Sometimes, he thinks about his mother.
When the sky is grey but too indifferent for rain, and even Brooklyn is drowsy and quiet beneath him. When his schedule is unusually slow, but potions are steeping, and he needs to give his eyes a break because ancient symbols are blurring together from the strain of another night turned into an early morning. In these empty seconds, when he’s caught off guard by the lack of consultations, meetings, visitors, demands-
Here, in these quiet moments, when the silence is staggering, his mind wanders down paths he knows are fraught with dangers. One tentative step, a smell, or in this case, a color, and he knows he should pull – run - back, but he’s already traveled too deep, hasn’t he? So he goes deeper, leaving behind storm clouds for the dull grey of three ceramic bowls set neatly along a small table.
A small and rundown thing, wasn’t it? Centered in the middle of a room he can’t quite remember. He can remember his mother’s laugh, one delicate hand cupping the thick, ceramic dish, another gently smoothing his then tangled hair. How his stepfather would wink before stacking the bowls, then tucking him into his small cot, the linen always itchy, but comfortable in ways only nostalgia can account for. Magnus thinks about how, for a few years, they were happy, a family, and then -
A demon. An echo in time that reverberates throughout the loft, shaking the crystals of his chandelier. Forgive me, Father. He thinks about the gasp that likely came when a dagger pierced warm skin. And then-
It’s for the best, a shaken, broken voice. Just don’t fight it. Don’t fight. Fingers wrapping around his throat, squeezing and pushing him into the freezing waters below. And for a few agonizing seconds, he was sure he was going to die, and maybe he was meant to, but then-
Vodka, Magnus thinks, slamming back into himself with a force that shatters the table lamp next to him. And if his heart is racing, well, he’s already reaching for the remedy.
One gulp, a quick and desperate thing, but it doesn’t help. Of course it doesn’t. The burn of vodka threatens to take him back, submerge him in memories of fire filling his throat, but it wasn’t the water anymore, was it? It was something else, something primal, building in the base of his gut until his body shook with it. And he wants to pull back, remove his own memories until he can’t remember the feeling of energy ripping from his body, but it’s too late, it’s too-
A knock. Forceful and loud against his door.
Magnus surrenders to the shudder that passes through him. It’s not enough to shake away the memories, but it’s enough to unclench his jaw, smooth away the ridges between his eyebrows until whoever’s knocking won’t notice the storm raging on the inside.
Another succession of knocks, faster and louder than before. “And suddenly there came a tapping,” Magnus mumbles, pleased with the way his voice doesn’t waiver.
One deep breath and a snap of his fingers reveals Simon, huddled and trembling between the doors. There’s no trace of the creature that could rip a mundane in two if he chose to, just the shell of a boy, frightened and oh so alone.
"I-I saw my mom,” he says, voice breaking like a wave. “I didn’t even mean to, I swear. Not after Raphael made me promise not to after he- after he – but then there she was. Ten feet in front of me and I couldn’t say hi, couldn’t even wave to let her know I was okay. G-go-” he swallows the words he still can’t say, “I wanted to, you know. I just wanted to see her smile, tell her that everything’s going to be okay, but I can’t. I can’t and she’s so sad, Magnus. She looked so sad and I did that to her. This is all my fault.”
“Oh, Simon,” Magnus soothes and ushers him in.