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Close as Hands and Feet

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PROLOGUE 

“The question: ‘Who am I?’ Is not meant to be answered, but rather serves to dissolve the questioner.” —Ramana Maharshi

 

Jonathan Morgenstern was sitting by the window, reading the indecipherable French translation of the Bible his father had assigned him; as he did every Saturday. The gentle early-morning light filtered through the glass, highlighting the infuriating script he was supposed to be translating. Rubbing his eyes, Jonathan looked out the window, catching a glimpse of his own golden eyes glaring blearily back at him. He sighed, wishing he could call his father to assist him with the translations. Yet, he knew asking for help was a damned endeavor. Jonathan couldn’t remember the last time his father had helped him decipher a text. Lately, Jonathan had noticed, his father had more pressing matters than his son’s education to attend to. 

Jonathan let his eyes wander to the bookcase full of his father’s journals, strictly off limits, as he had been reminded many times. Even so, to Jonathan’s ten-year-old temperament, being told he couldn’t do something made him want to do it even more. It’s like I’m Eve and the journals are my forbidden fruit,  he reasoned. Jonathan liked linking his thoughts to books, it helped him make sense of things, like how his father would punish him if he dared even think about reading one of his journals.

Jonathan stared them down. Maybe, if he stared hard enough, a book would just fall off the shelf and he’d have no choice but to read it. Jonathan put his French Bible down and slipped out of his seat, he clasped his hands behind his back and whistled softly as he meandered over to the bookshelf. The wood was solid when he knocked his shoulder against it. “Ow,” he muttered, a little wounded that the bookshelf wouldn’t just hand him a journal like the devil in the Bible story. The connotations of wishing for the devil was lost on him, to Jonathan these were just characters in a story.

Sparing a quick glance through the crack in the doorway to make sure his father was nowhere to be seen, Jonathan jumped up and knocked three journals to the ground.

“Whoops,” he whispered, grinning to himself and picking up the journal on the top of the pile. Taking a deep breath, he opened it.

It only took Jonathan a few pages to figure out what his father’s journals were about. 

Jonathan Christopher. 

Him. 

Jonathan never knew his middle name. He hadn’t even known that he had one. Scrunching up his nose, Jonathan read on in horror as he saw what Valentine had done to him. Frantic, he flipped through more pages, scanning. Certain words jumped out at him. Dangerous. Weapon. Abomination. Demon Blood. Ice shot through Jonathan’s veins, the very veins which carried the blood of a demon through his body. His skin felt tight around his bones, his stomach rolled. He had demon blood. Jonathan didn't notice how much his hands were shaking until he dropped the journal. It his the floor with a thud. 

The blood drained from his face and, with a hollow feeling in his stomach, he reached for another journal. This one was different, it wasn't about him. It focussed on another boy. Jonathan Herondale. A boy who was born with extra angel blood. This boy got the better end of the bargain, Jonathan thought bitterly.  

Suddenly his father, Valentine Morgenstern, came into the room, catching Jonathan with the journals. Jonathan took in his father’s shocked face and decided there was no way he could deny this. Besides that, he wanted answers. 

“You made me to be half demon?” he accused, a scowl twisting his normally sweet, determined features.

“Jonathan,” his father choked, a little unnerved by his small son's fury, “you were not supposed to touch that shelf.”

Jonathan tilted his head to the side, the reprimand having little effect. “And now I know why you didn’t want me to. I have demon blood in me. Don’t I, Father?” he asked in a small voice, hoping it wasn’t true. The demons in the Bible all seemed awful, to be considered half of one, what did it mean?

“Jonathan, you don’t have demon blood,” Valentine said, running a hand over his face in resignation. “It’s about time I introduced you to my son, he could learn a lot from you, you know,” he continued with a small smile.

“Your son? But I’m—” Jonathan was bewildered until the penny dropped. He was the Herondale boy. The one with extra angel blood. This man in front of him wasn’t really his father.

“So, yuh-you’re not my father?” Jonathan stammered, forcing himself not to cry.

Valentine crouched down, sighing in irritation but ever the patient man. He touched Jonathan’s shoulder. “You may not be my son, but you are my greatest creation. You are who you are because of me. That’s enough, isn’t it?” he reasoned, giving the boy’s shoulder a light shake.

Jonathan blinked up at the man who had raised him. 

“You are Jonathan Herondale,” he finally announced. “And I think you and my son,” he paused, his eyes seeming to dance with the possibilities, “you could become quite the team.”

Jonathan had to admit, he’d rather have extra angel blood than be half demon, but he didn’t know how keen he was on meeting the other half of him. “You want me to meet your son? The boy with the demon blood?” he asked, his voice small with apprehension.

Valentine nodded. “I had planned to raise you separately but I suppose, now that you know the truth, you should meet. Besides, I have some good news, I have finally tracked down your mother.” Valentine frowned slightly. “Well, not your mother but I’m sure she’ll accept you as her own eventually. Jocelyn’s very maternal like that,” he said, getting a strange kind of melancholy look on his face that Jonathan had never seen before. 

“Jocelyn?” Jonathan asked, feeling very overwhelmed.

Valentine smiled and clapped him on the shoulder. “Never mind that for now, I’ll introduce you to Jonathan before you meet Jocelyn,” he decided and Jonathan took a shaky breath. Maybe he won’t be that bad? He tried to reassure himself, maybe we’ll get along?

* * * 

Jonathan and Jonathan did not get along. The demon boy and the angel boy seemed to butt heads from the moment they met. With both boys being wickedly intelligent and sharper than seraph blades, fights broke out almost every half hour.

That was, until they heard their father’s return from where they were sparring on the grass. The boys abandoned their brawl for the moment and raced inside, shoving each other as they went. They froze when they saw their father and frowned because, with him, was a very small girl. She had bright, red hair, all tangled with bows and green eyes, which were blown wide with fear. The boys went to their father, extremely curious about the girl and about the unconscious woman being carried by two men behind Valentine. They dumped the woman unceremoniously on the couch making the little girl jump.

“Don’t you dare hurt her!” she shouted, looking deathly afraid but her voice was strong. Both Jonathans looked at her in surprize. For such a little thing, she sure possessed a right temper.

Valentine bent down so he was at the little girl’s level. “Now, Clarissa, no harm is going to come to your mother, I promise you,” he murmured soothingly, tugging a loose bow out of her hair.

The girl, Clarissa, hiccupped. “You shouldn’t make promises that you won’t keep,” she said, this time trembling slightly.

Valentine sighed. “I’m not going to hurt you either, Clarissa, and do you know why?” he asked, pausing while Clarissa shook her head. “Because I’m your father,” he said softly.

Clarissa looked up in shock, before she smiled disbelievingly. “No you’re not, my father was Jonathan Clark. You just wanted to use that line from Star Wars,” she accused. “Simon did make me watch those movies, you know,” she added, with an air of superiority.

Valentine slapped her. Both boys looked on in shock as Clarissa held her cheek and screamed, Valentine regarded her with contempt. “I am your father and you will show me some respect, is that clear?” he boomed. Jonathan Herondale was filled with rage when the little girl nodded as tears streamed down her cheeks.

Unable to help himself, he moved to comfort her, wrapping his arms around her determinedly and willing to take any punishment from his father for doing so. However, instead of punishment, Valentine surveyed the scene with staggering amusement. “Jonathan, please show Clarissa to her room, she can have the one next to yours for tonight,” he said by way of dismissal.

Jonathan nodded and led Clarissa down the hall, feeling extremely protective of the girl currently muffling her sobs against his neck. He remained unaware of the other Jonathan glaring at their receding forms, cursing the other boy for interfering with his family.

By the time the two of them reached the end of the hallway, the worst of Clarissa’s cries had subsided and she was pulling away from Jonathan, almost embarrassed.

“It’s okay you know,” Jonathan reassured her quietly. “You just aren’t used to getting smacked, right?” he said, patting her back soothingly. 

Clarissa looked up at him in alarm. “Am I going to get smacked a lot now?” she asked, her voice quivering slightly.

Jonathan paused. “Um, not if you do as father asks,” he tried to explain.

Her eyes welled up again and Jonathan felt a wave of despair as she wailed a second time. He quickly ushered her into the room beside his and pulled her into a hug. “Shh, Clarissa, it’s okay,” he whispered into her hair. She really was quite small. Jonathan had no idea how his father could even bring himself to hit her.

She took a deep breath. “It’s Clary, actually,” she mumbled into his shirt, pulling away. “I prefer to be called Clary.” Clary gave him a watery smile. 

Jonathan smiled at her comfortingly. “It’s pretty, just like you,” he said, dropping his arms to his sides. 

Clary blushed. “Thanks, and you’re Jonathan?” she asked hesitantly. 

Jonathan nodded. “I don’t like it one bit, though, and that other boy you saw back there? He’s called Jonathan as well.” He paused. “That’s going to get really confusing,” he realised, aloud.

Clary nodded in agreement. “And you’re my brothers?” she asked.

Jonathan shook his head. “Well, I mean, yeah. The other Jonathan’s your brother I suppose, but I only just found out that Valentine isn’t actually my father so, who knows. Your father could be Jonathan Clark after all,” he said with a shrug. Clary gave him a doubtful look.

They stayed in that room all night, not even coming out to eat, even when their stomachs started to have conversations with each other. Clary didn’t want to see Valentine again and Jonathan didn’t want to leave Clary’s side.

Eventually, the two of them grew tired. They lay down on the bed next to each other, curled up in little balls around their grumbling stomachs and facing each other. “Do you think my mother will be okay?” Clary asked Jonathan in the dark.

Jonathan hesitated. It had never been his job to answer questions. He had always been asking them, awaiting his father’s absent-minded reply. He didn’t know what to tell her.

“I think so. I think Father loves her so he won’t hurt her,” he tried to reason.

“He hurt me,” Clary whispered, leaving Jonathan with nothing to say. “I want to go home, I want to see Simon and Luke.” She paused. “And I want my mom,” Clary sobbed, crying again.

Girls sure do cry a lot, Jonathan thought as he reached out to awkwardly rub her arm until she calmed down.

“I’m sorry, I don’t normally cry this much,” Clary apologized, almost as though she’d heard Jonathan’s thoughts. The idea made him smile.

“It’s okay. I’ll tell you what, why don’t we think up a nickname for me? Jonathan and I can’t keep going by the same name,” Jonathan suggested, hoping to distract Clary enough to stop her from crying again.

Clary’s sniffles subsided. “Okay,” she murmured softly, her face scrunching up thoughtfully. “What about John?”

“Nope.” Jonathan’s response was instant, John was far too old.

“Johnny?”

“Ugh, definitely not.”

“Jonah?”

Huh, that one isn’t bad, Jonathan thought, but he wasn’t done distracting Clary yet.

“Mmm, it’s close but not quite right.”

Clary nodded and yawned beside him. “Yeah, Jonah’s need dark hair anyway,” she reasoned. Whatever that means, Jonathan thought, baffled. “Do you have a middle name?” Clary continued.

Jonathan hummed. “Christopher. Though I only found that out today as well,” he admitted a little ruefully. 

“That’s awful,” Clary murmured. Her eyes were drooping with exhaustion and Jonathan knew it wouldn’t be long before she was asleep. “So, what about that? Do you want to be called Christopher?” she asked. 

Jonathan wrinkled his nose and shook his head. “Not particularly,” he muttered less than enthusiastically, making Clary laugh.

“You’re not making this easy, you know,” she said, before thinking. “What if you got called by your initials? Like J.C.” she paused. “Oh, wow, you could be a cute little Jacie,” she teased.

Jonathan groaned and rolled over. “Please no,” he mumbled into his pillow. Clary gave another weak laugh, making him smile. “I don’t mind Jace though,” he said, considering.

Clary made a noise of agreement. “It definitely suits y” She was cut off by a yawn and Jonathan grinned at her in the dark.

“Go to sleep, Clary,” he whispered to her and she nodded.

“I think that’s a really good idea. Good night, Jace,” she said, putting an emphasis on his new name and Jace felt all warm inside. It was a feeling he wasn’t familiar with, though he wouldn’t mind becoming accustomed to it.

“Good night, Clary,” Jace whispered, lying on his back with his hands folded behind his head, happier than he had felt in a long time.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER ONE

“Too often, the only escape is sleep.” —Charles Bukowski

 

Six years later…

Studying was a bore. It always was to Clary. She had no idea how Jace and Jonathan did it; sitting there for hours reading through old, dusty books. She enjoyed physical training more but she also liked to pass the time doodling with a pencil on the aforementioned dusty, old books instead of actually reading them. 

Jace glanced over at her and rolled his eyes, smirking as he erased yet another one of her doodles from the book she had just finished defiling. He didn’t mind Clary drawing on the books, but they both knew that Valentine would have a very different outlook on such vandalism. They were meant to be researching The Mortal Instruments, particularly, the whereabouts of the Mortal Mirror but she couldn’t help it; she was bored.

After making sure her brother wasn’t paying attention to them, she subtly began to tap out morse code on the table with her nails: dash, dash, stop, dot, dot, stop, dash, dot, stop, dot, stop. M.I.N.E? Was what her question asked, in regards as to where they would be meeting in private that night.

Jace smiled softly and then she felt his foot stroking up and down her leg under the table, which meant ‘later.’

Clary huffed, she couldn’t take any more of this studying. If her father was here, and he saw her behaving in such a manner, he’d set her straight and make her get back to work. Clary glanced at Jonathan. Although he was still strict, he was more lenient than their father and allowed Clary to retire when she grew restless.

Swinging her legs on the too-high chair, she sighed audibly, this time getting her brother’s attention. He glanced up from his reading, eyebrows raised at her and she quickened the pace of her impudent leg swinging, stressing her restlessness.

She heard Jace hide a laugh behind a cough but ignored it as she looked imploringly at her brother.

He rolled his eyes. “No one’s forcing you to stay, Clarissa.” He sighed, returning to his reading.

Clary jumped up in victory, glancing back at Jace just in time to see him tug his earlobe twice and scratch his nose once. Give me two and a half hours. 

Clary had some time to kill.

* * *

Clary had been living in the Wayland Manor house for six years now but it never felt like home. It was always cold and damp and smelled like mildew, though it wasn’t noticeable until returning from the yard after a long training session. Home for Clary had always been Brooklyn. Well, and Jace. 

Her mother had passed away four months after being brought here, she had taken some kind of potion that put her in a coma and Valentine hadn’t found the antidote in time.

Clary had cried for weeks, and it only made it worse that her father blamed her for her mother’s death. He was always throwing either his fists or snide comments at her; comments that Clary was acutely aware of.

She had trained with Jonathan and Jace in an attempt to bury her grief. Both of the boys assisting with her training at the start. Eventually, Jace was the only one. She didn’t know why, but she knew it was her father’s decision; incidentally, one of the best he’d ever made. 

Clary hated her brother. She knew she shouldn’t but she couldn’t help it. He was always ‘punishing’ Jace when he said something Jonathan didn’t like or when he caught Jace and Clary share so much as a glance. 

The things he did to Clary might not leave a mark but they made her sick to think about.

Jonathan obviously didn’t like the closeness that Clary and Jace had always shared and was very open about discussing how wrong it was. Clary could hear him in her head now: ‘You two are as much brother and sister as Clary and I are; the same blood of the angel runs through your veins. The way you two look at each other, it has to stop.’

Clary decided to spend a couple of hours on her sketches and closed the shutters in her bedroom as she always had to do when she could steal a few moments with Jace. They had kept their relationship from the rest of their family for obvious reasons. Reasons being that they would get into horrendous trouble if either Jonathan or Valentine found out.

It had started when they were fourteen and fifteen, two years ago. Clary and Jace were just training when the energy between them suddenly became something wildly different. They were on the grass, practicing hand to hand combat. Jace had always been better than Clary, but Clary had a competitive side that ignited and burned in any kind of battle. They had been exchanging blows for a while, though never doing any real damage. 

Jace had somehow snuck around her, grabbing her waist in an attempt to catch her off guard. Clary had ducked to hide her blush, cursing herself for feeling this way, but she couldn’t seem to control the way her heart sped up when she looked at him; or the way her skin tingled where his arm touched her through her shirt. She thanked the Angel that she was already red from the exertion of training or her blush would surely have given her feelings away. 

And yet, every so often, she caught Jace staring at her before spinning away, a tinge of pink on his cheeks, or noticed a gesture of comfort or support that lingered just a second too long. Clary had chalked it up to her mind playing tricks on her, making herself feel less alone in her feelings. But that day—after Jace had grabbed her—Clary managed to twist and bring her leg around, knocking Jace’s feet out from under him. She had quickly sat on his chest to keep him from moving and flipped the short dagger from her boot, holding it lightly against Jace’s neck. ‘I win,’ she had teased, grinning wildly. Jace had simply stared at her, his jaw slack. 

Clary suddenly grew very conscious of their position and felt her cheeks heat up. Jace was still lying on his back, but he slowly lifted his hand to brush a stray curl back behind her ear. Clary shivered as he slowly cupped the back of her neck. 

When Clary finally met Jace’s eyes she found him staring intently at her lips. Clary felt her blush deepen as his eyes darted between her lips and her eyes, studying her. 

“Jace?” she had whispered nervously, her voice cracking. His searching eyes had snapped to meet Clary’s, his intense gaze regarding her with vulnerable uncertainty. Clary felt him tense minutely as she leaned forward, resting her hands on Jace’s chest. His heart beat erratically under her fingertips as she inched closer. Jace had slowly leaned up, bracing himself on one elbow until there had only an inch or so separating them. Clary had watched Jace’s golden eyes as they jumped between her eyes and her lips. Searching, searching.

Possessed by a sudden flare of confidence, Clary leaned in further until their noses were touching. She heard Jace’s breath catch in his throat. Clary closed her eyes quickly, sent a quick prayer to the Angel that he wouldn’t push her away in disgust, then leaned forward and brushed her lips gently against his. She had felt Jace tense beneath her and froze, moving to draw away. But, before she had the chance, Jace’s hand had tightened on her neck and he had pulled Clary back in against him.  

Clary knew, in that moment, what it was like to be in love and to be loved in return. 

Through all of Valentine’s abuse, long before that moment on the training field, Jace had been the only thing that kept her sane. 

Gently drawing iratzes on her after Valentine was satisfied she was disciplined appropriately, whispering to her in the darkness of night how proud her mother would be of her and how it wasn’t Clary’s fault that she died at all.

She smiled at the memory of the gentle, caring, eleven-year-old Jace. Just as the door cracked open and the strong, confident, sixteen-year-old Jace stepped into the lowlight of Clary’s room.

Clary threw herself at him, pushing her lips on his and he caught her, returning her kiss with just as much enthusiasm. After a few moments they pulled away, keeping their arms around each other.

“God, I’ve missed you,” Jace growled low in his throat, evoking a confused giggle from Clary.

“But you just saw me.” She traced a pattern on his shoulder with her finger.

Jace shook his head. “Seeing you is nowhere near enough, not when I can’t do this.” He paused to kiss her cheek. “Or this.” He dipped to press a kiss on her collar-bone. “Or this,” he whispered roughly before finally planting another sweet kiss on her lips.

Clary turned to mush under his kisses and pushed up on her tiptoes to gain back some control.

“Clarissa!” a voice suddenly shouted. Jonathan; thundering down the hallway towards Clary’s door.

Jace cursed as the two pulled apart quickly, they made brief eye-contact before Jace mock-saluted her and dropped to roll under her bed.

Clary took a deep breath and hurried to sit on her bed, picking up her sketchbook from earlier and pretending to continue on a drawing of a ravener demon. 

Jonathan knocked on her door. “Come in,” Clary called, not looking up from her sketch as he opened the door and surveyed the room.

He regarded the sketchbook with contempt. “Nice to see you’re using your time wisely,” he sneered, heavy on the sarcasm. 

Clary pretended not to notice. “Thanks, I’m almost done actually, was there something you wanted?” she asked, outlining the ravener demon’s stinger and trying to keep her breathing even as her brother stalked closer.

He stood next to where she sat on the end of her bed, looking over her shoulder at the sketch. “Not very good lighting for drawing,” he observed measuredly, walking over to the window and yanking the blinds, filling the room with treacherous light.

Clary breathed in sharply, keenly aware of the fact that her bed was tiny and Jace was quite tall. The shadows in the room had been all that were keeping him hidden from Jonathan. Clary covered her gasp with a noise of pleasant surprize. “Oh, no wonder I couldn’t get this right. Thanks,” she said, outlining more of the demon’s back. 

Jonathan leaned back against the windowpane, watching Clary with a predatory gaze from across the room. She squirmed underneath it, praying to the Angel that Jace had the common sense to turn his back to Jonathan and get as close to the wall as possible.

“So, have you seen our brother anywhere? I was hoping to train with him before the sun went down,” Jonathan asked, casually resting his hands on the windowsill behind him.

Clary repressed a shudder at her brother even implying that she and Jace were siblings and shook her head. “Haven’t seen him, I’ve been in here since I bailed on the study group,” Clary explained nonchalantly.

She released a breath quietly when Jonathan nodded his head, not seeming to suspect anything. He pushed off the window frame and walked over to Clary, who knew what was coming next.

“Then I’d best go and find him,” Jonathan whispered, looking directly down at Clary. She made a noise of agreement and tried to look absorbed in her sketch. Jonathan bent down abruptly and planted a kiss on her forehead.

Clary was so wound up by his presence that her fingers twitched, dropping the pencil in her grasp. Time stopped as it hit the ground, seeming to resound through the whole room. Clary reached down to make a grab for it but Jonathan beat her to it. She squeezed her eyes shut. So close, she thought.

“What th—” Jonathan yelled, outraged as he tugged on Jace’s now-visible boot and pulled him out from under Clary’s bed. Jonathans gaze whipped between Jace, sprawled on the floor and Clary’s guilt-ridden expression. All three of them knew what would happen to Jace now.

“Clarissa, I am very disappointed in you,” Jonathan snarled, before grabbing Jace under the arms and hoisting him upright. “So, what were you doing in here then, little angel boy?” Jonathan taunted. “Defiling our baby sister?” he raised an eyebrow.

“Clary is your sister, not mine,” Jace said, sounding bored. “Honestly, how hard is it to wrap your thick skull around how genetics work?” he quipped, bitterly.

Clary winced as Jonathan punched him, even though Jace rolled back so Jonathan’s fist only just brushed his jaw. 

“Stop!” she yelled, readying herself to jump in between them if necessary. “Jonathan, just leave him alone. Please,” she begged, even though she knew it was futile.

Her brother’s cruel smirk turned her blood ice-cold. “ M.I.N.E? Really, little sister? You realize I was the one who taught the two of you how to use morse code. Though your pathetic little rendezvous weren’t exactly what I had in mind when I’d thought it a useful skill.”

Clary felt the spark of anger—always ready to ignite inside her chest—kindle into a roaring flame. He’d known Jace was in her room all along and had been toying with her. With both of them. 

He knew exactly what Clary and Jace were to each other and waited for them to be alone before seeking them out. Every time. Just so he could punish them, exert his power over them, make them fearful of him and of being with each other. That was the kind of person her brother was. 

Clary had always known that he communicated differently. Where Clary and Jace spoke through statement and response, question and answer; Jonathan spoke through violence and pain. The message he had for them was simple. ‘I am stronger than you. I can do whatever I want. You answer to me.’ And Clary was sick of it, her hands curling into fists as she glared up at her brother. 

His smirk infuriated her further, like he was watching something amusing happen, she charged him, fists flying. She struck his cheek, her mother’s Fairchild ring cutting him along the cheekbone.

Jonathan hissed, still grinning maniacally. He touched his cheek and stared in amused surprize at the blood on his finger. He licked it before returning his attention to Clary, who was feeling more sickened by the second.

“That’s the first time you’ve made me bleed,” he observed, conversationally. Jace had gone white and Clary’s still clenched fists began to tremble in anticipation. Even with two against one, it wasn’t a fight they could win and they knew it. “I promise you, it will be the last,” he finished, turning to Jace and punching him again. 

Jace, distracted by Clary, didn’t have time to roll or divert his fist and so it met his face with a loud crack.

“No!” Clary shouted, moving to jump between them.

Instead of defending the next blow, Jace used his left arm to shove Clary behind him. She stumbled and fell, crying out as her hip hit the corner of her desk. 

Jonathan scowled and punched Jace in the side, earning a groan from him. “You do not hurt our sister! Understand?! ” Jonathan growled, punctuating his sentence with punches and holding Jace up by the collar of his shirt.

Taunting him, Jace smiled. “She was ready to attack you, shouldn’t you be thanking me?” he wheezed, Clary realised that the crackling, gurgling noise that accompanied every one of Jace’s breaths meant that Jonathan had probably broken one of his ribs. The thought made her furious.

Jonathan huffed in contempt, throwing Jace to the floor. Jace gasped, his breath coming in sharp and shallow pants as he hunched over his wounded side, cradling it gingerly. Clary scrambled over to him, reaching for her stele but—as per usual—her brother swiped it from her back pocket, lightning fast.

“Jonathan, give me my stele, ” Clary demanded, her teeth clenched, glaring up at his hulking form. It was times like these when Clary wished she weren’t so small. 

As if reading her mind, Jonathan crouched to their level. He placed his index finger under Jace’s chin and raised his face so their eyes met, Jace returned Jonathan’s stare with a measured look of his own. “If I catch you with my sister again,” Jonathan said darkly, “I’ll hurt her instead of you, and you will not like that.”

Jace spat blood. “Actually, I won’t have to worry about that,” he said confidently. “You’d sooner make me breakfast in bed than hurt Clary.” 

Jonathan’s smirk dropped slightly, it was small but both Clary and Jace noticed it. It spurred Jace along, much to Clary’s dismay. “You just broke one of my ribs for trying to keep her out of your way, you’re threatened by the mere knowledge that we’re alone together, there’s no way you could hurt her,” he finished, smiling cruelly at Jonathan’s shocked expression.

Jonathan quickly schooled his featured back into the picture of nonchalance, his smirk back in place. “You want to make a bet, little brother?” 

Clary heard Jace swallow audibly before replying. “I would like eggs for breakfast when you can’t do it.” He had the nerve to wink at Clary when she gawked at him. Does he have a death wish? she thought before remembering that this was Jace Herondale and of course he had a death wish.

“Stupid, insolent child,” Jonathan spat, standing again and kicking Jace’s face. His outcry almost hid the distinctive crack as his nose broke, but Clary heard it. “There is more than one way to hurt a person,” he said, as though he were merely teaching the pair of them another lesson set by Valentine. “Clarissa. Stand,” he commanded, gesturing for her to come to stand in front of him.

Clary remained stubbornly at Jace’s side, staring at a knot in the wooden floorboards. “No,” she replied, simply.

Jonathan made an impatient noise in the back of his throat before grabbing Clary roughly under her arms and forcing her into a standing position. Clary avoided his gaze, folding her arms defiantly.

“Now, look at me,” Jonathan ordered, but his voice was softer. Even so, Clary remained glaring at the floor, cursing herself and Jace for their stupidity in thinking they could get away with seeing each other in private.

Jonathan grabbed her chin roughly between his thumb and forefinger. “You will do as I ask, Clarissa, or I shall have to punish you,” he muttered darkly.

Clary glared back at him, venom in her eyes. “Isn’t that what you’re about to do anyway?” she retorted.

Jonathan shook his head resolutely. “No, not at all, this is for his benefit.” He flicked a contemptuous look at Jace and leaned in closer to Clary’s face as a knot formed in her stomach. “A reminder, if you will, to keep his hands off of our lovely sister,” he continued, coming closer.

Jace realized what he was going to do. “Jonathan, stop,” he said sharply, his tone shocked and scared.

Clary inhaled sharply. “Jonath—” she was cut off by his lips pressing against hers. She shrieked and pounded at his chest with her fists, he caught them easily in one hand, rendering her helpless. Their close proximity meant Clary couldn’t land a decent kick so she tried to retreat backwards, still screaming, eyes open wide. He chased her with every step she took until she was trapped against the wall.

“Get your fucking hands off of her!” Jace roared, trying to stand. Clary bit her brother, hard and he pulled away, sighing and wiping the blood from his bottom lip. 

“If I catch the two of you again, I promise you, it will be worse than that. You can have a stele in an hour,” he said over Clary’s whimpers before releasing her hands and stalking across the room, locking the door behind him. His favourite punishment, beating Jace up then leaving him without a stele. Clary hoped that the new development of kissing her in front of Jace wouldn’t become routine. She didn’t think she could take that.

Only when the lock slid into place did Clary let herself cry. She slumped to the floor, curling up into a ball and shaking. No tears came but her chest was wracked with hard, dry sobs.

Jace hauled himself over to her, tugging her gently until she was half-cradled against him as he murmured her name soothingly. His face was white with pain and shock, streaked with blood from his broken nose.

“‘M so sorry,” he gasped. “Didn’t think he’d actually, didn’t know h—” he stopped, in too much pain to continue.

Clary tried to slow her breathing. “You’re an idiot,” she sobbed, leaning into Jace’s shoulder carefully. He stroked his left hand down her hair, his right arm remaining firmly against his injured side. “Not your fault though,” Clary choked. 

They sat in silence for the remainder of the hour, their closeness saying everything they couldn’t put into words. 

Finally, they heard a key sliding under the door and Clary got up shakily to open it. She looked down to see Hugin, her father’s raven, with a stele attached to his foot by a string. The bird nudged Clary’s knee with it’s head as she knelt to untie the stele

The strange bird liked Clary, though he knew not to show it in front of his masters. Clary guessed he knew exactly what happened when a servant of the Morgensterns went soft. She stroked his wing gently as a thank you before hurrying back to Jace, who was pale beneath a fine sheen of sweat. She set to work drawing iratzes on his abdomen, Jace grunting as he re-set his nose, before they let the iratzes do their job.

“Well,” Jace muttered, “we know why he’s so jealous of me now.” 

Clary shuddered and Jace immediately shut up. What she couldn’t bring herself to tell him was that this wasn’t the first time Jonathan had done something like this. She never thought he would try anything in front of Jace but what he did to her haunted Clary’s dreams. She hated him. 

Sometimes, when Jace said or did something similar while they were together, she would freeze because all she could see was Jonathan. He had too much power over her and she couldn’t bear it. Why can’t he just go away?

When Clary was finished with the iratzes, she slumped against the wall again, Jace reached for the stele and Clary looked at him quizzically.

“I’m not hurt,” she promised.

Jace looked at her with infinite tenderness before looking pointedly at where Jonathan’s thumbnail had dug into her face from holding it so tightly. Clary touched it and felt the crusty remnants of dried blood. She shrugged. “Proof for when we tell Daddy-dearest?” she suggested, half-heartedly.

Jace smiled gently. “A nice thought, but you know he wouldn’t listen to us,” he reminded her, plucking the stele out of her hand. “Besides, that’s not the only thing in need of healing,” he murmured, prodding her side so that she felt the bruise that had escaped her notice. “I think that was my fault though, I didn’t realise how hard I pushed you,” he added a little ruefully, lifting her shirt to draw a messy iratze on the bruise. “All I was thinking about was getting you out of the way. Sorry,” he apologized, pulling her shirt back down over his handiwork.

Clary sighed. “You shouldn’t have pushed me out of the way, I can handle myself. You trained me,” she said, nudging him with her elbow.

Jace pulled her under his arm with a sigh, resting his chin on top of her head. “I know,” he acknowledged. “It’s just—” he paused, Clary curled up against him, fitting to him perfectly, and waited for him to continue. “It’s just that, since the day you came here, I’ve fancied myself your—for lack of a better word—protector. Finally, there was someone who was younger and smaller than me who needed to be taught. When you asked me a question, well, no one had ever turned to me for anything before you. I feel like I’m responsible for you and—” he broke off, his voice cracking, “and I failed you just now, If I hadn’t run my mouth, he wouldn’t have touched you,” he whispered into her hair. “I’m so, so, so sorry, Clary,” he breathed, kissing the top of her head.

Clary had no idea what to say to that. “It’s not your fault,” she insisted. “Jonathan—he’s twisted—we’ve always known that. He’s no better than a downworlder. He doesn’t want you and I to be together because he thinks I’m his. ” Clary shivered, repeating what he had told her, many times, and Jace squeezed her upper arm. “So, there’s only one thing we can do,” she decided. “We have to get out of here.”

Jace seemed to be at a loss for words, an uncommon occurrence. Eventually, he found his voice. “Clary, we’ve tried to leave before, we never got past the wards.”.

“Yeah, but we were twelve then, three years have passed. We’re smarter, stronger. We know what we’re doing,” she reasoned right back.

Jace pulled back slightly, his golden eyes searching her green ones. “You’re serious.” He sighed, as though it were something he dreaded.

Clary snorted in what Valentine liked to call ‘a most unladylike fashion’. “You bet I am! I mean, Father’s hardly ever around nowadays and Jonathan’s nowhere near as perceptive. We could find another institute to seek asylum in,” she continued, her enthusiasm growing while Jace looked at her as though she had just told him she wanted to know what demon pox felt like.

He put a hand on her cheek and she leant into it. “Now, you listen here, my little firecracker,” he said, smirking as she made a quiet noise of complaint at the old nickname. “I know how you are, so if you try anything like last time and even think of doing something without me—” Jace was saying seriously before Clary cut him off.

“Last time, I was a scared little girl who wanted to go home,” she said, remembering her and Jace’s attempt to escape with a stab of guilt. They had gotten close to the warding around Wayland Manor but Jonathan had grabbed Jace at the last minute. Clary had froze and watched Jace and Jonathan fight. Then she ignored Jace’s cries for her to wait and continued running, telling herself that she would find help and come back for him.

What they hadn’t known was that the wards around the Manor not only kept people out, but also served to keep Valentine’s children in. Clary was knocked out cold from the blast for three days, of which Jace was only mad at her for one; his worry for her transcending his anger at her abandonment. 

“Now, it’s different, I’m different,” Clary tried to persuade him. “I’m a Shadowhunter and I want to get as far away from my horrible family as I possibly can and take the boy I love with me,” she declared, startling Jace.

“You’ve never said that before,” he whispered in amazement and Clary blinked in realization. She had just admitted it out loud for the first time. She loved him. Of course she did, he had to have known she did. 

Clary blushed deeply and Jace stroked her pink cheek. “Say it again,” he murmured, huskily.

“I love you,” Clary breathed. “Obviously, I love you, Jace,” she said as his lips came crashing down on hers. His hand moved from her cheek to cup the back of her neck and hold her to him, unyielding in his sudden bout of passion. Clary could feel in his kiss how much he loved her but before she could react, she was suddenly reminded of the way Jonathan had kissed her just an hour earlier. Trapping her so she couldn’t move, similar to how she couldn’t move now. Jace pulled back when he felt her stiffen.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, searching her gaze.

Clary took a shaky breath. “Just, uh, Jonathan, I was just remembering—” she stopped, unable to continue. 

Jace scowled. “I’ll kill him for what he did to you,” he vowed before softening. “I love you too, you know,” he said, making Clary’s heart skip a beat.

“I know,” she said with a shaky attempt at a smile. “It’s nice to hear you say it though,” she said teasingly, earning a pity laugh from Jace. 

He pulled her back into the circle of his arms, his ribs now healed. “Don’t worry, Clary, we’ll get out of here, I promise,” he swore to her as they rocked back and forth and planned their escape in the safety of each other’s embrace.

Chapter Text

CHAPTER TWO

“It isn’t always true that a critical end justifies desperate means.” —Richelle E. Goodrich

 

Valentine returned that night. He’d been gone for three days but now he was back, and Jace was struck with severe deja vu, because he wasn’t alone.

A man, dressed in a sparkly, purple suit and bright blue shoes, was being carried by Valentine’s men behind him.  

Jace paused mid-stride and looked at his father quizzically. “A birthday gift for Jonathan? Your present definitely tops mine,” he said sarcastically. 

Valentine gave Jace a reproachful look. “This warlock has information regarding the whereabouts of the Mortal Cup,” he explained and Jace nodded. 

“So you’ll torture it until it tells you where the Cup is?” Jace assumed and nodded again when Valentine confirmed his suspicions.

“Where are the other two?” Valentine asked, directing his man to the basement, Jace walking side-by-side with him.

Jace shrugged. “Clary’s in her room, Jonathan was in the library last I saw him,” he said, boredly.

Valentine clicked his tongue. “I do wish you would call Clarissa by her proper name,” he admonished and Jace smirked at his father.

“But she prefers to be called Clary, just as I prefer to be called Jace. If I get a nickname, why doesn’t she?” Jace asked, his recalcitrant tone making Valentine cock an eyebrow.

Instead of scolding him, however, all he said was: “I suppose I should have thought of that before naming both my sons ‘Jonathan.’” Jace laughed as they descended the dark stairs to the drafty basement.

Valentine and Jace could have this banter in their relationship when the other two weren’t around. Of course, it was all an act on Jace’s side, but Valentine possessed a staggering fondness for his adopted son—which was more than could be said for his biological children. 

He hated and feared Jonathan for his awful nature. His demon blood made him inhuman, and so Valentine could never really have a conversation with him like he could with Jace. 

Clary was another story altogether. Valentine always said how much she looked like Jocelyn but instead of loving her all the more for that fact, it was the reason he despised her. He claimed she was an insult to her mother’s memory, blamed her for Jocelyn’s death, and insisted that it was only because of her that Jocelyn even abandoned him in the first place.

Jace knew all of this because most of Clary’s nightmares were about the things Valentine had told her, and about her mom dying. He remembered when she realized she could no longer remember the sound of her mother’s voice or the exact shape of her eyes. She hadn’t cried, but he had still held her as her heart broke.

As much as Jace wanted to tell his father what he really thought of him, it was paramount that he keep up appearances; especially now that he and Clary were planning their escape. 

The warlock began to stir. Jace eyed it out of the corner of his eye. “Uhh, Father?” he said, panicked.

Valentine waved off his concern. “It’s been drugged, it can’t hurt anyone but itself.”

Jace sighed in relief. He helped Valentine and the henchmen chain the warlock to the floor and backed off, watching as Valentine stood over the warlock and threw a nearby bucket of water in its face. The warlock spluttered and sat up, groaning, its eyeliner running down its face like black, glittery tears.

“Oh, no,” it moaned as it took in its dank surroundings, its eyes came to rest on Valentine and they flashed in distaste.

“Valentine Morgenstern. I would say it’s good to see you but, well, that is far from the truth,” it declared, earning a small chuckle from Jace.

Valentine flicked him a look. “Oh come on, it’s an oldie but a goodie,” Jace said. Valentine rolled his eyes as he stooped to pick up a dagger, getting close to the warlock’s face.

“My son finds your arrogance amusing.” Valentine inspected his dagger. “I’m afraid I’m not so favourable,” he said, pressing the knife across the warlock’s cheek and creating a shallow cut.

The warlock winced then looked at Jace disbelievingly. “I have to admit, I never had you down as a family man. Am I correct in my assumption that it was you who kidnapped Clary five years ago, then?” it asked, making both Jace and Valentine stiffen.

Valentine began to laugh. “So you know Clarissa, then,” he smirked and the warlock squirmed, as though just realising it had said something it shouldn’t have.

“I’ll have you know I make an effort to stay out of Shadowhunter business,” the warlock confessed. “When Jocelyn Fairchild came knocking on my door with her daughter on her hip, I was reluctant to help her,” it continued, looking at the floor.

Jace winced slightly as his father backhanded the warlock across its bleeding cheek. “That is Jocelyn Morgenstern to you, warlock.” Valentine stood and began pacing. “What was it that she asked you for help with?” he asked.

The warlock remained silent until Valentine struck it again and an involuntary grunt escaped its lips. It took a deep breath. “She wanted me to repress her daughter’s sight, it was a… difficult process, one that had to be renewed every year or it would wear off,” it said, taking quick, panicked breaths.

Understanding dawned on both Valentine and Jace’s faces. “So you were responsible for Clarissa’s defiance to acknowledge the Shadow World in the beginning,” Valentine realised aloud. 

A voice from the top of the stairs made Jace’s heart skip a beat. “Well, you must feel awful,” Jonathan observed conversationally, skipping the stairs all together and jumping to the bottom. “You’re responsible for almost two-thirds of her beatings that year,” he finished, smirking at the warlock’s shocked face.

“Beatings?” it demanded, enraged.

Jace was overcome with confusion, did this warlock actually care about Clary?

Jonathan regarded him with amusement before turning to Valentine. “Forgive me, Father, but I heard someone scream and came to see what the commotion was about. Now that I know what’s going on though, I must ask: why wasn’t I invited to question the prisoner?” he asked, offended.

Jace cleared his throat and Jonathan turned, startled to see Jace there. It gave Jace a sick twist of satisfaction to see the jealousy clearly in Jonathan’s black eyes. “I believe that would be because this prisoner needs to be kept alive.”

Jonathan worked his jaw and glared at him before turning back to Valentine. “Is this true?

You don’t think I can control myself?” he demanded.

Jace enjoyed the fear that crossed his father’s features a little too much and, glancing at the warlock, saw that its gaze was fixed on Jonathan with a new kind of terror, and rightfully so. Anyone Valentine was fearful of was a scary prospect indeed. Valentine took Jonathan by the elbow and led him out of earshot of the warlock, Jace followed to listen in.

“Now, Jonathan, I asked Jace where you were before we got down here, we’ve hardly gotten started yet,” Valentine explained. “And by the looks of it, we’re going to need your sister too, would you fetch her for me?”

Jonathan, mollified with this explanation, turned to do as he was asked, only to be blocked by Jace.

“Why do you need Clary?” he asked warily, looking at Valentine over Jonathan’s shoulder. 

“Because this warlock knew her, perhaps she will be able to be of service to us,” Valentine said lowly, so that the warlock wouldn’t overhear.

Jace knew what that meant. He shoved Jonathan back. “Absolutely not,” he protested. “No one is hurting Clary, she’s had a rough day as it is—” Jace froze in realization that he’d said too much. Jonathan smirked at him darkly.

Valentine regarded Jace with consideration. “Your concern for Clarissa is admirable, Jace, but we must do what has to be done.” He paused. “What do you mean by ‘rough day’ exactly?” he inquired.

Jace tensed before forcing a smile. “Oh, nothing, I just kicked her butt in training today,” he said, trying to add a tone of pride. “I’ll get her, I need to apologize anyway,” he decided, turning to the steps.

* * *

Clary was reading her copy of Oliver Twist when she heard three knocks on her door. She had locked it when Jace left earlier and figured it would be Jonathan at her door. She was mentally bracing herself when she heard Jace’s voice. 

“Clary? It’s me,” he called through the door.

Clary heaved a sigh of relief and opened it. “What is it?” she asked, concerned by the look on Jace’s face.

“Valentine has a warlock down in the basement, he thinks it knows where the Mortal Cup is,” he whispered, urgently.

Clary took this in. “Okay…?” she finally said.

Jace shook his head. “The warlock seems to care about you, Valentine wants to use you to get information out of it,” he said, giving her a meaningful look.

Clary’s eyes widened. “Oh, oh, ” she realised, seeing why Jace was so tense. “But I don’t know any warlocks.”

He shrugged. “It seems to know you, maybe because of your mother? In any case, we have to get out of here. Now,” he said, grabbing her wrist and pulling her down the corridor.

Clary dug her heels in, but he was far stronger than her. “Jace, stop, just... wait for a second,” she hissed, ripping her arm out of Jace’s grasp and stopping.

“Clary, we don’t have time,” he pleaded.

“Just, think about it. There’s a warlock, here, who can create a portal and who apparently cares about me,” Clary said, as Jace’s eyebrows pulled together.

“You’re thinking we could use it to get further away from here than we ever could alone,” he realised.

Clary nodded hopefully. Jace ducked and kissed her hard and fast on the lips. “You might just be a genius,” he said.

Might be?” Clary teased. Jace rolled his eyes at her but laughed softly nonetheless.

“I’ll get Valentine and Jonathan out of there so you can be alone with him, how’s your acting ability?” he checked.

Clary shrugged. “I can pretend to care about a warlock, most of my questions for him are genuine anyway,” she reasoned, as they got to the opening of the basement.

Jace called down, “Father? A word, if you please?” he said, giving Clary’s hand one last squeeze before letting go and leaving her with the familiar ache of something crucial being torn from her.

Valentine and Jonathan joined them at the top of the stairs with perplexed looks on their faces, Clary schooled her features into a similar look, as though she was waiting to hear Jace’s plan for the first time too.

“I have an idea,” Jace began conspiratorially. “So, this warlock seems to have a fondness for Clary. Why don’t we use that to our advantage? Send her down there to gain its trust and let it think that she’s on its side. That way she can get the information we need,” Jace proposed.

Valentine narrowed his eyes at Clary. “And what if she is on the warlock’s side?” he accused. “What then?”

“Then you can kill me,” Clary said, shrugging. “I have no interest in the warlock, I just want to know what he has to do with my past, I can find out about the Cup while I’m at it.”

Jonathan cleared his throat. “With all due respect, Father, I’m intrigued by this idea, and I strongly doubt Clarissa will betray us, isn’t that right?” he said, smirking at Clary.

She returned his look, evenly. “I wouldn’t dare,” she said, gritting her teeth.

All three of them widened their eyes at her. 

“Well, alright then,” Valentine eventually decided. “But my plan will go ahead if yours fails,” he said, pointing a finger at Jace. “Don’t think I don’t know your real motive here is to keep Clarissa safe.”

Jace inclined his head. “Perhaps, but this way she doesn’t get hurt and we get our information,” he insisted.

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Valentine drawled, grabbing Clary roughly by the arm and pushing her down the stairs indifferently.

Clary cried out as she fell into the dimness of the basement, but managed to brace herself on the handrail. “You stupid, insolent child,” Valentine barked. So that’s where Jonathan gets his insults from, Clary thought distractedly as Valentine came down the stairs after her. “I will not tolerate being spoken to with such disrespect,” he continued.

Clary was bewildered. The fuck is he on about? She thought angrily, about to ask out loud when she caught his wink. Oh.

“Maybe if you earned my respect, I might actually respect you,” she shouted at him.

He thundered down the stairs and twitched the fingers of his right hand so she knew which way to fall down the stairs, again.

He ‘hit’ her over the head and she cried, tumbling to the ground level the way Jace had trained her.

“Be glad the warlock has—ever so nobly—taken over your chains,” he sneered, gesturing to the warlock. “I’ll be back for you. Clarissa, I think you could use some time to reflect on your behaviour,” he said, slamming the door with finality.

Clary gawked, he may have fake-slapped her but she still had a fair few injuries from her fall. I really need to work on perfecting that, she thought sullenly. “Are you even going to give me a stele ?” she shouted. 

No response.  

“Dick,” she muttered, dusting herself off and allowing a glance at the warlock.

He looked relatively ordinary, for a warlock, his outfit was a little extreme, as was his hair, but he didn’t have horns or an abnormal skin colour; not that she could see in the darkness anyway. Maybe he has webbed feet? Clary pondered the prospect quickly.

Then she looked into his face and saw he was looking at her with sadness and… pity.

Clary was taken aback. Jace was right, this warlock did care about her. Not that that changed anything, he was a means to an end; nothing more.

“I don’t know you,” she said, almost defiantly. “Jace mentioned you said you knew me, but how can that be if I have no idea who you are?” she asked, unable to hide the bitterness in her voice. He was a warlock, disgusting. Well, and she was still pretty bitter about having been thrown down the stairs just a few seconds ago. 

“Oh, Biscuit,” the warlock said, his voice full of pain regret. “What has he done to you?”

Chapter Text

CHAPTER THREE

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” —Margaret Thatcher

 

The weeks went by and Clary slowly gained the warlock’s trust. Sometimes she found herself feeling guilty for lying to him, then she thought of Jace and she knew what she had to do. 

The warlock told her about Brooklyn, a place she remembered vaguely, and about how the outside world had changed. He told her about the club he owned, a place called Pandemonium that was like a downworlder meeting place, a thought that almost made Clary gag. He admitted to repressing her sight and memories of the shadow world, though he never said why her mother wanted it done. 

While Clary found out more from the warlock, Jace was piecing together the details of their escape, they were going to try and get to New York. Jace had never left the Manor house but Clary had lived in New York for ten years of her life; it was a place that she always dreamed about and so it never truly faded in her mind.

The warlock was wary of Clary at first but lately seemed to be becoming more trusting. A good thing too, as Jonathan and Valentine grew more impatient by the day. Clary gave them small, useless tidbits of information that wouldn’t do them any good but would satisfy them enough to keep them off her back.

It was the middle of the night and Clary and Jace were curled up in Jace’s bed, whispering quietly.

“So, you think he’ll be strong enough in two days?” Jace breathed, entwining their hands together and fiddling with them.

Clary sighed. “Yeah, should be, I’ve been swapping Valentine’s drugs with water so his magic’s coming back slowly.” Clary rolled onto her back to smile at Jace. “I can get him to portal us out of here in a couple of days, no problem.” She grinned up at him in the dark and he nuzzled their faces together until he found her lips.

“You’re brilliant, you know that?” he whispered once they eventually pulled apart, the admiration in his voice forming a lump in Clary’s throat.

She brought his hand, still holding hers, up to her face and held it to her cheek. “I can’t wait to get out of here, Jace,” she admitted. “I’m tired of hiding our feelings, of being afraid of Jonathan and whether or not he’s outside our door right now.” She paused. “I just want to be with you.”

Jace softly pressed his lips her forehead. “And you can be, properly. Soon,” he murmured into her hair. “You said you had to talk to me about something the warlock told you today, what is it?” he asked after a short pause.

Clary took a deep breath. “It’s about the Mortal Cup,” she explained before launching into the story the warlock had told her about how her mother had had the Mortal Cup and that he strongly suspected that Clary knew where it was… Subconsciously anyway.

Jace was chewing his lip, thoughtfully. “Actually, I sort of realised something today as well, about the mirror,” he said, looking at Clary as she raised her eyebrows at him, urging him to explain.

“You know how the mirror has never been pictured?” Jace whispered and Clary nodded, slowly. “Well, what if it has been pictured? What if the mirror is in the portrait of Jonathan Shadowhunter and has been all along?” he asked, making Clary smirk a little. Jace was using his teacher voice so Clary slipped into the character of dutiful student.

“But, Jace, that’s impossible, we would have found something if that were the case,” she said, looking at him in wonderment, she knew he just couldn’t resist toying with her and had actually made a breakthrough.

He smirked. “You want to hear about a dream I had the other night?” Jace asked, changing subjects abruptly.

Clary, having dealt with his theatrical antics for years, knew that playing along was the only way she was going to hear his theory. “You know I always want to hear about your dreams.” She sighed and suppressed the urge to roll her eyes.

Jace grinned. “I thought you might say that.” He paused, Clary suspected for dramatic effect. “Okay, so I don’t remember the dream, but!” he continued, interrupting Clary’s quiet laughing groan. “I remember waking up with a short poem in my head: 

Thus did I by the water's brink

Another world beneath me think;

And while the lofty spacious skies

Reverséd there, abused mine eyes,

It’s from a longer text, so I did some digging and I found the poem 'Shadows in the Water' by Thomas Traherne, a poem that’s, incidentally, written about a puddle,” Jace finished proudly, as though this was a fabulous discovery.

Clary shook her head. “Okay, that’s it. I’m going to sleep, you’re losing it,” she mumbled, rolling over. Jace grabbed her and rolled her back to face him.

“It’s the Lake, Clary. Lake Lyn is the mirror,” he finally whispered, his tone conspiratorial.

Clary sat up, processing Jace’s words. “By the Angel,” she hissed. “You’re right! Lake Lyn has to be the Mirror.” Jace sat up, a smirk on his face. “And you said I was the genius,” Clary said, inching her face closer to his.

Jace’s smirk turned to a playful smile. “I suppose we can both be geniuses,” he murmured, leaning in to kiss Clary.

They both froze when the door opened.

“By the Angel, enough!” Jonathan snapped, storming into the room as Clary and Jace went pale with shock. “I swear, that was sickening. Good thinking by the way, we never considered that the Mirror might be in the lake, you saved Father and I a lot of work there,” he smirked, sauntering over to the foot of the bed. 

Clary’s heart beat loudly in her ears and her stomach felt as though it had dropped to the floor, Jonathan had caught them again. She knew what that meant.

“I thought the two of you were smarter than this,” he began, looking at them thoughtfully, barely repressing the rage in his tone. Jace touched his fingertips to Clary’s back and splayed them urgently, she knew what that meant: disperse. 

“I guess it’s true,” Jonathan pondered. “Love does make fools of us all,” he growled just as Jace shouted, “Clary, now!” and leaped off the bed, engaging Jonathan in a fight. 

Clary ran to her bedroom down the hall, grabbed her stele and the emergency bag she and Jace had packed in case they needed to escape urgently.

She hauled the bag onto her shoulders and felt her stamina rune burn as she sprinted to the weapons room. She chose two seraph blades at random—one short and one long—then grabbed a dagger and shoved it hastily into her bag. 

Hopefully the warlock was strong enough, they were going to need to portal out tonight. 

* * *

Jace’s ears rang as his head hit the floor, feeling more than hearing a grunt tear through his chest before kicking Jonathan’s legs out from under him. All he had to do was keep him busy for a short while, then Clary would be safe. 

“I have to say, I never had you down as such an ignoramus, brother,” Jonathan taunted, his lips curling into a cruel smirk.

Jace chuckled mirthlessly. “That’s an awfully big word for a twonk such as yourself,” he said, kicking Jonathan square in the face and breaking his nose. Jonathan was off his game tonight, or maybe it was the knowledge that if Jace didn’t win, something awful would happen to Clary. 

Once again, Clary was giving him purpose and drive and, in return, he was giving her time; time to get to the warlock and get out of here.

Jonathan turned his disappointed gaze towards Jace. “Satisfied with your revenge?” he asked, resetting his nose with a crunch and wincing.

Jace grinned. “Not even a little bit,” he declared, leaping like a cat off the floor and wrapping his arms around Jonathan’s neck, cutting off his air supply and relishing the choking noises the older boy was making. Until he was winded by Jonathan slamming Jace’s back into the wall.

Jace let his feet hit the floor, but before he could catch his breath, Jonathan punched him in the gut, hard. Jace keeled over onto the floor, coughing and sputtering.

Jonathan laughed. “Now, this is much more fun than training,” he decided, kneeling and getting in Jace’s face. He clasped the back of Jace’s neck before slamming his head into the ground. 

Jace let out a groan as stars swam in front of his vision.

“Just save yourself the embarrassment of any further injury, tell me where Clarissa’s run off to. I’d like to make this quick,” Jonathan said, smashing Jace’s face into the ground again.

Jace’s mouth was rapidly filling with blood, he registered that he had bitten his tongue before he spat a glob of blood in Jonathan’s face.

“She’s probably already gone,” Jace said, the thickness of his swollen tongue unable to mask the evident pride in his voice.

Jonathan cocked an eyebrow. “She may have left you once before but I see how much you mean to her.” He spat the words, as though admitting the truth was like poison in his mouth. “She’s still here,” Jonathan said, smiling as Jace’s stomach tightened with dread.

Jonathan thrust Jace’s head into the floor one final time and Jace blacked out, cold.

* * *

Clary was sprinting. She had the longer of the seraph blades out and at the ready, held in front of her as she ran. Another time she might have been reminded of her mother chastising her for running with sharp things, but right now all she could think about was Jace. She turned the corner. He had better be okay, or I will murder Jonathan with my bare hands, she thought, determinedly. Just as she collided with the boy whose life she had threatened only a heartbeat prior. Jonathan.

“There you are,” he growled, using his forearm to pin her shoulders to the wall, the rest of his body pressed against hers to keep her from moving. 

Clary huffed as her back hit the wall, but Jonathan’s hold never slackened. Her heartbeat grew erratic as it became louder in her ears, her instincts told her to stab him with the seraph blade but he caught her wrist easily with his other hand .

He grinned triumphantly, glancing at the bag on Clary’s back. “Going somewhere, Clarissa Adele?” Jonathan whispered, licking his lips and causing the hairs on the back of Clary’s neck to stand on end. 

All out of options, she spat in his face. “Let go of me, Jonathan, you dick,” she snarled, trying to kick out at his shins but to no avail. 

Jonathan studied her curiously, his lips slightly parted and his pupils blown wide in his dark eyes. Clary took a shuddering breath, just as his lips sharply descended on hers.

Clary squirmed and screamed but he continued his assault on her, slamming her wrist against the wall until she dropped the sword. Clary formed a fist and slammed it into his ribcage. The move did more damage to her than Jonathan. 

She felt helpless. All her training, it seemed, had been in vain. She could never beat her brother.

She could sense herself giving up and she felt Jonathan smile as he noticed it too. “Yes, Clarissa, you know you belong to me. Don’t fight me any longer,” he whispered, pulling away.

Clary began to cry; the thick, hot tears streaming down her face as fear and dread and hatred settled in. 

What happened next was the most horrible ordeal of Clary’s life; a haunting violation of what little innocence she possessed that would always stay with her no matter how desperately she tried to forget.

* * *

An eternity later, Clary’s salvation finally arrived, in the unprecedented form of her father. “Jonathan!” his appalled voice came from behind Jonathan’s shoulder. Clary felt him stiffen.

“Father, I was just having a little chat with my sister. What are you doing up so late at night?” Jonathan said, extricating himself from Clary and turning around. 

Clary saw Valentine and his jaw was slack, staring at his son in pure fear and revulsion. He could clearly see what had been happening. Valentine’s eyes were glued to where Clary had slumped to the ground when Jonathan dropped her, quivering in shock. He could see her swollen lips, tear-streaked cheeks, and he could see the blood. 

Clary knew it was now or never. 

She grabbed the seraph blade lying next to her with a trembling hand and stood. Channeling all her rage and horror, she thrust it through her brother’s back.

Jonathan took a rattling gasp as his mouth filled with blood. Turning, he looked at Clary in amusement before she pulled the blade out and rammed the hilt into his temple. He fell to the ground and she ran past Valentine where he stood still frozen. 

She had to find Jace.

Sure enough, he was in his room, unconscious. Clary grappled for her stele with shaky fingers. By the Angel, Clary, breathe, she willed herself, taking a deep breath and drawing an iratze on Jace’s collarbone. 

“Jace, wake up,” she whispered, patting his cheek urgently.

Jace’s eyes snapped open and he sat up groggily. Clary helped him to his feet and put his arm over her shoulders to keep him standing. 

“Clary, you were meant to leave,” Jace groaned, pushing off of her and standing on his own.

She heaved a huff of exasperation. “Like I was going to leave you,” she said, eyes narrowed in agitation. Jace tensed his jaw and glared right back at her at her, anger set in every line of him. Clary felt the oddest urge to paint the infuriating picture a stubborn Jace Herondale made. 

Jace opened his mouth and, before he could say a word, Clary slapped him. She was not having a Jace tantrum right now.

“We need to MOVE!” she bellowed, grabbing his arm and pulling him after her.

Without struggle, he followed her, a hand on his stinging cheek. Clary regretted slapping him almost instantly and she winced as she felt guilt nestle in the pit of her stomach, but now was not the time for apologies.

Jace and Clary raced down the stairs to the basement where the warlock was being held. 

“Who goes there?” he called, almost boredly.

“It’s me,” Clary reassured him, coming into the light and pulling Jace with her.

The warlock regarded him warily. “Yes, what can I do for you, Clary?” he asked, mockingly spreading his arms to show the chains, as though sarcastically emphasising all he could do for her.

“We need you to make a portal,” Clary announced.

The warlock raised his eyebrows. “Yeah, sure thing,” he said sarcastically. “Let me just pull a portal out of my a—”

“Valentine and Jonathan are coming,” Jace quickly explained. “We don’t have much time.”

Clary crouched to the warlock’s level. “I’ve been switching out your drugs for weeks, you can do it,” she said, her eyes pleading.

The warlock considered her for a moment. “Well, then get me out of these chains, tout de suite, Biscuit,” he said.

Clary heaved a sigh of relief; relief that was short-lived as she heard her brother calling down to her from the top of the basement steps. “I know you’re down there, Clarissa!”

Clary actually whimpered in terror. She had never whimpered . Get a grip! She told herself firmly.

Ignoring Jace’s look of concern, Clary grabbed her stele, drawing the open rune as precisely as she could on the padlock of the warlock’s chains. She knew this would work. She’d been in his place before.

The warlock set to work as soon as he could stand, his fingers sparking a pale blue and instantly, a portal began to take shape in the darkness, illuminating everything with blue fire. “You had better come back for me, Clary,” the warlock said, focussing on the portal as he spoke.

Clary blinked at him. “But… You’re coming with us, aren’t you?” 

The warlock shook his head. “Getting you two through the portal will take a lot more strength than I have, if I attempt to go through it while I’m this weak, I’ll die.” 

He said it so simply, like he sincerely wanted Clary and Jace to be safe. Clary didn’t know how to feel.

“I swear on the Angel,” Clary promised, just as Jonathan thundered down the stairs, charging Clary.

Only to be rammed by Jace, who had hidden behind a chest of drawers and ran into Jonathan’s side, knocking him to the ground.

The portal was ready.

“Go, now!” the warlock yelled, and Clary saw the strain he was under to hold the portal open.

Desperately, she thought of New York. A special place popped into her mind and she focused on it, putting her hand into the rushing wind of the portal and seeing that place, clearly.

Jace, seeing her concentrating, ran through the portal but before Clary could follow him, Jonathan grabbed hold of her ankle. 

“No!” he boomed.

Clary turned around and plunged the stele— still in her hand from when she released the warlock—into her brother’s shoulder.

He yelled out and let go of her ankle as she fell through the portal, snatched up in the whirlwind before she was caught by Jace, who pulled her close.

“By the Angel, Clary. You didn’t follow me. I thought something happened,” he said.

Clary looked into his eyes, and she could see herself reflected in them, wide-eyed and wind-blown. 

“We did it?” she whispered, holding onto Jace’s shoulders as though if she let go she would fly off into the sky. 

He smiled down at her. “We did it,” he affirmed, lifting her up and kissing her. The kiss tasted like freedom. They were free, away from Valentine and Jonathan. 

Jonathan. 

As the night’s events caught up to her, Clary began to cry, reeling in both relief and shock. 

Her choking sobs made Jace pull back in alarm. “Clary? What’s wrong?” he asked.

She put a hand over her mouth to muffle the sobs wracking her small frame, looking up at Jace in confusion. Why was she acting like this? She was a Shadowhunter, Shadowhunters don’t get panic attacks.

Jace panicked too as he realised what was happening. “Clary, you need to breathe,” he said, gripping her shoulders and holding her upright.

Clary nodded and tried to slow her breathing, taking deep, shuddering breaths.

Jace looked around for something to distract her with, like he always did when she got upset. “Hey, why don’t you tell me where we are?” he asked, gently using his thumbs to rub soothing circles on her shoulders.

Clary nodded again and looked around, slowing her breathing more as she did.

It definitely looked familiar, though she had a feeling something was missing. The flower garden looked out of place and Clary knew there should be something else there. There should be a cubby house.

“We’re at Simon’s place,” she realised aloud, looking around. She recognised the back of his house. “In his backyard.”

Clary’s mind was suddenly plagued with possible scenarios. Would Simon come out right now and see her standing on his porch, with her ripped pyjamas and wild hair, looking as bedraggled as she was.

Clary looked down self-consciously, scrutinising her appearance. Jace had seen her looking worse than this—they’d lived together for five years—it was Simon she was worried about. Would he even recognise her?

“There we go,” Jace whispered, touching her cheek lightly, and Clary realised her breathing had returned to normal.

She smiled ruefully at him. “Sorry for slapping you back there,” she said, earning a small smirk out of Jace. “I was a little wound up.”

Jace shook his head. “I deserved it, I shouldn’t have expected you to leave without me. I wouldn’t have left you if it was the other way round,” he said gently.

Clary impulsively reached up on tiptoes and kissed his cheek. “There,” she whispered, blushing slightly. “All better.”

Jace raised an eyebrow, “Actually, I believe it was the other cheek,” he teased, leaning down.

Clary laughed as he kissed her on the lips, gently, with no urgency. They could finally take their time with each other and not be ready to pull away at any moment because Jonathan might catch them or Valentine might barge in. 

Clary was the first to pull away, glancing back down at her torn garments and bare feet. “We should probably change,” she concluded, noting that Jace didn’t look much better.

“Where’s your stele ?” Clary asked him.

“Where’s yours?” Jace shot back, pulling his out of his pocket.

“I, uh.” Clary paused. “I kinda stabbed Jonathan with it,” she finally admitted. Jace raised his eyebrows at her and whistled, impressed.

He handed her his stele and she drew iratzes on, first herself, then on Jace. All they had in the backpack was gear but it would have to do. Clary removed her yellow tank and shorts and tossed them to Jace while she pulled on the gear.

When she was done, she looked up to see Jace was still standing in nothing but his navy blue sleeping shorts. 

“Jace? I’m loving the look and all but maybe you shou—” she broke off, seeing that he was holding her shorts and looking at the blood on them, his jaw clenched.

Shit. Clary’s chest heaved but she held her breath, refusing to let him know the truth. “Relax, Jace, I fell on a seraph blade. It’s all healed now,” she said, breathlessly, grabbing the clothes and shoving them in the bag.

Jace knew how good Clary was at falling but he also knew she was an adept liar. He looked at her incredulously. “Clary...”

“We can talk later,” she promised, hearing a faint ‘like hell’ from him as she walked around the side of the house and made sure no one was there. “By the way,” she began, remembering her promise to the warlock. “I swore on the Angel that we’d go back for that warlock.” Clary winced as his gaze shot up to meet hers.

“You did what? ” 

“I had to! He wasn’t going to let us go through otherwise,”

“Clary, we can’t go back! We just got out!”

“I know!” she yelled, waving her hands in an agitated motion. “I just figured that I didn’t tell him when we would go back for him,” she reasoned.

Jace worked his jaw for a few seconds. “Alright, I guess that works... Alright,” he decided after a moment’s consideration.

“Who’s there?!” a female voice called from inside the house. Clary jolted, it had been a long time since she heard another woman’s voice other than her own.

But this voice was also slightly familiar. “Mrs. Lewis?” Clary asked, hesitantly.

The woman opened the back door. “Who ar—” she broke off, her eyes widening in astonishment when she saw Clary. “Clary?!” she shouted, pulling her robe around her and stepping into the night.

Clary bit her lip, nodding shyly. How exactly are you supposed to act in front of your best friend’s mother who thought you were dead for the past five years? Clary didn’t think there was a specific etiquette and, apparently, neither did Mrs. Lewis.

“B-but, we thought you were dead! Your mother! Your house was in ruins! We called the police but they found no traces of anything. Then Luke told us that you were gone an— Oh, Clary, you poor soul,” she said softly, noticing the way Clary stood; trembling with tears in her eyes.

Mrs. Lewis strode forward and enveloped Clary in a hug. Clary felt the brave façade she had put on for Jace crumbling, and so she tolerated the embrace for a moment longer before pulling away gently. “Mrs. Lewis, I’m so sorry to just show up like this, but we need your help.” Mrs. Lewis looked from Clary to Jace, her eyes wide. “We’re in trouble.”

Chapter Text

CHAPTER FOUR

It’s funny how complete strangers can have familiar souls.” —J. Ironword

 

“Why do demons insist on going to clubs to attack humans?” Alec Lightwood grumbled disdainfully, leaning over the railing of the balcony. “What ever happened to a good, old fashioned, alleyway attack? Track down a human, attack them, we materialize out of thin air and kill the demon. Nice. Simple. No big crowds of mundanes to contend with, just a simple alleyway killing, that’s all I ask for.”

“Oh, by the Angel, Alec. Please stop talking,” said a voice from his left. Alec gave his sister, Isabelle, a withering look that escaped her notice because she was scanning the room. Actually focusing on the mission , Alec mentally chided himself as he forcibly returned his attention to the task. “I know you hate clubs but it could have been worse,” Isabelle added, looking right in her element.

Alec surveyed the scene below him. From their place on the balcony Alec could see the whole club; the bar, the DJ and everything in between. The sea of bodies roiling on the dance floor, the lights flashing in various colours and spinning in patterns. Alec rolled his shoulders as the heavy beat of the music thudded in his bones.  

“I really don’t see how,” he yelled over the music. 

Isabelle huffed at him and opened her mouth, no doubt to snap at him when she froze, her eyes trained on the far corner of the club. “There. That’s it.” 

Alec followed her gaze and squinted against the smoke and lights. He felt a slight burn on his shoulder as his far-sighted rune kicked in. Alec focused and saw the Eidolon demon making its way through the crowd. From what Alec could see, it was disguised as a young woman with long blonde hair. He followed the path of the demon and saw it heading towards a guy sitting at the bar. Alec sighed, reaching for one of the seraph blades in his belt. 

Isabelle stopped him with a tug on the shoulder of his gear. “Wait.” 

“Come on Izzy, let’s kill the demon then get the hell out of this club.” 

Isabelle pouted as she brushed her fingers against her whip. “You are no fun, you know that, right?” Then with all the agility of an acrobat, she flipped herself over the railing and fell into the crowd below. Alec frowned to himself before following suit, though—admittedly—with much less flair. 

Alec quickly made his way through the throng, dodging the mass of elbows, hands and shoulders that flew in his path. By the time he caught up to his sister, she had made it to the bar and had somehow found an empty stool. Alec made his way over and stood behind her. Isabelle’s eyes were sharp and focused on the demon, who was now making conversation with a boy. Well, from what Alec could discern, the demon was doing most of the talking. The boy seemed confounded by the fact that a girl was talking to him, especially a girl who was showing off so much cleavage. His mouth was hanging open and his eyes were wide. Alec rolled his eyes at the boy, taking in his brown hair, glasses, jeans and faded t-shirt. He obviously did not belong in this club, he stuck out like a sore thumb. Quickly dismissing the boy, Alec focused again on the back of the demons head. The siblings watched closely as the demon inclined her head and wrapped her hand around the boys arm. Alec felt Isabelle tense beside him as the demon began to lead the boy towards the back door, almost invisible against the pulsing lights in the club. 

Isabelle smirked. “Looks like you might be getting that alleyway fight you were looking for.” 

Alec rolled his eyes and the two of them watched as the demon and the boy exited the club, moving swiftly towards the exit. Just as Isabelle placed her hand on the door handle, Alec felt the hairs on the back of his neck prickle. 

This had been happening all evening. Alec just couldn't shake the feeling that he and his sister were being followed. He spun around and glanced back into the crowd. His eyes scanned the room, taking in the different couples, sequined skirts, a flash of bright blond hair, and the subtle gleam of leather. No one seemed to notice him at all.

 Alec shook his head and quickly followed after Isabelle, whispering the name of his seraph blade under his breath as the door closed behind them.     

His eyes zeroed in on the demon and the boy who were now standing very close together. 

“Where is Camille?” 

The demon had pushed the boy against the wall but when the door slammed shut, it spun around.

The Eidolon demon chuckled to itself. “Ahh, Shadowhunters. I should have known you’d come.”

“What?” The boy asked, confused. “There’s no one there.” Fear had begun to enter his voice.

Isabelle’s eyes flashed to where the demon’s hand rested against the boy’s throat. “Let the mundane go,” she ordered.

“But why?” the demon purred. “He’s just so…” the demon paused, moving its hand from the boy’s throat to run a finger down the side of his face. “Human.” 

The boy’s eyes were flickering around the alley, obviously trying to find the mysterious person that the demon was talking to. 

“Look I don’t even know who this Camilla person you’re asking for is, so maybe I should… go?” the boy said.  

The demon snarled and its eyes glittered. It raised a hand, now clawed and razor sharp and moved to strike the boy. 

Before it got the chance, Isabelle’s arm flung out, her electrum whip encircling the hand of the demon which was still holding the boy. Izzy tugged the whip sharply and the demon’s hand was torn from its arm. The boy screamed; as to him, it would appear the demon’s hand had suddenly separated from its body. Under other circumstances Alec might have found it funny, but this was not other circumstances. 

Alec charged the demon. He dodged just before it could snare him with its claws, and swung his seraph blade down, aiming for the neck. 

The back door suddenly slammed open and Alec’s eyes jumped momentarily towards the source of the sound. Alec got a quick glance of the same blond hair as earlier. The demon took advantage of his distraction and lashed out. It brought its claws down and Alec felt the cold talons rip through his right arm, disfiguring his glamour rune. His seraph blade fell from his hand as he choked back a yell. The pain tore through him, an involuntary groan escaping his lips. 

Alec heard his sister scream his name as he stumbled back. Breathing through his teeth and staring in horror as the demon came towards him. He saw the flash of Isabelle’s whip flying through the air, poised to curl around the demon’s neck. But before her whip could reach it, a seraph dagger neatly severed the demon’s head from its body. 

Alec watched in astonishment as the demon collapsed to the ground before folding in on itself, sent back to its home dimension. 

There was a moment of silence, Alec was still staring at the place where the demon had vanished.

“What. The. Fuck.” 

Alec’s head snapped to regard the mundane boy. His gaze was fixed on Alec, his face tinged slightly green as he slid towards the ground. He was shaking.

“Y-y- you,” he stammered. “Just ap-p-peared out of n-nowhere,” the mundane said, pointing an accusatory finger at Alec. 

Alec closed his eyes and gritted his teeth, he did not want to deal with this mundane right now. 

“Izzy,” He managed. “ Iratze . Please.” 

He heard the tell-tale clicks of Isabelle’s high heels then felt a gentle hand on his left arm and the comforting burn of the stele . Alec’s sharp breaths slowed as she drew two more iratze s. He sighed in relief when the pain began to ebb away. 

“Great,” the boy mumbled under his breath. “This is just what I need, people coming out of nowhere, murdering someone,” he glanced at Alec quickly, his eyes bulging as he registered his now-healed wounds. “Aaaaand now he’s healing himself. What’s next on Simon-is-losing-his-marbles?” 

There was a sharp intake of breath from the back door and Alec’s eyes shot towards the sound. Standing there, was a boy and a girl, obviously Shadowhunters, if their gear and runes were anything to go by. The boy’s eyes darted between Alec, Izzy and the mundane on the floor. Every time his gaze met Alec’s gaze he felt a strange pull towards the boy. He was very attractive. His blond hair was ruffled and messy and his golden eyes seemed to glow. Alec felt heat rise to his cheeks.

Simon?” 

Alec’s eyes snapped away from the boy and focused on the girl. She had bright red hair and a smattering of freckles on her hand. It covered her mouth as she stared at the mundane on the floor.

Alec felt a gentle squeeze on his arm and his eyes darted back to Isabelle. 

“I wasn’t aware of any new Shadowhunters visiting New York,” she said, addressing the two standing at the door. 

The blond boy’s golden eyes settled on Isabelle.

“We didn't have time to inform the Head of the Institute we were planning on arriving.” The boy’s voice had an almost amused undertone, the corners of his lips quirked up. “It was a bit of a sudden exit.” 

The red haired girl snorted lightly in response to the boys comment but her eyes stayed glued to the mundane. The blond boy flicked a concerned look back to the girl before addressing Isabelle and Alec. 

“I’m Jace,” he said, before gesturing to the girl beside him. “And this is Clary.” Jace’s eyes moved between Alec and Isabelle. “Who are you?” 

Alec noticed the deliberate omission of their full names and shared a quick glance with his sister before warily looking back at Jace and Clary. 

“I’m Alec, and this is my sister Isabelle.” 

Who the hell are you talking to?!”

Everyone’s gazes snapped to the mundane. Alec had caught his name earlier; Simon. He was still staring at Alec, obviously unable to see the others. He was shaking and was obviously terrified. Alec looked over at the others but his gaze was caught on Clary. She was looking at Simon intensely, as if she couldn’t believe he was real. 

“Do you know this boy?” Alec asked Clary, gesturing at Simon.

Simon’s head swung to where Alec was looking, but saw nothing. He looked back at Alec warily and moved to stand.

“Hey, you don't mind if I just… ” He gestured towards the mouth of the alley. Before Alec could answer, Simon moved to bolt. He took two steps and his legs collapsed underneath him. 

Clary, who had been all but frozen since she had seen the boy, broke into action. She shed her glamour and ran towards Simon. 

Alec watched as his eyes bugged out of his head.

Clary?” Simon looked up at her, clutching his chest. “Fray, is that you?” 

Clary knelt down beside Simon, grabbing his shoulders and hauling him into a sitting position. 

“Yes,” Clary said, slightly breathless. “It’s me, but Simon you need to tell me if you’re hurt.” 

Simon gazed dazedly into her eyes. 

“Never thought I’d see you again.” His words were starting to slur and Alec noticed red seeping through his shirt. “We had the cops looking for you for ages, your mom too.” Simon’s hand clenched onto the fabric of Clary’s gear. “I thought you were dead,” Simon said, his voice breaking. 

Jace took a step towards them. “Clary,” he said sharply. “He’s bleeding.”

“Wh… wh…” Simon looked down at his shirt, then promptly fainted against Clary.

Clary let forth a string of colourful curses, as Jace darted over to her side.

“Help me lift him,” she murmured to Jace, who proceeded to roll his eyes and lift Simon, bridal style. Jace turned to Alec, looking him in the eye.

“We need to get him to the Institute.”

Alec fought the urge to roll his eyes. “Obviously.” Jace raised his eyebrows in reply and Alec relented. “Get rid of your glamours.” He nodded towards Isabelle and Jace. “We’ll have to walk him back to the Institute and we can’t have mundanes seeing a flying boy with a stab wound.” 

Jace snorted lightly before nodding to Clary, who grabbed her stele and pulled Jace’s shirt sleeve up slightly—exposing a toned bicep—to deglamour while Isabelle did the same to herself. 

“Come on,” Alec said, turning his back on the others to hide his blush. 

Isabelle fell into step beside him and he could hear Clary and Jace’s footsteps close behind as they made their way to the Institute.

* * *

The Institute swam into Alec’s vision just as he heard a stuttered gasp from behind him. He quickly glanced over his shoulder and saw that Simon had woken up. His eyes were spinning in their sockets and wouldn’t focus on anything. Alec saw Clary’s face go from alabaster to light green at the sight. 

Isabelle, Alec, Jace and Clary all exchanged quick glances before sprinting the last few metres to the Institute doors. Isabelle reached it first and threw it open, gesturing for the others to follow. Alec went through last, keeping an eye on Jace and Clary. He still didn’t know these people and he wasn’t sure if he should trust them. 

As quickly as they could, they made their way into the infirmary where Jace lay Simon on one of the beds. Alec winced as his groans grew steadily more desperate.

Clary sat down on the bed next to Simon and grasped one of his hands firmly while Jace took the chair at his bedside. 

Alec pulled up another chair from the next bed over and sat down, as did Isabelle, and faced the odd trio. 

“I called The High Warlock of Brooklyn on the way here, but apparently he’s on holiday,” Alec explained. “So, I contacted a warlock he suggested in his voicemail. She should be here at any minute to heal the mundane.”

Clary nodded, her gaze never leaving Simon. 

Alec looked over at Isabelle, who had been uncharacteristically silent. Not that the journey back to the Institute had been full of chatter. She had an odd look on her face, like she was puzzling something out, her eyes flickering constantly between Clary and Jace, and occasionally Simon.

Alec watched as his sister slowly sat up straighter, her eyes now focused on Clary.

“Fray.” Isabelle’s voice was calm.

Clary jolted and spun around to face Isabelle, finally taking her gaze off Simon.

“How do you know that name?” Clary asked, her voice was cold.

Izzy gestured elegantly towards Simon. “It’s what he called you earlier,” she replied, unruffled under the harsh gaze Clary was sending her way. “Bit of an odd last name for a Shadowhunter, at least it’s not one that Alec or myself have heard of, and between us I think we know pretty much every Shadowhunter family name there is.”

Clary’s back was stiff, but she raised her chin, keeping eye contact with Izzy. “That’s because it’s not my actual last name. I went by it when I knew Simon; it’s what he used to call me.” 

Alec sat up a bit straighter. He had noticed that the two of them had avoided mentioning their last names when they introduced themselves, which was unusual for Shadowhunters. The siblings waited the two of them out. 

‘“Well?” Izzy prompted.

“Well, what?” Clary snapped.

Alec’s gaze jumped from Clary to Jace. “Who are you, really?” 

Alec noticed Jace’s jaw clench, and Clary’s eyes darted away for a second to meet his. After a momentary wordless exchange the pair looked back at Alec and Izzy. 

“If we tell you, will you promise to hear us out?” Clary asked, her sharp eyes moving between the siblings. 

“And maybe refrain from locking us up?” Jace added, somewhat ruefully.  

Alec assessed the two of them. If they were on the run, Izzy and himself had every right to help them if they wished, but if they were wanted by the Clave they would have no choice but to lock them up.

Alec hesitated before making a decision, “I can promise that we’ll listen to your story,” he said slowly.

Jace’s golden eyes met his. “Swear it on the Angel.”

Alec exchanged a quick glance with Izzy before nodding. “I swear on the Angel that my sister and I will listen to your story.”

Jace, once more, looked over at Clary. “My last name,” he said, still looking at Clary, “is Herondale.” His eyes broke away from Clary and he looked imploringly at Alec. “I’m Jonathan Herondale.”

Alec blinked, confused and a little skeptical. The Inquisitor was the last of the Herondale line, everyone knew this. 

He looked towards Izzy, and saw she was sporting a similar expression of incredulity.

Izzy looked at Jace... Jonathan... whoever he was. “The Inquisitor is the last of the Herondales, her son, Stephen Herondale was in the Circle, and was killed. His pregnant wife took her life when she found out, effectively putting an end to the Herondale line.” Isabelle’s eyes snapped back to Jace. “If you really are a Herondale, I find it hard to believe that you were somehow born before Celine died or something.”

Jace shifted in his chair, “I am a Herondale, believe me.” Alec snorted, and Jace’s eyes snapped his. “I swear on the Angel that I am a Herondale, you have to believe me.”

Alec paused. “That may be the truth as you know it, but it only affirms that you truly believe it,” he disregarded Jace’s claim gently. “Besides, even if you are a Herondale, and you are Stephen and Celine’s son, how did you survive?”

Jace opened his mouth to reply but Isabelle cut him off.

“What about Clary?” she asked, tilting her head. “You said that you were a Herondale, so I’m inclined to believe that she isn’t.” Isabelle leaned back on her chair. “Nice try though, distracting us from Clary by telling your story first.” Jace’s eyes flashed and Isabelle grinned smugly. “Hmm,” she hummed, turning to Clary. “Now why would Jace feel the need to draw our attention towards him? Not that he doesn’t have a mighty intriguing story.”

Alec had to psychically fight against his urge to roll his eyes at his sister.

“So Fray .” Izzy smirked. “What’s your real last name?”

Clary took a deep breath. “It’s…”

The infirmary doors flew open and Izzy and Alec spun around in their chairs. 

There was a woman powering towards them. She was dressed in bright pink scrubs, decorated with little horses. However, this was not the most shocking aspect of this woman. Her skin was a bright shade of blue, and her hair stood out against it, shockingly white. 

The warlock, who Alec knew was called Catarina, marched up to the bed, grumbling something about a “stupid glittery asshole” and how she was going to “kick his ass into the next millennium”. 

“This is the boy?” Catarina asked, impatiently waving a slim hand towards Simon. 

Alec nodded, “Yes. There was a fight with an Eidolon demon and he must have been hit at some point.” 

Catarina flapped her hands at Jace and Clary, who quickly jumped away from the bed and moved as quickly as they could away from the Warlock. Alec noticed the disgusted looks they threw Catarina and frowned, troubled. 

Catarina waved her hands and Simon was surrounded by a bright blue glow. Alec watched in amazement as Catarina closed her eyes and murmured under her breath. 

Alec’s eyes kept drifting towards Jace and Clary, where they were huddled away from the Warlock. Clary seemed to be alternating between looking at Simon with concern, and Catarina with disgust, while Jace stood with his arms around her, running his fingers through the ends of her hair. 

Alec felt a pang of jealousy, quickly followed by a small twinge of disappointment. Of course Jace was Clary’s boyfriend. But, that’s how it usually went, the attractive ones were either straight or taken… Or both. Alec sighed to himself, loud enough to make Isabelle glance up at him. He shook his head at her arched eyebrow, only fueling her curiosity.

A sudden clap jolted Alec’s thoughts back to Simon and Catarina.

“His injury was just a shallow cut and would have healed by itself.” Catarina said as she turned towards Alec and Izzy, ignoring Jace and Clary, obviously aware of their hostile gazes. “But the mundane must have consumed some faerie drink beforehand, that’s what caused the fits that you saw.” 

Isabelle and Alec nodded. It did happen on occasion at the Pandemonium. Faeries would have a little fun with mundanes and give them drugged drinks. 

Alec was about to thank Catarina when she cut him off. “There was something else I found that might spark your interests, Shadowhunters.” 

She gestured towards Simon. “This boy has been under the compulsion of a vampire, and recently too.” She paused before continuing. “Some of his memories have been buried into his subconsciousness, a very typical symptom of vampire compulsion.”

Alec nodded once, intrigued. He knew that vampire compulsion was hard to track down. This was because once the mundane moved away from the vampire, they would forget whatever the vampire had told them. Their memory would only come back when they saw the vampire who had used compulsion on them. 

“It’s lucky for you that I recognise this vampire’s seal,” Catarina interrupted Alec’s thoughts. “Her name is Camille. She is one of the older vampires living today. I have, in my opinion, the very unfortunate luck of knowing her quite well.” Catarina mumbled something that sounded very much like “raging bitch”. 

The name rang a bell, but of course it did. Camille Belcourt was the leader of the New York vampire clan. Alec thought for a moment, then he remembered. The demon had been asking Simon about someone called Camille when they had walked outside. 

There was a scuffling from behind Alec and he turned to see Clary fidgeting. She seemed to be fighting the urge to curl her lip as she looked at Catarina. It was quite an amusing look, Alec thought, as though she had a very unpleasant smell under her nose, but was attempting to mask her revulsion. 

“What did the vampire do to Simon?” she asked, refusing to look at Catarina. 

Catarina shrugged. “I don’t know. You’ll have to find Camille if you want your answers, she's the only one that will be able to bring Simon’s memories into his conscious mind.” 

Clary seemed to hold her breath. She closed her eyes for a few moments before opening them again. She completely ignored Catarina’s quizzical gaze and turned to Jace.

“We need to find this Camille. Jace, please.” 

Jace’s eyes flickered towards Simon. “Alright, but how?” he asked, folding his arms.

Alec cleared his throat, “She’s the head of the New York vampire clan,” he said. “So, you know, not actually that hard to find.” Clary and Jace stared at him. “We just have to ask her to come to the Institute and plan a meeting in the Sanctuary. No need to specify what the meeting is about though.”

Isabelle grinned at Alec. “Wow.” She appraised him. “Alexander Lightwood is finding loopholes in the law. Who knew.”

“Lightwood?” Jace inquired. 

Isabelle turned to look sharply at Jace. “Yeah, what of it?”

He shrugged. “Nothing.”

Catarina interrupted them with a very deliberate cough. “If you don’t mind I wish to get back to my work, which you Shadowhunters so inconsiderately ripped me away from,” she complained, without any heat, turning to Alec. “I expect to be receiving my payment in the next few days?” 

Alec nodded. “Of course.” 

With a final nod to Isabelle and Alec, she left the room, leaving a strained silence behind.

“Clary?” A quiet voice came from the bed. All four of them turned towards it and saw Simon perched on his elbows. 

Clary dashed across the room and flung her arms around Simon. Simon looked shocked, but after a moment, returned Clary’s embrace. The two of them stayed there and Alec couldn’t see them moving anytime soon. He raised an eyebrow and looked towards Jace, expecting him to look jealous or upset. Alec was shocked to see him smiling warmly at the two of them.

Noticing Alec’s expression, Jace moved closer to him and Isabelle.

“They were best friends,” Jace said gesturing towards Clary and Simon, who were now sitting next to each other, their hands linked together as they murmured softly. “Clary always told me stories about him and how much she missed him.” He smiled at Simon and Clary again before continuing. “It’s nice to finally meet the fabled best friend who took care of Clary and gave her something happy to remember.” 

Alec saw his cautious look reflected in his sister’s expression, her curious eyes were alight at a new mystery involving Jace Herondale and he inclined his head towards the door. She nodded, resignedly.

“We’ll leave you guys alone for a while,” Alec said to Jace. “We’ll contact Camille and arrange the meeting.”

Jace nodded as Isabelle sashayed out the door, and Alec was about to leave after her when he turned back to Jace.

“I’m going to lock the door,” he said. “And please don’t take this the wrong way—it’s just a precaution—but I’d also like to take both of your steles .” 

Alec saw Clary’s posture stiffen, but Jace nodded, thoughtful. “No, I understand.”

He walked over to Clary, who sat next to a very confused-looking Simon, Alec listened closely to figure out why she was suddenly upset.

Alec saw Jace whisper something to Clary. He caught a few words: “not Jonathan”, “temporary” and “ prove they can trust us”. 

Clary glanced over at Alec quickly before taking her stele out of its place on her belt and handing it hesitantly to Jace. Jace said something else to her, too low for Alec to catch, and pressed a kiss to her forehead.

Jace walked over to Alec and held out the stele. “It’s the only one we’ve got,” he said. “Mine was… misplaced.” 

Alec noticed the pause but didn’t pry. “Thank you,” he said leaving the: for trusting me enough to take them unspoken. Jace nodded and walked back towards Clary and Simon. 

Alec paused, looking back at the trio as he closed the door. 

“Is dyed-blond-surfer-guy your boyfriend?” Simon asked Clary, loudly.

Clary let out a bark of laughter as Jace inclined his head to Simon.

“Sure am,” he said, “and for the record, my hair is naturally blond.” 

Alec smiled to himself as he locked the infirmary door. Whoever Jace and Clary were, whatever they did in their past, Alec found himself hoping that he would be able to grow to trust them enough too.

 

* * *

 

Catarina dialled the number as soon as she was out of the Institute. Bloody Magnus. Of course, Catarina knew that he had left her contact details for someone wanting warlock assistance, but she hadn’t really expected to be called on. She listened to the phone ringing. She hoped this time he would pick up. She had called this number so often in the last few days that she knew what to expect. But she had still hoped. Then, after ten rings the phone clicked over to voicemail.

“Hello, you have reached Magnus Bane’s private phone. Ragnor, no I am not going to send a letter to Raphael, do it yourself. Catarina, darling, I just hope you’re ringing because you’re finally taking a break from work, and yes we will be catching up for coffee on Sunday. Tessa, if this is another book recommendation, I promise I will try to read it soon. If you are a stranger and have no idea what I’m talking about, I highly suggest you don’t leave a voicemail and forget this number.” A tinny beep sounded in Catarina’s ear and she sighed, hanging up.

She, Rangor and Tessa had been trying to contact Magnus for the past week but to no avail. Catarina had first noticed when she had gone to the little cafe where she and Magnus met every Sunday for coffee. When he didn’t appear she called his personal mobile, only to get voicemail. When she had called his home phone the message said something about Magnus going on a holiday, which was odd because he had just gotten back from India a few weeks ago and had sworn off travelling until next year. He had still been grumbling about it the week before he disappeared. Not that it was unusual for Magnus to change his mind so quickly, but he would always call either Tessa, Ragnor or herself if he planned to take a trip, so Catarina was worried. 

“Magnus,” She murmured to herself. “Where are you?”