares from the surrounding tables.
“Sure you’re not going to get that?” Magnus asks once more, leaning forward slightly. Alec shakes his head.
“I’m sure it’s not urgent.”
“Are you positive? I won’t mind. You really should answer it.”
“No, Magnus, it’s alright.”
He takes a bite of his pasta, hardly tasting it, though he’s sure it’s very good (it better be good, for the price tag attached to it). He’s more occupied with the person on the other end of the phone; the one Alec refuses to talk to. He’s more than used to his boyfriend’s secretive calls and code worded gibberish because it’s all part of his job. Occupational hazards and all that. But normally, the minute Alec’s phone emits any sort of sound or vibration (and sometimes even when it doesn’t), it’s out of his pocket or off the table or retrieved from wherever it is and answered before Magnus can snap his fingers twice. There are a lot of things you can say about Alec, but not being dedicated to his job certainly wasn’t one of them.
The phone falls quiet and their table is awkwardly silent once again, the clatter of silverware and soft conversation from the surrounding tables filling the space where their own banter should have been. Something’s bothering him. Magnus can tell. He’d bet all the glittery eyeshadow that money could buy on the thought that Alec knows exactly what the person on the other end of that phone call is going to tell him. And in the classic Alec Lightwood way, he’s avoiding it and avoiding it and avoiding it.
Not more than a minute of silence goes by before the ringing starts up again. Like the two previous instances before it, Alec sits and does nothing. It vibrates once, twice, a third time and then-
Magnus throws down his fork. “Goddamit it, Alec, answer your fucking phone.”
“Magnus, it’s not anything-“
Gold eyes narrow, glare into blank blue ones.
‘Answer. The Fucking. Phone.”
Magnus spits the order through his teeth, immediately regretting the harsh edge of his words the minute they leave his mouth. Alec sighs, grabs his cell and hits the call button before pressing it to his ear and answering with a crisp-
‘Major Lightwood speaking.”
The title is fairly new, awarded just a few short days ago at a small pomp-and-circumstance ceremony at the Hall of Accords. Alec has tried to explain the difference between and Major and a Commander to him (they’re both of equal importance, they just do different jobs, right?) and the significance of the elevation from Captain to Major (don’t even get Magnus started on that one). He’s never really been all that interested in the military and politics but he nods and listens along, for Alec’s sake more than his.
“Yes, I was aware.”
Something is definitely wrong. Alec’s mouth is twisted off to the side, his face draining of the little color it possesses. Magnus leans forward subtly, trying to catch any sort of dialogue coming off the other end of the phone. Alec turns slightly, twisting in his chair in an attempt to move away.
“I was contacted by Booking early this morning….I thought it would be best if I stayed out of it. Conflict of interests and such….”
More muttering from the man on the other end of the phone. Alec’s brow furrows and Magnus watches as he swallows heavily, his Adam’s apple bobbing. The man on the end of the phone clears his throat, as though getting ready to say something uncomfortable. Magnus leans forward a little more and this time Alec doesn’t turn away.
“Major Lightwood, she…..she asked for you. For you to….to come in. To see you.”
Alec closes his eyes, makes a little sound of frustration or anger or sadness in the back of his throat.
“Who is he talking about, Alec?” Magnus asks, but Alec holds up his hand and then gestures to the phone, as if Magnus is an idiot and can’t see that it’s there. “I can see the phone, Alec, who are you talking to?”
“Magnus, I’m on the phone!” he hisses and Magnus can’t help but roll his eyes because, oh please, who is the one who’s over five hundred years old in this relationship? Alec has got to stop assuming that he’s so much smarter because he’s a goddamn Nephilim. Alec returns his attention to the conversation at hand, his expression return to that distressed look that alarms Magnus slightly. “Yes….yes, okay, of course, I’ll be there immediately.” Magnus sighs. Another night interrupted once again by the Council of Downworlders. He should be used to it by now, and in a way, he is, but he can’t help that sinking feeling of disappointment whenever Alec has to walk out of a dinner or a trip somewhere or even just a night at home, watching dumb movies. The feeling has less to do with Alec’s actual departure and more in correlation with the fact that Magnus knows that it isn’t, and never will be, the last dinner, the last trip, the last night in that his boyfriend has to leave in order to service the demands of his job.
Alec hangs up and immediately buries his face in his hands, pressing his palms against his skin for a good half a minute before Magnus dares to ask. “What was that all about?” Alec swallows again, lowering his hands and reaching behind him to grab his suit coat off the back of his chair.
“It’s my sister.”
His sister. Magnus understands. He can’t really remember Isabelle Lightwood; it’s been almost, what, ten years now? He can recall long black hair and long pale legs and an attitude sharp enough to slice cloth. And he can remember as he knew her last- cold as ice, solid, almost psychotic in her intensity and he can remember Alec pleading with her, kneeling beside her as she stared out her window, clutching her hand and begging her- “Please, Izzy, please just say something, anything. What happened to you? What happened to my baby sister?” He wasn’t really around for the last few months before everything went to hell. All his knowledge stems from Alec and Jace’s second hand accounts. They fought- Isabelle and Maryse and Robert- constantly. Isabelle was losing it, going from one extreme to another- ice cold to burning hot. Everything was something to overreact to. It was as though she had answered Alec’s plea- to return to how she used to be- in the most extreme way. Suddenly, she was the old Isabelle Lightwood times ten. Partying constantly, showing up to dinner buzzed, leaving right after in the passenger seat of the cars of random men. She would come onto Jace, openly insult Clary, avoid Alec as though he carried the plague. This is the Isabelle Lightwood that Magnus remembers. She ran away, eventually. They woke up one morning and she was gone. Still registered with the Clave, but untraceable. Isabelle became a legend- stories would circulate in bars and clubs and Shadowhunter gatherings of the famed Lightwood girl, the one with a whip like lightning and eyes that lit up like the pits of hell when she was in the heat of battle, the one who ran away and had no ground connections anymore, but showed up to fight demons, just like the rest of them, before leaving immediately after. A phantom. There were those who claimed she wasn’t real and, for a time, Magnus began to doubt if she was. But, in the end, he knew that was impossible. No one could just come up with a heroic mess like her. Isabelle Lightwood was all too real.
“What happened?” Magnus probes gently, not wanting to push him too far. Alec and Isabelle had something between them, something dark and horrible and beautiful and private, with no room for prying parents or other siblings or boyfriends. Magnus had never asked what it was, for fear of what the answer would be. Alec stares at the phone in his hand, still stunned at whatever he had just been told.
“She’s been arrested.”
Magnus is less shocked at the idea of her being arrested and more surprised that she had even been found. “For what?”
“Magnus…” Alec’s voice shakes a little, his hands do too, and he reaches for his water and takes a sip before continuing. “By the angel, Magnus….they’re saying that she killed someone.”
And just like that, he’s up and out the door. If it was anyone, anyone else who was being accused, Magnus would have thrown down two hundred dollars and followed him out. But it’s Isabelle, Isabelle, and all Magnus can do it sit and watch Alec stumble out the door.
It’s going to be a long night.