Escrita por: AtowncaledMalec
Magnus fixed his black bowtie in place and fastened the two buttons on his short black tuxedo coat. Giving himself a once over in the mirror in his bedroom, he grabbed a pair of white gloves off of his dressing table and pulled them on as he exited the room.
“Simon, you look dashing,” Magnus said when he found his friend in the hallway, knocking on Clary’s door.
“I could say the same to you,” Simon said, eyeing Magnus’ outfit. They matched, down to the color of their waistcoats and the side-parts in their hair. “Why does she always have to take so long?” he asked Magnus, knocking on Clary’s door again.
Simon was ready to get downstairs. He could already hear the jazz music floating up the stairs. It sounded like their party was in full swing down there. According to Magnus, they were supposed to make a grand entrance at the top of the stairs instead of meeting their guests at the door. He thought that was rude but it was Magnus’ shindig so he knocked again.
“Come on, Fray. We can’t make an entrance without you,” Simon called through the door, practically vibrating with impatience.
“Perfection takes time,” Magnus said, just as Clary’s door swung open. “See? You look beautiful, biscuit,” he said, holding his arm out for Clary to take hold of.
“Perfection takes time, Simon,” Clary said, tying the sash of her emerald green shift dress around her hips before taking Magnus’ arm.
Simon rolled his eyes. She did look beautiful, the green silk offsetting her blazing curly bobbed hair perfectly. Clary had still taken an age to get ready. Holding his arm out, he practically pulled the pair down the hallway when Clary pushed one gloved hand through the crook of his elbow.
“We’re supposed to make a grand entrance, Simon, not run down the stairs like a herd of elephants,” Magnus sighed, having no choice but to follow his friend’s lead.
“Well, I’m starving,” Simon said as they made it to the top of the curved staircase. The crowd that awaited them in the large hallway of their King’s Road townhouse hushed, looking up at them expectantly.
“Ladies and gentlemen, our guest of honor has arrived,” Magnus boomed out to the watching crowd, waving his free hand in Clary’s direction. They were throwing her a party to celebrate the success of her latest exhibition of paintings and the crowd was filled with mundanes and warlocks alike, all clamoring to talk to her.
Clary performed a little curtsey before accepting Magnus and Simon’s arms again, smiling for the clapping crowd, all dressed in their finest. She battled her nerves to negotiate the stairs with grace, feeling all eyes on her. If it was left to her, they would have gone out for a nice dinner and drinks, just the three of them.
Ever since the mundane world-war had ended, Magnus did love throwing his lavish parties, exclaiming it was their duty to boost morale after the tragedies that had befallen their countrymen, so Clary sucked it up with good grace.
She couldn’t blame Magnus for wanting to lift people’s spirits, and probably his own. Simon and Magnus had both been sucked into the war when drafting had been introduced and had returned from the front lines a lot different than they had been before they had left.
The whirlwind of meeting and greeting guests that followed left Clary breathless. An eye-roll of epic proportions strained her eyeballs, seeing Magnus in his element as he introduced her to practically every person present.
“I’m out,” Simon said when he spotted Lorenzo Rey making his way through the milling crowd. He’d rather spend time at the food table in the dining room with the mundanes than have to put up with the High Warlock’s pretentious ass.
“Who invited him?” Magnus muttered, reaching out to grab the back of Simon’s dinner jacket and missing by a mile. He let Simon go, pulling on a fake smile for the High Warlock.
“Congratulations on your latest exhibit, Miss. Fray. Your success reflects on all of us,” Lorenzo said, taking Clary’s hand in his own and bowing his head over it.
“Thank you,” Clary said, pulling her hand away before Lorenzo could press a kiss to it. Even with her elbow-length gloves, she wanted no part of the High Warlock touching her. She bit into her lip to stop from laughing when Magnus harrumphed next to her.
“And what exactly are you contributing to society, Mr. Bane? Except for a flagrant disregard for rationing in front of the mundanes?” Lorenzo asked, hearing the snide noise that escaped the warlock. “Parties are all well and good but they aren’t exactly hard work,” he said.
“More than you,” Magnus muttered under his breath. It was just like Lorenzo to try and muscle in on the credit for other people’s work.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that,” Lorenzo said, raising an eyebrow at Magnus.
“I’ve been collaborating on spell and potion books with several warlocks to add to the libraries at the Spiral Labyrinth, actually,” Magnus said with the sweetest smile he could muster, knowing that it didn’t reach his eyes.
“Magnus is being too modest. He and Simon are completely overhauling the libraries there,” Clary said proudly. “Centuries worth of knowledge are finally being cataloged and compiled into books,” she added.
“Nobody told me,” Lorenzo sniffed, eyeballing Magnus suspiciously.
“I wasn’t aware that we had to report our every move to you, High Warlock,” Magnus replied, scathingly. “You know, I found something odd, a couple of weeks ago, actually,” he said.
“Mhm, and what was that?” Lorenzo asked, snagging a glass of champagne from a passing server. He took an appreciative sip, unsurprised in the least that it was the good stuff. Magnus would serve no less than the best.
“A book of potions. It must have been at least three hundred years old,” Magnus replied, also taking a glass each for himself and Clary.
“What is so odd about finding a book in a library?” Lorenzo asked, looking around at the crowd. He spotted at least four warlocks that he needed to talk to just in the hallway. The house was packed with them.
“It was written in Simon’s handwriting. When I showed it to him, he swore blind that he had never seen the book in his life,” Magnus said, watching Lorenzo like a hawk. He’d recognized Simon’s scrawling chicken scratch immediately.
Lorenzo choked on his drink, a small plume of champagne spraying from his nose.
“And that wasn’t even the oddest thing about this potion book,” Magnus said, discreetly summoning Lorenzo a handkerchief to mop himself up with before continuing. “The book in question looks exactly like one that you wrote. It has all of the same potions in it, written word for word, but it is written in Simon’s handwriting, not yours.”
“It must be an early copy. I used to use scribes to create my potion books. Now, if you’ll excuse me?” Lorenzo asked breathlessly, bowing to Clary before scooting off.
“An early copy my arse,” Magnus muttered, eyes narrowing on Lorenzo’s swiftly retreating back. They had found several such books and texts in a small room that looked like it hadn’t been set foot in for at least a hundred years.
It had stumped the pair of them. All of those potion and spell books were written in several different handwriting styles, including one written in Magnus’ own elegant handwriting. And all of them were exact copies of books that Lorenzo had claimed to have written.
“I’m starving,” Clary said, trying to distract Magnus. She recognized the signs of one of his rants. Ever since Magnus and Simon had found the books, she had heard of nothing else. And frankly, she was tired of trying to figure the mystery out. Taking Magnus’ hand, she led him into the dining room, finding Simon at the buffet table, talking to a couple.
“Here she is now. Clary, I want you to meet Cathrine and Roger. They’re big fans of your work,” Simon said, introducing his friends to the couple who’d been asking after Clary.
“It’s so nice to meet you,” Clary said, shaking hands with the two mundanes. A sense of deja-vu struck her when she shook the woman’s hand. She was positive that she had never met them before but something seemed familiar about the beautiful black woman who held on a little longer than was necessary. She didn’t get the same sense of familiarity when she shook the old white man’s hand.
“Have we met before?” Magnus asked the woman when she took his hand in a tight grip, staring into her dark eyes. He took a deep breath through his nose, trying to see if she had a secondary scent but there was nothing from either of them. They seemed to be just a couple of regular mundanes.
“No, we haven’t,” Cathrine said, letting go of Magnus’ hand when she realized she was holding it.
“My wife has one of those faces. Instantly recognizable. If you will excuse us?” Roger said, taking hold of Cathrine’s hand to lead her away.
“Odd,” Magnus said, watching the couple go. He met Clary’s gaze when they exited the dining room, seeing the same confusion he felt, mirrored in her eyes. Something tugged at his brain, telling him that he knew the pair. Or the woman, at least.
Roger led his wife through the entrance hall and into a small parlor, closing the double doors behind him when he found the room empty. “Are you okay? He asked, dropping his glamor.
“Yes, it’s just hard, seeing them without being able to tell them who I am,” Catarina said, dropping her own glamor. She didn’t dare drop the spell that repressed her scent, scared that it would linger.
Ragnor took his mate in his arms, wrapping her up in a tight hug. “Remember last time? They can’t know. Not without the curse resetting,” he said, pressing his lips to his omega’s forehead.
“I know,” Catarina said, shuddering at the memory.
Five years into her dad’s last life, she and Ragnor had found Magnus, Clary, and Simon alone at a park in Bulgaria. They had been watching over the children since they’d found Magnus after their reset in 1884. The children’s warlock chaperone had left them alone for a few moments and Catarina had decided to use the woman’s carelessness to her advantage, to whisk Magnus, Clary, and Simon away.
Catarina and Ragnor hadn’t even made it ten feet into the air before Magnus, Clary, and Simon had reset. The horrifying screams of five-year-old children, recounting endless adult memories, were still branded into the inside of Catarina’s skull. She had decided then and there that she would never try to reveal herself to them again while they were still children.
The fact that she didn’t even know what had set the children’s curse off made Catarina weary of interacting with them at all. She didn’t know if it was seeing her face, or catching her scent, or even just her presence in their lives. Whatever it was, she never interacted with them without a glamour or spell in place that suppressed her scent.
The years between resets hadn’t been spent idol, however. Between Catarina and Ragnor, Elaine, Jocelyn, and Valentine, not only had they kept watch over Magnus, Clary, and Simon, and their angel mates, they had also kept track of all the comings and goings of the other shadowhunters and warlocks.
A few facts had been gleaned from those observations now that they had more people to study. Like the fact that mated pairs rarely found each other again during childhood. And that each pair reset, without question, when they did eventually meet. It had also become obvious that there were more cursed angel and demon couples than they had originally thought, well over 100.
They had discovered that both warlocks and shadowhunters alike landed all over the world when they reset but the individuals always returned to the same place, leaving them to believe that those craters that each individual landed in were their original fall sites. And that the warlocks and shadowhunters were more often than not raised by other warlocks and shadowhunters.
Their worst discovery was learning how one reset would set another off if there was another shadowhunter or warlock nearby. Some of those individuals hadn’t even gotten to meet their own mates before being sucked away into the bright glowing light, usually crying out a name before they disappeared. And although Catarina had heard about it from the time Jace’s surrogate daughter had reset, it was different witnessing it for herself.
What they hadn’t been able to figure out, so far, was what triggered the resets. They didn’t know if it was a specific thing, or if the curse kicked in when the couples saw each other. Some only got moments together, others, minutes. All they knew was that eventually, the couple would vanish, presumably to start over again.
Deacon, Olly, Becky, Terra, and Celeste had been tasked with digging through any book or text that they could get their hands on. They conjured books from warlocks' homes whenever they could, studying them from cover to cover but the search was as fruitless as it had been in the demonic realms. Even more so. There was nothing written about the curse in the mortal realm. Not even in old warlock journals or grimoires.
One thing that gave Catarina hope was that resets were a fairly common thing. Fate seemed bent on dragging these couples together, no matter if they lived on opposite sides of the world or in the same cities. The observations were constant and tiring but they watched and they waited for something to give them a clue as to how to stop it.
Waiting was the hardest part for Catarina. While she saw her parents regularly, it was usually from afar. Tonight was one of the rare exceptions she allowed herself. And that was only because Magnus, Clary, and Simon’s house was so full of other people. As long as she and Ragnor kept their glamours and the spells that suppressed their scents in place, they could blend in with the crowd.
“Are you ready to go back out there?” Ragnor asked, sliding one hand into Catarina’s grasp. He hated seeing his mate so upset. She was usually good at covering her feelings up but he knew better, could always feel how affected she was whenever she spent a moment or two in Alec or Magnus’ presence, through the mating bond they shared.
“Yes, sorry. I’m wasting my chance, aren’t I?” Catarina asked, pulling her glamour back in place. It wasn’t the glamour that she usually affected. She was too scared that her dad might recognize her. Instead, she had lightened her skin slightly and changed her hair to the latest bobbed fashion, changed her features slightly so that there was no resemblance between her true face and that of the one she presented to the world.
Ragnor pulled his own glamour back in place, already missing his mate’s beautiful face. He was luckier than her, he had only had to age himself and turn his hair white as Magnus, Simon, and Clary weren’t familiar with his usual glamour. Ensuring that his scent blocking spell held true, he opened the double doors that led into the entrance hall.
“Catarina, your father is here,” Ragnor breathed, his eyes landing on Alec, Izzy, and Jace who had just snuck in the front door. The entrance hall was empty but for the three fallen angels.
Catarina followed her alpha’s gaze, her stomach dropping through her asshole. She couldn’t help but stare at her handsome father and uncle.
They were dressed in pristine tuxedos with their hair combed flat to their heads in the latest style. And her aunt wore a silver beaded shift dress, similar to her own purple dress, that ended below her knee, pearls, and beads swinging from her neck with every movement. Her aunt had pinned her long hair into the latest bobbed style. They all looked amazing but they shouldn't be there.
“What are they doing here? They can’t… they’ll reset if they meet their mates,” Catarina muttered, clutching Ragnor’s arm for support.
“Should I try and send them away?” Ragnor asked, pulling his mate behind one of the doors to watch the shadowhunters. He knew for a fact that they were supposed to be at the Institute in Madrid, the Institute where they were currently based.
“I.. I don’t know. I don’t know what to do,” Catarina replied, watching her father and Jace hold a muttered conversation, both of them gesticulating wildly to get their point across. When Izzy’s eyes rolled at their antics, and landed on her, her decision was made for her.
Catarina stepped out from behind her mate and led him forward, aiming for the dining room where the party was loudest.
“Excuse me, is this party for Miss. Fray?” Izzy asked a passing couple, smiling when she caught the woman’s attention.
“Yes, yes, it is. Are you friends of hers?” Catarina asked, praying that her glamour would pass muster.
“We’re… fans of her work,” Alec said, letting his eyes rove over the couple. His brow furrowed, looking them over, hit with a sense of familiarity that was foreign to him. He was positive he didn’t know them.
“You’ve come to the right place,” Ragnor said, moving to take Catarina’s hand.
“Excellent. Won’t you escort us inside?” Izzy asked, linking her arm with that of the older gentleman. “I’m Isabelle,” she introduced herself, pulling him toward the music.
“Roger,” Ragnor replied, looking over his shoulder at his mate, wondering what the fuck he was supposed to do. She looked just as stumped as he was.
“Alexander,” Alec said, taking the woman’s hand and linking it through the crook of his elbow, supremely uncomfortable in the restrictive tuxedo that his sister had forced him into. He’d had to cut holes in the trouser pockets to be able to reach the daggers in his thigh holster.
“Cat… Cathrine,” Catarina said, breathlessly, helpless but to follow in Izzy and Ragnor’s wake. She glanced over her shoulder, just in time to see Jace dashing up the staircase that sat off to the left of the front door before he disappeared at the top.
Alec looked down at the woman he was escorting, his eyebrow rising when he realized she was sniffing him. He inhaled a deep breath of his own, trying to get a read on her but she appeared to be just a normal mundane.
When they reached the room with the music, Alec was hit with a confusing array of scents. The room was large in comparison to the size of the house, making him think that it had been enlarged with some sort of spell.
It was packed with people. A few lingered near a large table at the back or around the sides of the room but the majority were spinning each other around the dancefloor that had been set up in the center of the room.
“The Charleston, one of my favorites,” Izzy said to her companion, her face lighting up at the fast-paced dance that was going on around her. “Won’t you ask a lady to dance, Roger?” she asked, forgetting all about her mission to spy on the warlocks. She never got a chance to let loose and dance.
“I don’t think my wife would be too impressed if I asked another young lady to dance,” Ragnor said, trying to worm his way out of the request. He didn’t dance. Period.
“Nonsense. As long as you don’t run off with her,” Catarina said, seeing the clear disappointment on her aunt’s face.
During their observations, it had become clear that shadowhunters didn’t have fun. In fact, their lives were one endless cycle of patrols with the occasional run-in with a warlock.
“Thank you!” Izzy said with a small bob of her head toward Cathrine before she dragged Roger onto the dance floor.
Catarina bit into her lip to stop from bursting into a fit of laughter. Her mate was grumpy at the best of times but he had a look of abject fear on his face when Izzy started swinging him around the dance floor, Izzy leading.
“I’m afraid I don’t dance the Charleston but I can slow dance,” Alec said, holding his hand out to Cathrine.
If Alec was being honest with himself, he would rather clean the Ichor off of every blade at the Institute than dance but he was supposed to be blending in. All the better for spying on the warlocks.
“A slow dance is fine,” Catarina said, gruffly, taking her father’s hand. She inhaled his scent once more when he started turning her on the spot, holding onto his right hand and left shoulder. Tears threatened to well up in the corner of her eye when she remembered him and Magnus teaching her to fly.
“I take it you aren’t a fan of parties?” Alec asked Cathrine, sweeping the room with his gaze as he made his way around the edge of the dancefloor. The woman in his arms was tense, her body rigid.
“I’m afraid I don't get many chances to attend parties. I’m always too busy,” Catarina said, trying to relax a little. It was nice to spend time with her father, amazing to be dancing with him. But the thought of him resetting kept her on edge, no matter how much she tried to relax.
“Same,” Alec said, twirling the woman under his arm. The move had the desired effect of making her laugh when she almost overbalanced but he caught her, holding her tightly so she didn’t fall.
Alec hadn’t really spent much time with mundanes before, besides saving them from sticky situations with warlocks that they sometimes managed to find themselves in. But he decided he liked the woman. She was easy to talk to. And she’d volunteered her husband to Izzy’s whims. Meaning Izzy wouldn’t be pestering him to perform some wild dance with her in a room full of strangers.
“Do you wish you could? Attend more parties, I mean?” Catarina asked, staying on her feet when she twirled under Alec’s arm once more. “Is your life fulfilled or do you wish for more?” she asked when she landed in his arms again.
“More,” Alec mused. Did he wish for more from his existence? “Yes, I wish for more. I have a job that I’m dedicated to and I have a brother and sister who I love more than my own life. But there’s… something missing. If I knew what it was, I would wish for it,” he said, wondering where the words had come from.
Whenever Alec wished for more from life, something would come along and take his attention away from those thoughts. They would fade into the ether and he would go on, as he had before. But there was always something missing, some part of himself that he felt had been removed against his wishes. Without his knowledge. Waking up in a cold sweat and the empty pit that should be his stomach told him there was more out there. He just didn’t know where to look.
“Maybe things will be different, one day,” Catarina said, squeezing her father’s hand, silently adding, I promise. The shift in music alerted her a moment before someone plucked her from her father’s arms. Looking up, blinking in confusion, she found herself dancing with a mundane. Or rather, he was swinging her around to the new fast-paced song. She lost sight of her father, having no other option than to try and stay on her feet.
Catarina was passed to another mundane and a warlock before the music slowed down.
Looking up, Catarina found herself in the arms of a warlock that was familiar to her. Although, she didn’t know why. It took several moments before she realized who he was. And it wasn’t until the man opened his mouth that she realized exactly where she knew him from.
“Are you having fun, madame?” Lorenzo asked the mundane who had become his new dance partner, flashing his award-winning smile when she just gaped at him. “The gentleman that you were slow dancing with just now, what did you talk about?” he asked, eyes flicking up to the shadowhunter before finding his dance partner’s gaze once more.
“You?” Catarina stuttered, unable to come up with anything else. Shock stole all of the thoughts from her head, save one. The man that she was dancing with was the warlock who had taught her to glamour herself and had taught her the basics of flying when she had still been on the run with her mama. She hadn’t seen him in over three hundred years but she would never forget that smarmy smile. Or the ponytail.
“Me?” Lorenzo asked, looking around at the word that squeaked out of the woman. “I’m sorry, have we met before?” he asked, confusedly.
“You… I… I was a child, the last time we met. I was hiding from the mundanes with my mother. You taught me how to glamour myself…” Catarina said, staring at the warlock. When he shrugged, she let her glamour drop for the briefest moment before pulling it back up. Just long enough for him to get a glimpse of her.
“You’re still here?” Lorenzo asked, incredulously, finally recognizing the woman. It wasn’t every day one came across an Abraxian in the mortal realm. “Your demon parent should have come and gotten you,” he said.
“My demon parent?” Catarina asked, thoroughly confused.
“Well, I did send a message to the King of Abraxus, informing him that the child of one of his subjects was here. I assumed he had found your mother or father and that they had come for you. Demons are not meant to live in this realm after all,” Lorenzo shrugged.
Catarina went limp, sagging in the warlock’s arms. “You sent a message to Almadan… he… he was the one who sent them?” she stuttered. The room whirled around her when the music picked up again and she was plucked from the warlock’s arms. She barely saw what was happening through the blur of tears that filled her eyes.
All she could see was the shrug of the smarmy warlock’s shoulders, as though he hadn’t just dropped a bomb on her entire world. As though he hadn’t destroyed it when she was ten years old. If the warlock hadn’t sent that message, if he hadn’t interfered in her life, she would have been with her mother. Her mother would never have been torn apart by a pack of scavenging demons.
Pushing the arms that held her away, Catarina stumbled from the dancefloor, her hand pressed to her lips to muffle the desperate cry that tried to claw its way up her throat. So lost in her own pain, she didn’t see where she was going until she stumbled straight into a solid body. Her eyes closed, the scent of home filling her nose and her lungs.
“I’m sorry, Cathrine isn’t it? I didn’t see…” Magnus trailed off when the mundane collapsed into him, gripping onto his body. He didn’t know why but his arms wrapped around her automatically. When he had decided to join the dancefloor, a woman, sobbing into his jacket, was not what he’d had in mind.
“I’m sorry,” Catarina cried, unwilling and unable to pull herself away from her dad. The grief that constricted her chest like a vice pulsed through her in all it’s unbearable glory, hot tears splashing down her face. She just held on, gripping the back of his dinner jacket tightly.
“Do you want me to fetch your husband?” Magnus asked, automatically rubbing soothing circles into the woman's back. For reasons unbeknownst to him, he felt whatever grief had overcome the woman more sharply than he’d felt anything in a long time. Her tears pinched at some corner of his soul, forcing him to wrap his arms more securely around her while he searched the dancefloor for the woman’s husband.
Magnus’ eyes slid over the crowd, noting with a frown that a blonde shadowhunter was sneaking into the room. He kept looking, reminding himself to deal with one problem at a time. Maybe it was the fact that he had seen one shadowhunter but they seemed to be multiplying. His gaze flicked to a female shadowhunter, spinning wildly around the dancefloor without a care in the world. As though she wasn’t in a room full of warlocks.
Their glamours were good, Magnus mused. But he had trained his eyes to see past what shadowhunters wanted him to see a long time ago. It was how he had stayed alive this long. However long that might be. Curling his fingers through the hair of the shaking woman in his arms, he continued his search.
Magnus didn’t find the woman’s husband but he did find a third shadowhunter, lingering at the edge of the room. His entire body stiffened when he clapped eyes on the man, his eyes flicking over the shadowhunter’s black hair and dark runes, his perfectly tailored tuxedo, and tall frame. To meet the man’s beautiful hazel gaze.
Catarina looked up when she felt her dad’s entire body jerk against her. Looking across the room, following his gaze, her despair took a momentary back seat. He was staring right at her father.
Powerless to stop it, Catarina watched, half horrified, half in awe, when Magnus broke from her grasp and moved into the crowd on the dancefloor. She followed silently, wondering if Magnus was even aware that he was practically shoving people out of his way.
Magnus couldn’t have turned aside if he'd wanted to. Something about the beautiful shadowhunter called to the most basic part of him. It was as though the man had tethered a rope around his neck and was slowly drawing him in. He didn’t even want to fight it. He started sifting through the melee of scents that surrounded him, trying to pick out that of the shadowhunter but there were too many people surrounding him.
Alec didn’t hear whatever Jace was trying to tell him when his brother reached his side. He was too busy staring at the warlock who came ever closer with each step. The rest of the room seemed to melt away until it was just him. Just this perfect, beautiful stranger. Forgetting his brother was even there, he pushed away from the wall and started forward, powerless to stop himself.
Jace’s brow furrowed, his mouth gaping open. Alec had completely ignored him and then just walked away. When he followed his brother’s glassed over gaze, he stopped trying to get Alec’s attention, too swamped by the familiarity that took root in his gut when he saw what Alec was staring at. Or rather, who.
Jace was about to follow his brother when the scent of lotus flower and omega stole his entire focus. A deep growl burst from him when his gaze zeroed in on two warlocks dancing together, close by. One red-haired and beautiful the other a man that wasn’t him. All reason flew out of the window as he started forward, perpendicular to Alec’s path.
Catarina looked desperately for her mate, wondering if she should just club Magnus around the head and drag him through a portal. If he didn’t meet Alec then he couldn’t reset. Right? The ridiculous thought had her snorting. Nothing was stopping Magnus from getting to Alec. She found Ragnor, trying to sneak past Izzy without her noticing him, looking thoroughly worn out. Catching his eye, she jerked her head in Magnus’ direction.
“Roger! Do you want to dance again?” Izzy asked when the mundane tried to pass her. Taking his hands when he held them up, she spun them around, enjoying the jazz music immensely.
“Isabelle, I’m so sorry to cut this short,” Ragnor attempted to apologize for dumping Izzy but his mate looked like she was on the verge of a breakdown. Letting go of his aunty-in-law, he pushed through the crowd to get to Catarina.
Izzy followed Roger through the dancing crowd, mystified by his behavior. He had seemed such the typical English gentleman earlier on. She’d barely taken five steps after him when someone slammed into her. Reaching out, to stop herself from going down, she grabbed onto the guy’s shoulder, shuddering when she inhaled the scent of orange blossom and alpha. It was the perfect match of her own scent.
“I’m so sorry, that shadow… man just barged…” Simon stopped mumbling, wrapping his arms around the woman he’d banged into, to stop her from slamming into the ground. The wide, chocolate brown eyes that stared up at him had his own eyes widening, words failing him completely. As though his arms were working independently of his brain, he drew the woman closer. Much closer than was probably polite but unable to stop himself.
Alec lengthened his stride to get to the warlock faster. The man looked absolutely stunning in the pristine tuxedo he was wearing. Breathtaking, in fact. Shoving one last mundane out of the way, his brain shut down. He didn’t even think. He simply reached out and wrapped his arm around the warlock’s waist, pulling him flush against his body.
“Do I know you?” Alec asked, skimming his nose up the length of the warlock’s throat. His eyes slammed closed, the scent of sandalwood and omega flooding him. There was no way they could have met before, he would have remembered that scent. Would have remembered the firm, warm body pressed against his own.
“I don’t think so? I don’t know,” Magnus said, his hands sliding up the shadowhunter’s chest to grip onto his shoulders. He didn’t know much of anything right about then, his wits scattered by the pervading scent that wrapped around him. “Alpha!” he barked out, molding himself to the alpha's body.
Magnus stayed glued to Alec’s body, even when the crowd around them started whispering. Men didn’t act like this in 1927. Not in public anyway. He couldn’t say that he gave a shit, too busy getting lost in the scent of the shadowhunter and the sensation of having the man’s body pressed against his own.
An image of holding the warlock this close, in another time, flashed through Alec’s head. If it hadn’t felt so right to him, he would have questioned the image. As it was, he felt like he was exactly where he was meant to be. With exactly who he was meant to be with. Even more so when a second image appeared, of holding the warlock, the man crying in his arms. And a third, of both of them, making love like they weren’t going to get another chance.
The images disorientated Alec, leaving him reeling and wanting to see more, all in the same breath. More came, thick and fast. Not just of the two of them together, entwined in each other but also of the warlock and his siblings, the warlock’s friends, a small girl who cried and laughed with them.
“It’s like they’re drawn together. Like they don’t even have a choice,” Ragnor said, wrapping his arm around his mate’s shoulder. His eyes flicked from Alec and Magnus to Izzy and Simon, to Jace and Clary. All three couples had drifted toward each other as though some invisible lasso had wrapped around them and tightened. He knew that pull well, felt it every time he spent any amount of time away from his own mate.
“Everyone is staring,” Catarina whispered, looking around at the crowd. The mundanes were scandalized by the sight of two men practically wrapped around each other, the warlocks in the room, gaping at the three couples in shock. All except one person. The warlock who had ruined her life looked extremely angry.
“What is he doing?” Ragnor asked, watching the warlock Catarina was staring at. The man was trying to usher mundanes out of the room but they were having none of it, too busy staring at the spectacle before them.
Catarina pushed all thoughts of the angry warlock aside. Pulling at Ragnor’s arm, she drew him closer to her parents, wanting to see exactly what was happening, hoping to gain a clue about the curse.
“You’re my mate, aren’t you?” Alec asked, completely oblivious to what was happening around them. The fact that he even had a mate was a shock to the system. Never mind the fact that that mate was a warlock. He didn’t care that someone who was supposed to be his mortal enemy was his mate. All he cared about were the images that flowed in a steady stream through his head.
“They’re memories,” Magnus said, looking up into his alpha’s eyes, half seeing the shadowhunter, half watching the deluge of images that assaulted him. A vision of the shadowhunter, dressed in a white tunic and sandals, brandishing a sword, captured his attention and held him enraptured. It was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, the shadowhunter’s face a mask of righteous anger.
“Alexander? What is it?” Magnus asked when he realized the shadowhunter was crying, unsure of how he knew the man’s name. He just did.
“My runes turned black,” Alec said, pulling the warlock into a tight hug, burying his face in the man’s neck. “Magnus,” he whispered. The sensation of falling swept through him, forcing him to hold himself up with his mate’s body. The sensation of falling uncontrollably and an unbelievable amount of guilt. “I’m so sorry,” he said.
“What are you sorry for?” Magnus asked, running his fingers through Alec’s hair. He couldn’t envision a world where the shadowhunter had anything to be sorry for.
“For doing this to you,” Alec said, searching Magnus’ face. More memories flooded in, all out of order but they were all memories that he cherished. Something told him he wouldn’t have them for long. He didn’t even know how they were memories. They just were.
“You have nothing to apologize for, Alexander. I would choose these snatched moments with you a thousand times if the alternative was nothing at all,” Magnus said, reaching up to cup Alec’s jaw, his thumb sweeping over his mate’s cheek. That’s what they were, he realized, little pockets of time that they snatched for themselves.
“Me too,” Alec replied, letting the sensation of Magnus’ touch work through his entire body. It calmed him like nothing else ever had. For the first time in his life, he felt complete. No holes, nothing missing. “No, there is something missing,” he said, pulling back, unable to even identify what it was.
Catarina met her father’s gaze when he looked at her over Magnus’ shoulder. She had been listening to every word. Not all of it made sense to her but she felt the anguish behind the words. And the sense of peace that radiated from her parents while they stood so close together.
“They look so peaceful,” Catarina said to her mate. It was the first time in three and a half centuries that she had actually seen them together.
Ragnor nodded to his omega, his eyes sweeping over Clary and Jace, Simon and Isabelle. “They all do. They look like they’re complete…” he trailed off, noticing the soft glow that surrounded the three couples. It was barely discernible but it was there, nonetheless.
“Someone is missing,” Magnus said, looking around the room. His eyes landed on Catherine when he turned, both him and his mate catching sight of her. An image of a woman with a similar face, her skin blue, overlayed the woman’s face. Without thinking, he held his arm out to her. He knew, without a doubt, that she belonged with them.
“Come on,” Catarina said, ensuring her mate came with her, feeling his reluctance in his step. He had confided more than once to her over the last forty years that he sometimes felt like an intruder whenever she got close to one of her parents, that he didn’t want to get in the way while she had so little time with them. “They are your family too,” she said, as she often did. Her mate did just as much for Alec and Magnus as she did.
“It would be nice to meet Magnus officially,” Ragnor said, stepping forward with his mate. He hung back a little when Catarina was folded into a tight hug with both of her dads.
Surprise stopped Lorenzo from trying to get the mundanes to leave, momentarily, when he saw the Abraxian demon fold Magnus and his mate into a tight hug. This, he hadn’t been expecting. Leaving him to wonder who she was to them.
It took Lorenzo a moment but he pulled his gaze away from the trio and returned to the task at hand. It was no use, however. The mundanes didn’t want to leave, too interested in the latest scandal that they could tell all of their friends about.
“What are you doing here?” Magnus asked his daughter, smiling when Catrina kissed his cheek. The faint memory of meeting Jocelyn and Valentine in their previous life? paraded through his head. Though he didn’t know if he imagined it or not.
“All of us are here. We had to run from Edom when I met my mate. We escaped before Asmodeus could pull me into another of his schemes. The entire family relocated to the mortal realm,” Catarina said before pressing a kiss to Alec’s cheek too. “Father,” she whispered to Alec before pulling Ragnor closer. “This is Ragnor, my mate,” she said, introducing him to Magnus.
“We’ve met before, haven’t we?” Alec asked when Magnus just stared at the man their daughter had introduced.
“Officially, we’ve met once. It’s good to see you again,” Ragnor said, shaking Alec’s hand. “And it’s nice to meet you, officially,” he said, turning to Magnus.
Magnus took the man’s hand, shaking it with a firm grip, unable to believe that his daughter was there. That she had a mate and that he had missed it. When he had discovered his daughter was an omega, he’d been worried about missing her mating ceremony and about not being able to get to know whoever it was that was destined for her.
Looking at Catarina now, he could only be thankful that she had someone. He didn’t know how long they had been living like this but he did know that he had never seen his daughter so happy. She moved with her mate like they were joined by some gravitational pull that none of them could see. There was certainly something different about her.
“Does he make you happy?” Magnus asked Catarina.
“More than I ever thought possible,” Catarina said, grinning when she saw a flash of pride on her Alpha’s face.
“Then I’m so happy to meet you, Ragnor,” Magnus said, his hand tightening around Ragnor’s in a firmer, warmer grip. He appraised the man for a moment, smiling at what he saw in Ragnor’s eyes when the demon looked at his daughter. It was everything he could have hoped to see. “How long have you been mated?” he asked them both.
Ragnor looked around when the whispers that surrounded them grew to mutters. His eyes swept the room, noting the mundanes that were backing away from the group, their eyes widening with what he recognized was fear. Probably from the glow that surrounded the warlocks and shadowhunters in the room.
Lorenzo gave up on trying to get the mundanes out of the room. It was almost too late anyway. Instead, he started pulling power up from his core, building it as fast as he could, needing to do something before they saw what was happening.
“Forty-three years,” Catarina said, a little sadly. She had barely noticed it at first but the glow that always preceded a reset was brightening by the second. “We exchanged our vows and feathers the night we met,” she said.
“Feathers?” Alec asked, shaking his head to clear it when the image of peacock feathers filled his head. Other feathers took the place of peacock feathers. Black ones, with flashes of copper running through them, titanium gleaming with the black. Bronze speckles. White ones, tipped with gold, marbled with rose gold, glowing a bright silver.
A cold sensation built in the pit of Alec’s stomach, along with a big fat dollop of dread. He looked around, realizing that a lot of people were watching them. Clapping eyes on his brother and sister, not far from where they stood, he realized exactly what was wrong. It had him turning, his eyes meeting Magnus’ glowing golden gaze.
Alec’s eyes widened when he saw his mate glowing. Looking around, he realized that Magnus and his siblings weren’t the only ones. Every warlock in the room was glowing. Not as brightly as Magnus, or as brightly as himself, he realized.
“Alexander,” Magnus breathed, staring at his mate. The glow that Alec emitted brightened and with it, the panic that was filling the room rushed in. The whispering had turned louder, growing to mutters, and then to a couple of cries.
“What is happening?” Magnus asked, steadying Alec when his mate swayed. The sounds in the room increased but he only had eyes for his alpha.
“I love you,” Alec whispered, pulling his family close to him when an intense cold swept through him, ignoring the screaming mundanes around him. He sank into his mate, gasping, as the cold engulfed him.
Using as much power as he could muster, Lorenzo slammed his hands together, his magic pouring out with a ripple effect. Every mundane in the room collapsed to the ground. Their screams cut out in an instant.
“Alexander!” Magnus cried when his mate disappeared. He sagged into Catarina and Ragnor’s tight grip, looking up into his daughter’s eyes. An intense heat ripped through him.
“Dad, wait…” Catarina cried, clutching at the empty air when her dad disappeared too. Her head snapped around, watching with a sinking stomach as Simon and Clary disappeared. Jace and Izzy were already gone. “Damn it!” she yelled, watching the rest of the warlocks in the room disappear too, a cacophony of cries ringing through the room.
Ragnor took Catarina’s hand, feeling useless. He’d never wished to be able to break the curse more in his life than he did right then. Looking around at the mortals on the ground, he barely had a moment to wonder what had happened to them when he spotted the ponytailed warlock.
“Why are you still here?” Ragnor asked the man, staring when the warlock bent and pressed his hands to a mortal’s head.
“The question is, why are you still here?” Lorenzo asked, surveying the couple that had remained after the reset. “You’re a demon, aren't you?” he asked. The male was the female demon’s mate, he realized, seeing how close the two were.
“My mate asked you a question,” Catarina growled, picking her way across the room. There were at least thirty mortals lying on the ground.
“It is none of your business why I am still here,” Lorenzo said, sending his magic into the mundane’s body.
“I’m talking to you!” Catarina said. “Who are you?” she asked, holding her hand up to her mate when Ragnor started growling.
“It doesn’t matter who I am. Do either of you know anything about healing?” Lorenzo asked, opening his eyes to look up at the two demons who hovered over him. Relief spread through him when they both nodded.
“Good. There are too many for me to manage on my own. They will all need their optical nerves and ear canals repaired and you will have to wipe their memories. Mortals are too weak to withstand a reset. Their minds and bodies cannot handle it,” Lorenzo said before setting to work on the damage that the reset had caused.
“You’re Lorenzo, aren’t you?” Catarina asked, watching the warlock send his magic into the mortal he was crouching next to. It was the only explanation she could come up with. If she had hated him before, it was nothing compared to what she felt for the warlock now. Not only had he ruined her life, but he was also responsible for her family's misery while they had to endure the curse.
“Yes, I am. Now, will you please help me? The mortals won’t heal themselves,” Lorenzo sighed, tamping down his anger. The woman was making it difficult to concentrate.
“I want answers!” Catarina yelled, frustrated beyond relief. “What do you know about the resets? Why are you even here? And why do you remain when every other warlock resets?” she asked, wanting to throttle the warlock.
“Why do you care?” Lorenzo asked, losing his temper.
“Because they are my family. I have to watch my dad reset, over and over again. You are the only one who…” Catarina said before she was so rudely interrupted.
“Magnus Bane is your father?” Lorenzo asked, staring at the woman. No wonder she was being such a pain in the ass.
“Bane? His name is Magnus,” Catarina said, confusion pulling her eyebrows into a thin line.
“Watch yourself,” Ragnor warned the warlock when he shot to his feet, pulling his mate away from the man.
“This is all his fault. Seeing as he can never keep away from his mate for more than a few decades at a time, you can handle this mess. Heal them,” Lorenzo said, turning away from the couple to create a portal.
“Hey, where are you going? I haven’t finished with you,” Catarina yelled, stepping forward to grab the warlock’s arm.
“Oh yes you have. I do not have time to deal with this. I need to deal with the fallout that your father caused when he reset forty warlocks tonight. Forty! You don’t even understand what that entails, do you?” Lorenzo snarled, yanking his arm from the woman’s grip.
Just thinking about the consequences of the latest reset set Lorenzo’s teeth on edge. He now had forty newborn babies to collect before they could be frozen or burned to death by the elements. Or eaten by wild animals. It didn’t help that they were scattered all over the world.
Lorenzo groaned. Not only that, but he would have to recall every warlock to his home in order to raise the newly reset children and protect them all from any move Jonathan Shadowhunter might make against them now that they were so severely depleted. A mass reset had happened only three times over the last five centuries and was the reason his home was so large.
“Heal them and then return to the shit hole realm you came from. There is no place for you here,” Lorenzo said, stepping through his portal.
Ragnor tried to follow the warlock but the portal blinked out of existence before he could take a couple of steps. A deep growl of frustration erupted from him.
“Let him go,” Catarina said, bending down to check over the mortal Lorenzo had been working on. She shook her head when she realized that Lorenzo had put all of the mortals to sleep. She’d thought they had died when she’d first seen them collapse.
“We could have followed him and finally found out where the bastard lives,” Ragnor said, moving to the nearest mortal to assess the damage that had been done. He was nowhere near as good a healer as his mate but he had some skill. It rankled that they had never been able to find the mysterious High Warlock. The guy was a hermit.
“Don’t worry, we’ll find him,” Catarina said, holding her hand up to show Ragnor the button she had snagged from Lorenzo’s tuxedo jacket. “If he thinks my dad has given him hell over the last three and a half centuries, he’s seen nothing yet,” she said before setting to work on the mortal. It was going to be a long night.
Jonathan Shadowhunter climbed to his feet, shaking from the grim feeling in his stomach. He took a moment, to gather himself, breathing hard from the onslaught of resets he’d just felt before he grabbed a sheet of paper and a stylus from his desk.
Jonathan took a seat and sorted through all of the resets he had just felt, making a list of shadowhunters that needed to be retrieved from their fall sights. Once he was done, he rushed from his office.
“Snowglade, come with me,” Jonathan commanded when he found Claire Snowglade on his way to the vast training hall. She was one of his elite, a corp of guards that he kept stationed within the Gard at all times. Ever since the two demons had tried to attack him near Lake Lyn. “I want you to gather your team, I have a mission for you,” he said.
Claire followed Jonathan into the training hall, surprise tugging her eyebrows up. They never went on missions. She signaled to the rest of her team when she found them, training in the corner. A few other shadowhunters, the ones who weren’t a part of her personal corp, watched until they too were summoned forward.
“The warlocks are planning something,” Jonathan said when all of the shadowhunters gathered around. “The elite corp will come with me. The rest of you will send fire messages to the Institutes and make preparations. I want the entire enclave back here by the time we return. They are to lock down the Institutes and ward them against intruders before they return,” he commanded, dismissing the regular shadowhunters.
“Snowglade, I want your corps geared up and armed. Meet back here in ten minutes,” Jonathan instructed before turning on his heel to head to his quarters.
Jonathan made his way down the corridors, wondering what the fuck had happened. Mass resets had happened before but they were rare. It usually only happened when a large group of shadowhunters or warlocks were gathered in one place. It was one of the reasons he split them up and sent them all over the world in small groups. That and the fact that the warlocks were everywhere.
The thought brought Jonathan up short. A groan escaped him. “Those fucking Lightwoods,” he muttered, continuing down the hallway. He had sent them on a mission to spy on a few warlocks that were hosting a party in London. They were supposed to sneak around and try and gather any information that they could find.
Realizing that one of them must have met their mates, Jonathan kicked his bedroom door open, almost breaking it off its hinges. There must have been more warlocks in attendance than he had first thought.
Jonathan quickly changed into his leathers and loaded himself up with weapons, rolling his aching shoulders as he did.
If there weren’t so many of them, he could have gone by himself but some of the fall sights were located in parts of the world that were too hot or cold for a newborn to survive for long. Once he’d geared up, he returned to the hall and found his elite corps ready and waiting.
“I need you all to travel to these coordinates and collect the children that you find there. You are to mark each child with an angelic rune and bring them straight back to Gard, all of you,” Jonathan said, noting that the group of twenty elite shadowhunters had split themselves into groups of two. Snowglade had trained them well. He ripped the list of shadowhunters and their locations into more manageable chunks and distributed them between the smaller groups.
“Snowglade, Trueblood, you’re with me,” Jonathan said, creating a portal for the three of them. The two women tended to work together more often than not.
Maryse exchanged a mystified glance with Clair when they emerged from Jonathan’s portal to find themselves standing on the edge of a crater. She silently followed her partner and Jonathan into the crater, her surprise only rising when they found three babies.
Jonathan knelt on the ground and pulled his stele out. He wasted no time in Marking Isabelle, Jace and Alec with their angelic runes before handing them over to Snowglade.
“Take the three of them back to the Gard,” Jonathan said when Snowglade had a grip on the three of them. Thankfully, they were small. “Trueblood, come with me. We aren’t done yet,” he said.
“What am I supposed to do with them?” Claire asked over the loud cries of the three tiny naked children in her arms.
“Raise them. The girl is called Isabelle, the blonde boy is called Jonathan Christopher, the brown-haired boy is called Alexander,” Jonathan said, turning to create another portal.
“All three of them? I don’t know anything about babies,” Claire said, not bothering to try and hide the panic in her voice. The children were screaming.
“Trueblood will help you when she returns,” Jonathan shrugged.
“I don’t know anything about babies either,” Maryse choked out. Collecting them was one thing. Raising children was a whole different thing altogether. She was a warrior, not a mother.
“You’d better learn fast then. The pair of you,” Jonathan said, creating his portal. There were more children to collect.
Maryse exchanged a terrified glance with her friend before she created a second portal for her. When Claire stepped through it, she followed Jonathan through his, wondering how the fuck they were supposed to raise three kids. And where they had come from.
Magnus hit the throne room floor hard, his breath exploding from him with the impact. It didn’t take long before Clary and Simon slammed down next to him. Confusion pulled his eyebrows into a thin line when he looked around, trying to sort through everything that had just happened.
A voice, however, stole Magnus’ focus. And it wasn’t his father’s voice. Looking up, his eyes widened when he saw who was sitting on his father’s throne. “Lilith?” he asked, climbing to his feet.
“Where?” Simon asked, still a little fuzzy from the whirlwind of the reset. He went when Magnus pulled him to his feet, glaring when his eyes landed on the demon queen.
“Magnus? What are you doing here? I thought you were banished to the mortal realm for mating an angel?” Lilith asked, watching the trio of demons who’d landed in the throne room climb to their feet.
“I was. Where is Asmodeus?” Magnus asked, helping Clary up too.
“He didn’t send you?” Lilith asked, letting her magic simmer under the surface in case they tried anything but all three of them shook their heads. “Then why are you here?” she asked.
“Because my father loves to torture me between resets. He drags us back here whenever we reunite with our mates in the mortal realm,” Magnus muttered, looking around the throne room. It was completely destroyed, the walls barely standing. “Where is Asmodeus?” he asked again.
Simon wanted dearly to cross the throne room and throttle the smirk from Lilith’s face. The only thing that stopped him was Clary’s hand on his arm.
“Well well, Asmodeus has been a naughty boy,” Lilith said. Demons were not supposed to be brought back when they mated the disgusting angels. “I don’t know where he is,” she said, seeing that Magnus wouldn’t let the matter drop.
“What do you mean?” Clary asked, stopping Simon from moving forward once more. She didn’t back down when Lilith turned her gaze on her.
“Asmodeus went to war with Almadan. He left this realm and took half of its inhabitants to invade Abraxas. The king was not happy with that at all. He almost destroyed Asmodeus before your father turned tail and ran,” Lilith said to Magnus. “When he tried to return, the remaining inhabitants of this realm cast him out. I think they were unhappy with being his own personal army. And with no heir to frighten them away…”
“He wasn’t strong enough to stop them,” Magnus finished for her. He couldn’t say that he cared either way. His father had had it coming. It was pretty obvious to him, judging by how comfortable Lilith looked on the throne, that she had taken advantage of Asmodeus’ folly and taken the realm back.
“I have no doubt he’s hidden somewhere, plotting his revenge. He doesn’t forgive easily,” Magnus said, eyeing the demon queen. “Is there any chance you would be willing to remove the curse?” he asked on a whim.
“Why would I do that? You are being punished, Magnus. It is our number one rule. You do not mate the angels. It’s worse than mating with mortals,” Lilith said with a shudder, wondering why any sane demon would want to.
Magnus wilted, wondering why he had even gotten his hopes up. It wasn’t even like he had anything to bargain with.
“Would you at least remove the spell that drags us back to this realm?” Magnus asked hopefully. If it hadn’t been for Catarina and his friends’ families, he would have demanded that it be removed centuries ago. He took Simon’s hand when Simon turned on him, leaning close to whisper to Clary and Simon. “Catarina said that the entire family is in the mortal realm. There’s no reason for us to come back here.”
“What’s in it for me?” Lilith asked, getting down to business. The thought of getting one over on Asmodeus was particularly tempting. He had run her realm into the ground over the last millennium.
“We won’t return to this realm again,” Magnus shrugged, turning to his friends. “We return here what? Every thirty, forty years?” he asked them.
“Every twenty, at least,” Clary replied, watching Lilith’s reaction. The Queen didn’t look too bothered.
“I don’t care about this realm. None of us do. It will be no hardship to see the back of it,” Magnus said, realizing that their argument hadn’t swayed Lilith either way. “But, if you don’t remove it, I will find a way to help my father take it from you once more. My father lost his heir the day he turned his back on me. Make no mistakes though, Lilith. I will take that title back if you don’t help us,” he said.
“Fine,” Lilith said, climbing to her feet when the trio moved forward, still watching for any sign that it was a trick. She placed her hand on Magnus’ forehead when they reached her, pushing her magic into his body to see what kind of mischief Asmodeus had weaved. A laugh escaped her when she saw what he had done.
“He’s a sneaky bastard,” Lilith said, removing her hand from Magnus’ head. When he raised an eyebrow at her, she ushered them back and turned. “Your father twisted the curse so that the three of you would be linked. He anchored a small part of your soul to his throne, Magnus. As long as the throne is intact, you will return here when you find your mates,” she said.
Gathering a small amount of power, Lilith lashed out at the throne, destroying it and the anchor along with it.
“Watch your back, Lilith. Asmodeus will come for this realm,” Magnus said, shaking his head to clear it. The usual sensation that accompanied a return to the mortal realm flowed through him.
“Don’t worry, I’m well prepared for when he does,” Lilith said, creating a new throne for herself. One that was much more comfortable than the one she’d just destroyed. When she turned back around to sit on it, they were gone.