Magnus, his silver mask pushed back into his hair, intercepted the New York vampires before they could fully depart. Alec heard Magnus pitch his voice low.
Alec felt guilty for listening in, but he couldn’t just turn off his Shadowhunter instincts.
“How are you, Raphael?” asked Magnus.
“Annoyed,” said Raphael. “As usual.”
“I’m familiar with the emotion,” said Magnus. “I experience it whenever we speak. What I meant was, I know that you and Ragnor were often in contact.”
There was a beat, in which Magnus studied Raphael with an expression of concern, and Raphael regarded Magnus with obvious scorn.
“Oh, you’re asking if I am prostrate with grief over the warlock that the Shadowhunters killed?”
Alec opened his mouth to point out the evil Shadowhunter Sebastian Morgenstern had killed the warlock Ragnor Fell in the recent war, as he had killed Alec’s own brother.
Then he remembered Raphael sitting alone and texting a number saved as RF, and never getting any texts back.
Alec felt a sudden and unexpected pang of sympathy for Raphael, recognizing his loneliness. He was at a party surrounded by hundreds of people, and there he sat texting a dead man over and over, knowing he’d never get a message back.
There must have been very few people in Raphael’s life he’d ever counted as friends.
“I do not like it,” said Raphael, “when Shadowhunters murder my colleagues, but it’s not as if that hasn’t happened before. It happens all the time. It’s their hobby. Thank you for asking. Of course one wishes to break down on a heart-shaped sofa and weep into one’s lace handkerchief, but I am somehow managing to hold it together. After all, I still have a warlock contact.”
Magnus inclined his head with a slight smile.
“Tessa Gray,” said Raphael. “Very dignified lady. Very well-read. I think you know her?”
Magnus made a face at him. “It’s not being a sass-monkey that I object to. That I like. It’s the joyless attitude. One of the chief pleasures of life is mocking others, so occasionally show some glee about doing it. Have some joie de vivre.”
“I’m undead,” said Raphael.
“What about joie de unvivre?”
Raphael eyed him coldly. Magnus gestured his own question aside, his rings and trails of leftover magic leaving a sweep of sparks in the night air, and sighed.
“Tessa,” Magnus said with a long exhale. “She is a harbinger of ill news and I will be annoyed with her for dumping this problem in my lap for weeks. At least.”
“What problem? Are you in trouble?” asked Raphael.
“Nothing I can’t handle,” said Magnus.
“Pity,” said Raphael. “I was planning to point and laugh. Well, time to go. I’d say good luck with your dead-body bad-news thing, but . . . I don’t care.”
“Take care of yourself, Raphael,” said Magnus.
Raphael waved a dismissive hand over his shoulder. “I always do.