The Institute

Alec was finishing up getting the baby ready, I wondered how that worked. The boy was blue and it wasn’t something you could hide, but Magnus stepped into the nursery bleary eyed and waved his hand over his son with affection and the child’s appearance flickered. I stood outside the nursery watching them while I waited for Alec to finish up. Magnus smiled with sparkling eyes still undone from sleep. Golden-green cat eyes flashed quickly before he covered them up. I smiled, “I still saw. I’m not going to judge.”

He gave me that knowing grin and waved blue sparkling flames at me before he slipped back into the bedroom. Alec was carrying a perfectly normal looking child. “My mother wants to see Max. And it frees the babysitters up with us both gone today.”

I shrugged. “I have permanent care givers living with me.”

“Must be nice.” Alec commented as he walked past me down the hall.

I shrugged. “Not really. Sure that they are always there is nice, but it’s also not so nice. My living arrangements went from just me to about thirty people and not always the same people.”

We chatted a little about kids and arrangements for care giving as we decended the stairs into the Brooklyn air. Everything looked rather normal, but I knew it wasn’t. I could see small differences in the atmosphere of the streets.

The train station however smelled and the air tasted just the same as any I had ever been in. We easily got on a train into Manhattan proper. It wasn’t until I saw the City skyline that my jaw dropped. The Apex Unlimited buidling in all it’s curvy glory was not even seen.

Alec leaned over and glanced at the building I was looking at. “That’s the Bank of America Building.”

“That’s where I lived most of my life. But the building isn’t that one.”

Underground I couldn’t see anything different, though I was certain I saw shadows moving but I wasn’t about to jump of the train to hunt demons I knew nothing about.

Alec stood up with his son on his hip and I followed him out onto the platform and we went up into the City proper. I could see many differences. I could get lost here, nothing really looked the same if I looked down deep. The patterns were all similar, but things were just that different.

We headed for an old run down building and I blinked when it flickered much like Max’s appearance had before. Alec pushed on a ornately carved door that hadn’t been there moments before, at least I hadn’t thought it was beautiful at first glance, but now it was.

I looked around the santuary wide eyed, it was nothing like I expected. We headed for the altar and a door that I knew hadn’t been there until I approached opened and an elevator stood before us. I paused a moment gathering my strength and stepped inside. I hated elevators, but I wasn’t going to let strangers know how much. But I felt my body tense when the elveator started it’s ascent and I knew my heart was racing. It was all I could do to keep my breathing steady.

Alec looked at me with concern. I waved him off, “Elevators…”

He nodded but said nothing more. The doors opened into a high tech looking headquarters area. I was impressed. It looked similar to something the Venatori might use, except they didn’t openly rely on computers, they had manual eggheads doing most of the world. Old school – the ruling families liked it that way. Though I doubted it would stay that way much longer – not if I had anything to say about it anyway.

A woman with black hair and green eyes strood this way, her heels clickingo n the tiled floors as she walked quickly and took the normal seemigng child in her arms and wisked him away without so much a word. Alec turned to look at me with a smile. “You might as well have been invisible. I thought that might work.”

I laughed. “You planned that?”

“Magnus actually. He said, Take Max with you – distract your mother from the flamboyance of the stray you are bringing home.”

“I don’t sparkle like he does.” I said in mock offense.

Alec blushed and I couldn’t help but smile. “Alright. Where to?”

But we didn’t get more than 20 feet inside before a large man looked stood in front of us. Alec spoke clearly, “Father.”

Alec’s father looked back at me then back at his son. “This the not-a-warlock Jace was speaking about?”

Alec nodded, “Yes, Father. Nox. This is my father Robert Lightwood.”

I offered him my hand and he looked at my painted nails and back up to my face and then looked back at Alec. “Was he involved in the demon summoning?”

Alec shook his head, “Not unless he was using them for target practice.”

I grined, “Could I do that?”

Alec groaned and Robert glared at me but spoke to his son. “I expect a full report, and that you figure out what he has to do with the recent demonic activity.”

Alec nodded and sighed after his father went past him. “He shouldn’t even be here. I don’t know why he is.”

I didn’t want to comment on the apparent strained relationship. “Sorry. I didn’t think your father would take that as anything but a joke.”

Alec waved it off and I followed him as he started walking down the hall. Sounds of fighting trickled through the hall as we passed a room where the blonde, Jace, was sparring with Simon and Clary. He seemed to be instructing them, but I didn’t stay long enough to see anything more than that.

I followed Alec down the hall into a room that looked like a large library. I stood in awe. It wasn’t as grand as the Archives, but it was grand. It was like walking into home. I ran my fingers down the spines of a few books trying to get a feel for things in the room.

Alec walked towards the back corner. “Back here are more obscure books about portal magic. Or so Hodge use to say.” There was a slight hint of sadness in the words he spoke. I didn’t want to ask, sorry was best left alone when it wasn’t grief. Greif could soon well up and Alec didn’t look like he was in the mood to be sad.

I grabbed three or four books from the shelves he’d indicated with titles like Portals and Time, Multiple dimensions, and some other obscure things. Alec set a couple of books down that were written in other languages. I laughed, “Hope you can read them, cause I can’t.”

“They don’t teach you the ancient languages?” Alec asked.

I shook my head. “Only if that’s your thing. Hunters don’t learn languages, Scrin do – Dorian might be able to read Latin or Greek. But we have Scrin who’s sole purpose is to traslate languages for the hunters. Everything is separated at home.”

I sat down with books and started flipping through them. Alec joined me for about an hour before his eyes started glazing over, “I’ve got a report to write, which is actually more fun than this. I’ll have someone bring you some coffee.”

He was up and gone before I could even answer.

I wasn’t learning much. Other than the fact that yes it was possible to travel through dimensions, but nothing ever mentioned golden portals. But Alec had been true to his word and coffee arrived in pots for another two hours before even that ran dry.

I had to get up. I was falling asleep and drooling on books before my own thoughts had me starting awake. I took a walk down the halls.

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