Title: Angels Anonymous
Pairing: Alec/Magnus, Isabelle/Simon
Word Count: 2,062
Summary: Alec doesn’t like spending his day off without Magnus. Magnus has his regular meeting to get to.
Authors Note: This is set in the year after the Malec wedding, before Clary sees Jace at the art exhibition. Jace isn’t present in this story, because it’s fluff and at this point Jace was a ball of manly angst.
It hadn’t taken Izzy long to realise that being the Head of the New York Institute was a lot harder than Alec had made it look, all these years. True, technically her parents had been co-heads for a lot of that time, but it wasn’t like everyone didn’t know that it was Alec doing all the hard lifting.
Oh, she’d been aware that he had less free time than she did, that the bureaucracy part was tedious and time-consuming. When she’d risen to the post of Weapon’s Master, she’d felt that she understood the stress he’d been under. She’d begun to feel the first stirrings of real remorse for all the extra work she and Jace had no doubt created, and their total lack of sympathy for him when he tried to remonstrate with them.
“Oh come on, Alec, don’t be such a stick in the mud!” used to be a common refrain.
As Weapon’s Master Izzy’s eyes had been opened to the amount of chaos involved when shadowhunters just ‘borrowed’ some gear to do a little ‘recreational demon hunting’. It wasn’t nearly as much fun on this side of things.
So when she’d been offered the job of Institute Head, she thought she knew what she was getting herself in for.
Wow, had she been wrong. Again. No wonder Alec had seemed perpetually grumpy before Magnus came along. Even now, she still had it easier than he’d had it. After all, Izzy had the luxury of knowing she had the Inquisitor on her side. No one was making her jump through hoops to prove her competence, and on top of that, she’d taken over from Alec, who ran his ship with a ruthless efficiency she’d grown to admire and now strove to emulate.
Which is why she hadn’t been expecting to see him come into her office while she was going over new equipment requisitions from the kitchens.
“Hey, big brother,” she greeted him, delighted to see him.
Alec was wearing his usual casual gear rather than the formal wear that he wore as the Inquisitor, which meant that he wasn’t here on business, which was great. She missed him, now that he was stationed permanently in Alicante. It was only a portal away, of course, but Alec had been her mainstay all her life.
Alec dragged one of the chairs over so it was facing the desk, and slumped into it. “Hi, Izzy.”
“Well, I can see you’re thrilled to be here,” she said dryly, making a few notations on her pad and then hitting the save button, so the morning’s work wouldn’t be lost.
Alec had the grace to look a little abashed. “I’m sorry. So, how’s life been treating you? Everything running smoothly?”
Izzy raised her eyebrows. “No emergencies since I last gave you an official report. Which was yesterday. Is there some way the New York Institute can help you, Mr Inquisitor?”
“No.” Alec sighed, dropping his head back. “Sorry. I’m just annoyed.”
Izzy sent him a look. “No, really?”
“It’s the first proper day off Magnus and I have had at the same time in weeks. I thought we were going to spend it together, but he ditched me for this ‘group therapy’ he goes to each month. Would it have been so terrible to miss a session? Just this once?”
Izzy didn’t even try to hide her mirth. “Group therapy? Is that what they’re calling it now?”
Alec frowned. “Why? What is it then?”
Izzy leaned forward. “It’s where Magnus and Simon and a couple of other downworlders get together and bitch about having to deal with nephilim all the time, of course! Simon told me they’ve even nicknamed them AA meetings.”
Alec gave her a blank stare.
“Mundanes who’re dealing with alcohol addiction go to AA meetings,” Izzy informed him. “It stands for Alcoholics Anonymous. They get together and share their struggles and support each other.”
“Anonymous? What, do they wear masks or something?” Alec asked. He eyed Izzy disapprovingly as she broke into giggles. “It’s a serious question! How do they maintain their anonymity if they’re not wearing masks? They can’t use glamours, and false names by themselves would be inefficient.”
Izzy finally got control of her voice. “It’s a trust thing, I think. They’re all there for the same reason, and everyone agrees that what’s said during a meeting stays in the meeting.”
“Well, it’s a stupid name then,” Alec muttered, scowling again. “What does it have to do with Magnus? I’m pretty sure I’d know if he was worried about his alcohol consumption.”
Izzy shook her head, fighting off another attack of the giggles. “No, Simon and Magnus aren’t actually going to AA meetings, they’ve just nicknamed their meetings AA. But instead of Alcoholics Anonymous, it’s for Angels Anonymous.”
“Because they spend them complaining about us?” Alec said, starting to look offended.
Izzy rolled her eyes. “Not us, you moron. Us, they love. Other nephilim? Not so much. Look, don’t stress about it. It’s perfectly normal behaviour. It lets them get their aggravation out of their systems, and then they can come home to us and not resent us for having the same heritage as some of the unmitigated assholes they have to deal with.”
“Yesterday I needed to go and see the Head of the Mumbai Institute, and their alarms didn’t even go off,” Lorenzo said mournfully, swirling what was left of his highly doctored coffee around in the cup before draining it. “Same again, please.”
Magnus snapped his fingers, the empty cup instantly replaced with one of the full ones that the long-suffering barista had prepared for them out back. It wasn’t a licenced premises, after all, but one didn’t go around saying ‘No’ to two of the most influential warlocks in the world. Not when they spent so much money each month, anyway.
Lorenzo continued his tale of woe. “One of the great joys of my life is paying unexpected calls on various Institutes and watching them scramble their response teams. Ruined! Possibly forever!”
Magnus made a pfft noise. “Mumbai! You know who does their wards? Torrald Gripe, that’s who. You can’t expect wards made by him to have any subtlety or finesse. Do you know, last time I saw him he told me that I’d overdone the wall sconces? Overdone? Me?”
Lorenzo frowned at him. “You did overdo the wall sconces. Three of the wall hangings caught fire because they weren’t spaced far enough apart.”
Magnus raised his finger in admonishment. A spark of blue escaped his finger, and a pair of seelies seated three tables away and who would have been in the direct path of a fireball—if he had chosen to fire one, which he had not—got up and hurriedly left.
Lightweights. Much better to be a Lightwood, which was what he was now. Magnus Lightwood-Bane. Simon was practically a Lightwood too, since he and Isabelle looked happier than ever.
“Lightwoods are better than lightweights,” he said solemnly, before remembering what he’d been going to say. “But! Lorenzo, I’ll have you know that I had nothing to do with the wall hangings, nothing!” He sniffed. “They were in bad taste anyway. Who wants gold hangings for a breakfast meeting? Someone needs to have a word with Hypatia about how vulgar ostentation looks.”
Lorenzo was nodding in agreement.
Simon eyed his blood mournfully. “Anything new happen to you?” he asked Meliorn hopefully.
Meliorn shook his head. “Nothing happened. Nothing bothers me. Nothing concerns me. I am not even here!”
Magnus and Lorenzo turned to gape at him.
“Meliorn,” Simon said slowly. “You are here. I can see you.”
“I know,” Meliorn agreed, reaching into a localised dimensional pocket and withdrawing a flask. He didn’t bother tipping it into his coffee, just drank it straight.
“You were lying,” Simon said, stating the obvious. “But seelies can’t lie. Meliorn, you were lying!”
“Shhhh!” Meliorn hissed. “I don’t want it to get back to the court. Do you know what it would do to my standing there? We have nearly finished the process of choosing a new Queen, and if it got out that I could lie…”
Lorenzo made a face. “Ugh. You would be a consort before you could turn around twice.”
“Exactly,” Meliorn nodded. “I do not want to be a consort! What a waste to the world that would be! To be made to limit myself to only one partner, forevermore!”
“You’re being over-dramatic,” Magnus said critically. “More likely they would pay to have you turned into a female and just make you the new Queen.”
Meliorn shuddered. “That, my friends, would be worse.”
Simon nodded, his expressive face showing his sympathy. “Yeah, no-one wants to be given a sex change against their will. Bad enough when they force you to change species! But do you know what the worst thing is?”
Lorenzo, Meliorn and Magnus all shook their heads.
Simon sighed. “I’ve started glowing if I spend too much time in the Institute. I think it’s something to do with the angelic core. So far I’ve managed to hide it, but soon someone’s going to notice, and then questions are going to be asked.”
Magnus wagged his finger at Simon. This time it was more than a few sparks that flew out, but he’d already provided Simon with a talisman of protection against accidental magical outbursts, so no one was hurt. And that table was ugly anyway and needed to be replaced.
“You must stay away from the Institute,” Lorenzo said intently, leaning forward to impress Simon with the seriousness of what he was saying. Unfortunately, he overbalanced, but he managed to catch himself before he face-planted. “If you are discovered, then it is inevitable that we are all discovered.”
“But I can’t stay away,” Simon nearly wailed. “Izzy is at the Institute! She’s the Institute Head!”
Meliorn moved so he was shoulder to shoulder with Simon and faced Lorenzo. “He is right. No one could expect him to give up the smiles and love of one such as her. It would be monstrous!”
“Inconceivable,” Magnus agreed. “She’s a Lightwood, you know. And if Sherwin made her sad, then Alexander would be sad. Steve, I forbid you to make Alexander sad!”
Lorenzo threw up his hands. “Then we’re all finished!”
Magnus thought about that. “If we’re finished anyway, we should start on the fairy-wine.”
Simon gaped. “You have a stash of fairy-wine, and you’re only now bringing it out? You’ve been withholding it all this time?”
“It’s for emergencies,” Magnus said simply. He waved a slightly unsteady hand. “Barkeep! Twelve shots of the fairy-wine, on the double!”
“He’s not a barkeep,” Simon said, looking eagerly towards the door to the kitchen. “He’s a barista.”
“He’s taking his time,” Meliorn grumbled. “I wonder if they have any pancakes? Fairy-wine always makes me peckish.”
“Barkeep, bring us pancakes!” Magnus decreed grandly.
Alec frowned. “You know, I think he’s been gone longer than usual. I wonder who he’s complaining about?”
Izzy rolled her eyes. “What does it even matter?”
“I don’t like hearing that shadowhunters are giving him a bad time still,” Alec said, crossing his arms. “I’m going to find out which angel-blooded bastards are giving him a hard time, and I’m going to put a stop to it. What kind of message is it sending other downworlders, if the High Warlock of Alicante isn’t getting the respect he deserves?”
“Oh, you’re so cute when you’re protective,” Izzy cooed. “Although it’s a little like watching a Great Dane coming to the defence of a Rottweiler. Just let Magnus sort it out himself.”
“What if something happened to them?” Alec asked, fifteen minutes later. “You don’t seem worried at all about Simon. He’s a daywalker, not invulnerable. Don’t you care?”
“Alec, if you don’t shut up I’m going to have you thrown out, Inquisitor or not,” Izzy said, levelling him with a glare. “Magnus is perfectly fine, and he and Simon aren’t in any trouble. They’ll be back any moment, and you’ll see that nothing is wrong. Now why don’t you just sit there and plan something nice for Magnus to make up for all his pain.”
“Fine,” Alec replied.
Izzy sighed. She loved her brother dearly, but he really did need to lighten up. Sometimes he was such a stick in the mud.