City of Bones – Chapter 11: MAGNUS BANE

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Chapter 11: MAGNUS BANE

JACE LEANED FORWARD AND BANGED HIS HAND AGAINST THE partition separating them from the cab driver. “Turn left! Left! I said to take Broadway, you brain-dead moron!”

The taxi driver responded by jerking the wheel so hard to the left that Clary was thrown against Jace. She let out a yelp of resentment. “Why are we taking Broadway, anyway?”

“I’m starving,” Jace said. “And there’s nothing at home except leftover Chinese. ” He took his phone out of his pocket and started dialing. “Alec! Wake up!” he shouted. Clary could hear an irritated buzzing on the other end. “Meet us at Taki’s. Breakfast. Yeah, you heard me. Breakfast. What? It’s only a few blocks away. Get going. ”

He clicked off and shoved the phone into one of his many pockets as they pulled up to a curb. Handing the driver a wad of bills, Jace elbowed Clary out of the car. When he landed on the pavement behind her, he stretched like a cat and spread his arms wide. “Welcome to the greatest restaurant in New York. ”

It didn’t look like much—a low brick building that sagged in the middle like a collapsed soufflé. A battered neon sign proclaiming the restaurant’s name hung sideways and was sputtering. Two men in long coats and tipped-forward felt hats slouched in front of the narrow doorway. There were no windows.

“It looks like a prison,” said Clary.

He pointed at her. “But in prison could you order a spaghetti fra diavolo that makes you want to kiss your fingers? I don’t think so. ”

“I don’t want spaghetti. I want to know what a Magnus Bane is. ”

“It’s not a what. It’s a who,” said Jace. “It’s a name. ”

“Do you know who he is?”

“He’s a warlock,” said Jace in his most reasonable voice. “Only a warlock could have put a block in your mind like that. Or maybe one of the Silent Brothers, but clearly it wasn’t them. ”

“Is he a warlock you’ve heard of?” demanded Clary, who was rapidly tiring of Jace’s reasonable voice.

“The name does sound familiar—”

“Hey!” It was Alec, looking like he’d rolled out of bed and pulled jeans on over his pajamas. His hair, unbrushed, stuck out wildly around his head. He loped toward them, eyes on Jace, ignoring Clary as usual. “Izzy’s on her way,” he said. “She’s bringing the mundane. ”

“Simon? Where did he come from?” Jace asked.

“He showed up first thing this morning. Couldn’t stay away from Izzy, I guess. Pathetic. ” Alec sounded amused. Clary wanted to kick him. “Anyway, are we going in or what? I’m starving. ”

“Me too,” said Jace. “I could really go for some fried mouse tails. ”

“Some what?” asked Clary, sure that she’d heard wrong.

Jace grinned at her. “Relax,” he said. “It’s just a diner. ”

They were stopped at the front door by one of the slouching men. As he straightened, Clary caught a glimpse of his face under the hat. His skin was dark red, his squared-off hands ending in blue-black nails. Clary felt herself stiffen, but Jace and Alec seemed unconcerned. They said something to the man, who nodded and stepped back, allowing them to pass.

“Jace,” Clary hissed as the door shut behind them. “Who was that?”

“You mean Clancy?” Jace asked, glancing around the brightly lit restaurant. It was pleasant inside, despite the lack of windows. Cozy wooden booths nestled up against each other, each one lined with brightly colored cushions. Endearingly mismatched crockery lined the counter, behind which stood a blond girl in a waitress’s pink-and-white apron, nimbly counting out change to a stocky man in a flannel shirt. She saw Jace, waved, and gestured that they should sit wherever they wanted. “Clancy keeps out undesirables,” said Jace, herding her to one of the booths.

“He’s a demon,” she hissed. Several customers turned to look at her—a boy with spiky blue dreads was sitting next to a beautiful Indian girl with long black hair and gauzelike golden wings sprouting from her back. The boy frowned darkly. Clary was glad the restaurant was almost empty.

“No, he isn’t,” said Jace, sliding into a booth. Clary moved to sit beside him, but Alec was already there. She settled gingerly onto the booth seat opposite them, her arm still stiff despite Jace’s ministrations. She felt hollow inside, as if the Silent Brothers had reached into her and scooped out her insides, leaving her light and dizzy. “He’s an ifrit,” Jace explained. “They’re warlocks with no magic. Half demons who can’t cast spells for whatever reason. ”

“Poor bastards,” said Alec, picking up his menu. Clary picked hers up too, and stared. Locusts and honey were featured as a special, as were plates of raw meat, whole raw fish, and something called a toasted bat sandwich. A page of the beverage section was devoted to the different types of blood they had on tap—to Clary’s relief, they were different kinds of animal blood, rather than type A, type O, or type B-negative.

“Who eats whole raw fish?” she inquired aloud.

“Kelpies,” said Alec. “Selkies. Maybe the occasional nixie. ”

“Don’t order any of the faerie food,” said Jace, looking at her over the top of his menu. “It tends to make humans a little crazy. One minute you’re munching a faerie plum, the next minute you’re running naked down Madison Avenue with antlers on your head. Not,” he added hastily, “that this has ever happened to me. ”

Alec laughed. “Do you remember—” he began, and launched into a story that contained so many mysterious names and proper nouns that Clary didn’t even bother trying to follow it. She was looking at Alec instead, watching him as he talked to Jace. There was a kinetic, almost feverish energy to him that hadn’t been there before. Something about Jace sharpened him, brought him into focus. If she were going to draw them together, she thought, she would make Jace a little blurry, while Alec stood out, all sharp, clear planes and angles.

Jace was looking down as Alec spoke, smiling a little and tapping his water glass with a fingernail. She sensed he was thinking of other things. She felt a sudden flash of sympathy for Alec. Jace couldn’t be an easy person to care about. I was laughing at you because declarations of love amuse me, especially when unrequited.

Jace looked up as the waitress passed. “Are we ever going to get any coffee?” he said aloud, interrupting Alec midsentence.

Alec subsided, his energy fading. “I …”

Clary spoke up hastily. “What’s all the raw meat for?” she asked, indicating the third page of her menu.

“Werewolves,” said Jace. “Though I don’t mind a bloody steak myself every once in a while. ” He reached across the table and flipped Clary’s menu over. “Human food is on the back. ”

She perused the perfectly ordinary menu selections with a feeling of stupefaction. It was all too much. “They have smoothies here?”

“There’s this apricot-plum smoothie with wildflower honey that’s simply divine,” said Isabelle, who had appeared with Simon at her side. “Shove over,” she said to Clary, who scooted so close to the wall that she could feel the cold bricks pressing into her arm. Simon, sliding in next to Isabelle, offered her a half-embarrassed smile that she didn’t return. “You should have one. ”

Clary wasn’t sure if Isabelle was talking to her or to Simon, so she said nothing. Isabelle’s hair tickled her face, smelling of some kind of vanilla perfume. Clary fought the urge to sneeze. She hated vanilla perfume. She’d never understood why some girls felt the need to smell like dessert.

“So how did it go at the Bone City?” Isabelle asked, flipping her menu open. “Did you find out what’s in Clary’s head?”

“We got a name,” said Jace. “Magnus—”

“Shut up,” Alec hissed, thwacking Jace with his closed menu.

Jace looked injured. “Jesus. ” He rubbed his arm. “What’s your problem?”

“This place is full of Downworlders. You know that. I think you should try to keep the details of our investigation secret. ”

“Investigation?” Isabelle laughed. “Now we’re detectives? Maybe we should all have code names. ”

“Good idea,” said Jace. “I shall be Baron Hotschaft Von Hugenstein. ”

Alec spit his water back into his glass. At that moment the waitress arrived to take their order. Up close she was still a pretty blond girl, but her eyes were unnerving—entirely blue, with no white or pupil at all. She smiled with sharp little teeth. “Know what you’re having?”

Jace grinned. “The usual,” he said, and got a smile from the waitress in return.

“Me too,” Alec chimed in, though he didn’t get the smile. Isabelle fastidiously ordered a fruit smoothie, Simon asked for coffee, and Clary, after a moment’s hesitation, chose a large coffee and coconut pancakes. The waitress winked a blue eye at her and flounced off.

“Is she an ifrit too?” Clary asked, watching her go.

“Kaelie? No. Part fey, I think,” said Jace.

“She’s got nixie eyes,” said Isabelle thoughtfully.

“You really don’t know what she is?” asked Simon.

Jace shook his head. “I respect her privacy. ” He nudged Alec. “Hey, let me out for a second. ”

Scowling, Alec moved aside. Clary watched Jace as he strode over to Kaelie, who was leaning against the bar, talking to the cook through the pass-through to the kitchen. All Clary could see of the cook was a bent head in a white chef’s hat. Tall furry ears poked through holes cut into either side of the hat.

Kaelie turned to smile at Jace, who put an arm around her. She snuggled in. Clary wondered if this was what Jace meant by respecting her privacy.

Isabelle rolled her eyes. “He really shouldn’t tease the waitstaff like that. ”

Alec looked at her. “You don’t think he means it? That he likes her, I mean. ”

Isabelle shrugged. “She’s a Downworlder,” she said, as if that explained everything.

“I don’t get it,” said Clary.

Isabelle glanced at her without interest. “Get what?”

“This whole Downworlder thing. You don’t hunt them, because they aren’t exactly demons, but they’re not exactly people, either. Vampires kill; they drink blood—”

“Only rogue vampires drink human blood from living people,” interjected Alec. “And those, we’re allowed to kill. ”

“And werewolves are what? Just overgrown puppies?”

“They kill demons,” said Isabelle. “So if they don’t bother us, we don’t bother them. ”

Like letting spiders live because they eat mosquitoes, Clary thought. “So they’re good enough to let live, good enough to make your food for you, good enough to flirt with—but not really good enough? I mean, not as good as people. ”

Isabelle and Alec looked at her as if she were speaking Urdu. “Different from people,” said Alec finally.

“Better than mundanes?” said Simon.

“No,” Isabelle said decidedly. “You could turn a mundane into a Shadowhunter. I mean, we came from mundanes. But you could never turn a Downworlder into one of the Clave. They can’t withstand the runes. ”

“So they’re weak?” asked Clary.

“I wouldn’t say that,” said Jace, sliding back into his seat next to Alec. His hair was mussed and there was a lipstick mark on his cheek. “At least not with a peri, a djinn, an ifrit, and God knows what else listening in. ” He grinned as Kaelie appeared and distributed their food. Clary regarded her pancakes consideringly. They looked fantastic: golden brown, drenched with honey. She took a bite as Kaelie wobbled off on her high heels.

They were delicious.

“I told you it was the greatest restaurant in Manhattan,” said Jace, eating fries with his fingers.

She glanced at Simon, who was stirring his coffee, head down.

“Mmmf,” said Alec, whose mouth was full.

“Right,” said Jace. He looked at Clary. “It’s not one-way,” he said. “We may not always like Downworlders, but they don’t always like us, either. A few hundred years of the Accords can’t wipe out a thousand years of hostility. ”

“I’m sure she doesn’t know what the Accords are, Jace,” said Isabelle around her spoon.

“I do, actually,” said Clary.

“I don’t,” said Simon.

“Yes, but nobody cares what you know. ” Jace examined a fry before biting into it. “I enjoy the company of certain Downworlders at certain times and places. But we don’t really get invited to the same parties. ”

“Wait. ” Isabelle suddenly sat up straight. “What did you say that name was?” she demanded, turning to Jace. “The name in Clary’s head. ”

“I didn’t,” said Jace. “At least, I didn’t finish it. It’s Magnus Bane. ” He grinned at Alec mockingly. “Rhymes with ‘overcareful pain in the ass. ’”

Alec muttered a retort into his coffee. It rhymed with something that sounded a lot more like “ducking glass mole. ” Clary smiled inwardly.

“It can’t be—but I’m almost totally sure—” Isabelle dug into her purse and pulled out a folded piece of blue paper. She wiggled it between her fingers. “Look at this. ”

Alec held out his hand for the paper, glanced at it with a shrug, and handed it to Jace. “It’s a party invitation. For somewhere in Brooklyn,” he said. “I hate Brooklyn. ”

“Don’t be such a snob,” said Jace. Then, just as Isabelle had, he sat up straight and stared. “Where did you get this, Izzy?”

She fluttered her hand airily. “From that kelpie in Pandemonium. He said it would be awesome. He had a whole stack of them. ”

“What is it?” Clary demanded impatiently. “Are you going to show the rest of us, or not?”

Jace turned it around so they could all read it. It was printed on thin paper, nearly parchment, in a thin, elegant, spidery hand. It announced a gathering at the humble home of Magnus the Magnificent Warlock, and promised attendees “a rapturous evening of delights beyond your wildest imaginings. ”

“Magnus,” said Simon. “Magnus like Magnus Bane?”

“I doubt there are that many warlocks named Magnus in the Tristate Area,” said Jace.

Alec blinked at it. “Does that mean we have to go to the party?” he inquired of no one in particular.

“We don’t have to do anything,” said Jace, who was reading the fine print on the invitation. “But according to this, Magnus Bane is the High Warlock of Brooklyn. ” He looked at Clary. “I, for one, am a little curious as to what the High Warlock of Brooklyn’s name is doing inside your head. ”

The party didn’t start until midnight, so with a whole day to kill, Jace and Alec disappeared to the weapons room and Isabelle and Simon announced their intention of going for a walk in Central Park so that she could show him the faerie circles. Simon asked Clary if she wanted to come along. Stifling a murderous rage, she refused on the grounds of exhaustion.

It wasn’t exactly a lie—she was exhausted, her body still weakened from the aftereffects of the poison and the too-early rising. She lay on her bed in the Institute, shoes kicked off, willing herself to sleep, but sleep wouldn’t come. The caffeine in her veins fizzed like carbonated water, and her mind was full of darting images. She kept seeing her mother’s face looking down at her, her expression panicked. Kept seeing the Speaking Stars, hearing the voices of the Silent Brothers in her head. Why would there be a block in her mind? Why would a powerful warlock have put it there, and to what purpose? She wondered what memories she might have lost, what experiences she’d had that she couldn’t now recall. Or maybe everything she thought she did remember was a lie …?

She sat up, no longer able to bear where her thoughts were taking her. Barefoot, she padded out into the corridor and toward the library. Maybe Hodge could help her.

But the library was empty. Afternoon light slanted in through the parted curtains, laying bars of gold across the floor. On the desk lay the book Hodge had read out of earlier, its worn leather cover gleaming. Beside it Hugo slept on his perch, beak tucked under wing.

My mother knew that book, Clary thought. She touched it, read out of it. The ache to hold something that was a part of her mother’s life felt like a gnawing at the pit of her stomach. She crossed the room hastily and laid her hands on the book. It felt warm, the leather heated by sunlight. She raised the cover.

Something folded slid out from between the pages and fluttered to the floor at her feet. She bent to retrieve it, smoothing it open reflexively.

It was the photograph of a group of young people, none much older than Clary herself. She knew it had been taken at least twenty years ago, not because of the clothes they were wearing—which, like most Shadowhunter gear, were nondescript and black—but because she recognized her mother instantly: Jocelyn, no more than seventeen or eighteen, her hair halfway down her back and her face a little rounder, the chin and mouth less defined. She looks like me, Clary thought dazedly.

Jocelyn’s arm was around a boy Clary didn’t recognize. It gave her a jolt. She’d never thought of her mother being involved with anyone other than her father, since Jocelyn had never dated or seemed interested in romance. She wasn’t like most single mothers, who trolled PTA meetings for likely-looking dads, or Simon’s mom, who was always checking her profile on JDate. The boy was good-looking, with hair so fair it was nearly white, and black eyes.

“That’s Valentine,” said a voice at her elbow. “When he was seventeen. ”

She leaped back, almost dropping the photo. Hugo gave a startled and unhappy caw before settling back down on his perch, feathers ruffled.

It was Hodge, looking at her with curious eyes.

“I’m so sorry,” she said, setting the photograph down on the desk and backing hastily away. “I didn’t mean to pry into your things. ”

“It’s all right. ” He touched the photograph with a scarred and weathered hand—a strange contrast to the neat spotlessness of his tweed cuffs. “It’s a piece of your past, after all. ”

Clary drifted back toward the desk as if the photo exerted a magnetic pull. The white-haired boy in the photo was smiling at Jocelyn, his eyes crinkled in that way that boys’ eyes crinkled when they really liked you. Nobody, Clary thought, had ever looked at her that way. Valentine, with his cold, fine-featured face, looked absolutely unlike her own father, with his open smile and the bright hair she’d inherited. “Valentine looks … sort of nice. ”

“Nice he wasn’t,” said Hodge, with a twisted smile, “but he was charming and clever and very persuasive. Do you recognize anyone else?”

She looked again. Standing behind Valentine, a little to the left, was a thin boy with a shock of light brown hair. He had the big shoulders and gawky wrists of someone who hadn’t grown into his height yet. “Is that you?”

Hodge nodded. “And …?”

She had to look twice before she identified someone else she knew: so young as to be nearly unrecognizable. In the end his glasses gave him away, and the eyes behind them, light blue as seawater. “Luke,” she said.

“Lucian. And here. ” Leaning over the photo, Hodge indicated an elegant-looking teenage couple, both dark-haired, the girl half a head taller than the boy. Her features were narrow and predatory, almost cruel. “The Lightwoods,” he said. “And there”—he indicated a very handsome boy with curling dark hair, high color in his square-jawed face—“is Michael Wayland. ”

“He doesn’t look anything like Jace. ”

“Jace resembles his mother. ”

“Is this, like, a class photo?” Clary asked.

“Not quite. This is a picture of the Circle, taken in the year it was formed. That’s why Valentine, the leader, is in the front, and Luke is on his right side—he was Valentine’s second in command. ”

Clary turned her gaze away. “I still don’t understand why my mother would join something like that. ”

“You must understand—”

“You keep saying that,” Clary said crossly. “I don’t see why I must understand anything. You tell me the truth, and I’ll either understand it or I won’t. ”

The corner of Hodge’s mouth twitched. “As you say. ” He paused to reach out a hand and stroke Hugo, who was strutting along the edge of the desk importantly. “The Accords have never had the support of the whole Clave. The more venerable families, especially, cling to the old times, when Downworlders were for killing. Not just out of hatred but because it made them feel safer. It is easier to confront a threat as a mass, a group, not individuals who must be evaluated one by one … and most of us knew someone who had been injured or killed by a Downworlder. There is nothing,” he added, “quite like the moral absolutism of the young. It’s easy, as a child, to believe in good and evil, in light and dark. Valentine never lost that—neither his destructive idealism nor his passionate loathing of anything he considered ‘nonhuman. ’”

“But he loved my mother,” said Clary.

“Yes. He loved your mother. And he loved Idris …. ”

“What was so great about Idris?” Clary asked, hearing the grumpiness in her own voice.

“It was,” Hodge began, and corrected himself, “it is home—for the Nephilim, where they can be their true selves, a place where there is no need for hiding or glamour. A place blessed by the Angel. You have never seen a city until you have seen Alicante of the glass towers. It is more beautiful than you can imagine. ” There was raw pain in his voice.

Clary thought suddenly of her dream. “Were there ever … dances in the Glass City?”

Hodge blinked at her as if waking up from a dream. “Every week. I never attended, but your mother did. And Valentine. ” He chuckled softly. “I was more of a scholar. I spent my days in the library in Alicante. The books you see here are only a fraction of the treasures it holds. I thought perhaps I might join the Brotherhood someday, but after what I did, of course, they would not have me. ”

“I’m sorry,” Clary said awkwardly. Her mind was still full of the memory of her dream. Was there a mermaid fountain where they danced? Did Valentine wear white, so that my mother could see the Marks on his skin even through his shirt?

“Can I keep this?” she asked, indicating the photograph.

A flicker of hesitation passed over Hodge’s face. “I would prefer you not show it to Jace,” he said. “He has enough to contend with, without photos of his dead father turning up. ”

“Of course. ” She hugged it to her chest. “Thank you. ”

“It’s nothing. ” He looked at her quizzically. “Did you come to the library to see me, or for some other purpose?”

“I was wondering if you’d heard from the Clave. About the Cup. And—my mom. ”

“I got a short reply this morning. ”

She could hear the eagerness in her own voice. “Have they sent people? Shadowhunters?”

Hodge looked away from her. “Yes, they have. ”

“Why aren’t they staying here?” she asked.

“There is some concern that the Institute is being watched by Valentine. The less he knows, the better. ” He saw her miserable expression, and sighed. “I’m sorry I can’t tell you more, Clarissa. I am not much trusted by the Clave, even now. They told me very little. I wish I could help you. ”

There was something about the sadness in his voice that made her reluctant to push him for more information. “You can,” she said. “I can’t sleep. I keep thinking too much. Could you …”

“Ah, the unquiet mind. ” His voice was full of sympathy. “I can give you something for that. Wait here. ”

The potion Hodge gave her smelled pleasantly of juniper and leaves. Clary kept opening the vial and smelling it on her way back down the corridor. It was unfortunately still open when she entered her bedroom and found Jace sprawled out on the bed, looking at her sketchbook. With a little shriek of astonishment, she dropped the vial; it bounced across the floor, spilling pale green liquid onto the hardwood.

“Oh, dear,” said Jace, sitting up, the sketchbook abandoned. “I hope that wasn’t anything important. ”

“It was a sleeping potion,” she said angrily, toeing the vial with the tip of a sneaker. “And now it’s gone. ”

“If only Simon were here. He could probably bore you to sleep. ”

Clary was in no mood to defend Simon. Instead she sat down on the bed, picking up the sketchbook. “I don’t usually let people look at this. ”

“Why not?” Jace looked tousled, as if he’d been asleep himself. “You’re a pretty good artist. Sometimes even excellent. ”

“Well, because—it’s like a diary. Except I don’t think in words, I think in pictures, so it’s all drawings. But it’s still private. ” She wondered if she sounded as crazy as she suspected.

Jace looked wounded. “A diary with no drawings of me in it? Where are the torrid fantasies? The romance novel covers? The—”

“Do all the girls you meet fall in love with you?” Clary asked quietly.

The question seemed to deflate him, like a pin popping a balloon. “It’s not love,” he said, after a pause. “At least—”

“You could try not being charming all the time,” Clary said. “It might be a relief for everyone. ”

He looked down at his hands. They were like Hodge’s hands already, snowflaked with tiny white scars, though the skin was young and unlined. “If you’re really tired, I could put you to sleep,” he said. “Tell you a bedtime story. ”

She looked at him. “Are you serious?”

“I’m always serious. ”

She wondered if being tired had made them both a little crazy. But Jace didn’t look tired. He looked almost sad. She set the sketchbook down on the night table, and lay down, curling sideways on the pillow. “Okay. ”

“Close your eyes. ”

She closed them. She could see the afterimage of lamplight reflected against her inner lids, like tiny starbursts.

“Once there was a boy,” said Jace.

Clary interrupted immediately. “A Shadowhunter boy?”

“Of course. ” For a moment a bleak amusement colored his voice. Then it was gone. “When the boy was six years old, his father gave him a falcon to train. Falcons are raptors—killing birds, his father told him, the Shadowhunters of the sky.

“The falcon didn’t like the boy, and the boy didn’t like it, either. Its sharp beak made him nervous, and its bright eyes always seemed to be watching him. It would slash at him with beak and talons when he came near: For weeks his wrists and hands were always bleeding. He didn’t know it, but his father had selected a falcon that had lived in the wild for over a year, and thus was nearly impossible to tame. But the boy tried, because his father had told him to make the falcon obedient, and he wanted to please his father.

“He stayed with the falcon constantly, keeping it awake by talking to it and even playing music to it, because a tired bird was meant to be easier to tame. He learned the equipment: the jesses, the hood, the brail, the leash that bound the bird to his wrist. He was meant to keep the falcon blind, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it—instead he tried to sit where the bird could see him as he touched and stroked its wings, willing it to trust him. He fed it from his hand, and at first it would not eat. Later it ate so savagely that its beak cut the skin of his palm. But the boy was glad, because it was progress, and because he wanted the bird to know him, even if the bird had to consume his blood to make that happen.

“He began to see that the falcon was beautiful, that its slim wings were built for the speed of flight, that it was strong and swift, fierce and gentle. When it dived to the ground, it moved like light. When it learned to circle and come to his wrist, he nearly shouted with delight. Sometimes the bird would hop to his shoulder and put its beak in his hair. He knew his falcon loved him, and when he was certain it was not just tamed but perfectly tamed, he went to his father and showed him what he had done, expecting him to be proud.

“Instead his father took the bird, now tame and trusting, in his hands and broke its neck. ‘I told you to make it obedient,’ his father said, and dropped the falcon’s lifeless body to the ground. ‘Instead, you taught it to love you. Falcons are not meant to be loving pets: They are fierce and wild, savage and cruel. This bird was not tamed; it was broken. ’

“Later, when his father left him, the boy cried over his pet, until eventually his father sent a servant to take the body of the bird away and bury it. The boy never cried again, and he never forgot what he’d learned: that to love is to destroy, and that to be loved is to be the one destroyed. ”

Clary, who had been lying still, hardly breathing, rolled onto her back and opened her eyes. “That’s an awful story,” she said indignantly.

Jace had his legs pulled up, his chin on his knees. “Is it?” he said ruminatively.

“The boy’s father is horrible. It’s a story about child abuse. I should have known that’s what Shadowhunters think a bedtime story is like. Anything that gives you screaming nightmares—”

“Sometimes the Marks can give you screaming nightmares,” said Jace. “If you get them when you’re too young. ” He looked at her thoughtfully. The late afternoon light came in through the curtains and made his face a study in contrasts. Chiaroscuro, she thought. The art of shadows and light. “It’s a good story if you think about it,” he said. “The boy’s father is just trying to make him stronger. Inflexible. ”

“But you have to learn to bend a little,” said Clary with a yawn. Despite the story’s content, the rhythm of Jace’s voice had made her sleepy. “Or you’ll break. ”

“Not if you’re strong enough,” said Jace firmly. He reached out, and she felt the back of his hand brush her cheek; she realized her eyes were slipping shut. Exhaustion made her bones liquid; she felt as if she might wash away and vanish. As she fell into sleep, she heard the echo of words in her mind. He gave me anything I wanted. Horses, weapons, books, even a hunting falcon.

“Jace,” she tried to say. But sleep had her in its claws; it drew her down, and she was silent.

She was woken by an urgent voice. “Get up!”

Clary opened her eyes slowly. They felt gluey, stuck together. Something was tickling her face. It was someone’s hair. She sat up quickly, and her head struck something hard.

“Ow! You hit me in the head!” It was a girl’s voice. Isabelle. She flicked on the light next to the bed and regarded Clary resentfully, rubbing at her scalp. She seemed to shimmer in the lamplight—she was wearing a long silvery skirt and a sequined top, and her nails were painted like glittering coins. Strands of silver beads were caught in her dark hair. She looked like a moon goddess. Clary hated her.

“Well, nobody told you to lean over me like that. You practically scared me to death. ” Clary rubbed at her own head. There was a sore spot just above her eyebrow. “What do you want, anyway?”

Isabelle indicated the dark night sky outside. “It’s almost midnight. We’ve got to leave for the party, and you’re still not dressed. ”

“I was just going to wear this,” Clary said, indicating her jeans and T-shirt ensemble. “Is that a problem?”

“Is that a problem?” Isabelle looked like she might faint. “Of course it’s a problem! No Downworlder would wear those clothes. And it’s a party. You’ll stick out like a sore thumb if you dress that … casually,” she finished, looking as if the word she’d wanted to use was a lot worse than “casually. ”

“I didn’t know we were dressing up,” Clary said sourly. “I don’t have any party clothes with me. ”

“You’ll just have to borrow mine. ”

“Oh no. ” Clary thought of the too-big T-shirt and jeans. “I mean, I couldn’t. Really. ”

Isabelle’s smile was as glittering as her nails. “I insist. ”

“I’d really rather wear my own clothes,” Clary protested, squirming uncomfortably as Isabelle positioned her in front of the floor-length mirror in her bedroom.

“Well, you can’t,” Isabelle said. “You look about eight years old, and worse, you look like a mundane. ”

Clary set her jaw rebelliously. “None of your clothes are going to fit me. ”

“We’ll see about that. ”

Clary watched Isabelle in the mirror as she riffled through her closet. Her room looked as if a disco ball had exploded inside it. The walls were black and shimmered with swirls of sponged-on golden paint. Clothes were strewn everywhere: on the rumpled black bed, hung over the backs of the wooden chairs, spilling out of the closet and the tall wardrobe propped against one wall. Her vanity table, its mirror rimmed with spangled pink fur, was covered in glitter, sequins, and pots of blush and powder.

“Nice room,” Clary said, thinking longingly of her orange walls at home.

“Thanks. I painted it myself. ” Isabelle emerged from the closet, holding something black and slinky. She tossed it at Clary.

Clary held the cloth up, letting it unfold. “It looks awfully small. ”

“It’s stretchy,” said Isabelle. “Now go put it on. ”

Hastily, Clary retreated to the small bathroom, which was painted bright blue. She wriggled the dress on over her head—it was tight, with tiny spaghetti straps. Trying not to inhale too deeply, she returned to the bedroom, where Isabelle was sitting on the bed, sliding a set of jeweled toe rings onto her sandaled feet. “You’re so lucky to have such a flat chest,” Isabelle said. “I could never wear that without a bra. ”

Clary scowled. “It’s too short. ”

“It’s not short. It’s fine,” Isabelle said, toeing around under the bed. She kicked out a pair of boots and some black fishnet tights. “Here, you can wear these with it. They’ll make you look taller. ”

“Right, because I’m flat-chested and a midget. ” Clary tugged the hem of the dress down. It just brushed the tops of her thighs. She hardly ever wore skirts, much less short ones, so seeing this much of her own legs was alarming. “If it’s this short on me, how short must it be on you?” she mused aloud to Isabelle.

Isabelle grinned. “On me it’s a shirt. ”

Clary flopped down on the bed and pulled the tights and boots on. The shoes were a little loose around the calves, but didn’t slide around on her feet. She laced them to the top and stood up, looking at herself in the mirror. She had to admit that the combination of short black dress, fishnets, and high boots was fairly badass. The only thing that spoiled it was—

“Your hair,” Isabelle said. “It needs fixing. Desperately. Sit. ” She pointed imperiously toward the vanity table. Clary sat, and squinched her eyes shut as Isabelle yanked her hair out of its braids—none too kindly—brushed it out, and shoved what felt like bobby pins into it. She opened her eyes just as a powder puff smacked her in the face, releasing a dense cloud of glitter. Clary coughed and glared at Isabelle accusingly.

The other girl laughed. “Don’t look at me. Look at yourself. ”

Glancing in the mirror, Clary saw that Isabelle had pulled her hair up into an elegant swirl on the top of her head, held in place with sparkling pins. Clary was reminded suddenly of her dream, the heavy hair weighing her head down, dancing with Simon … She stirred restlessly.

“Don’t get up yet,” Isabelle said. “We’re not done. ” She seized an eyeliner pen. “Open your eyes. ”

Clary widened her eyes, which was good for keeping herself from crying. “Isabelle, can I ask you something?”

“Sure,” said Isabelle, wielding the eyeliner expertly.

“Is Alec gay?”

Isabelle’s wrist jerked. The eyeliner skidded, inking a long line of black from the corner of Clary’s eye to her hairline. “Oh, hell,” Isabelle said, putting the pen down.

“It’s all right,” Clary began, putting her hand up to her eye.

“No, it isn’t. ” Isabelle sounded near tears as she scrabbled around among the piles of junk on top of the vanity. Eventually she came up with a cotton ball, which she handed to Clary. “Here. Use this. ” She sat down on the edge of the bed, ankle bracelets jingling, and looked at Clary through her hair. “How did you guess?” she said finally.


“You absolutely can’t tell anyone,” said Isabelle.

“Not even Jace?”

“Especially not Jace!”

“All right. ” Clary heard the stiffness in her own voice. “I guess I didn’t realize it was such a big deal. ”

“It would be to my parents,” said Isabelle quietly. “They would disown him and throw him out of the Clave—”

“What, you can’t be gay and a Shadowhunter?”

“There’s no official rule about it. But people don’t like it. I mean, less with people our age—I think,” she added, uncertainly, and Clary remembered how few other people her age Isabelle had ever really met. “But the older generation, no. If it happens, you don’t talk about it. ”

“Oh,” said Clary, wishing she’d never mentioned it.

“I love my brother,” said Isabelle. “I’d do anything for him. But there’s nothing I can do. ”

“At least he has you,” said Clary awkwardly, and she thought for a moment of Jace, who thought of love as something that broke you into pieces. “Do you really think that Jace would … mind?”

“I don’t know,” said Isabelle, in a tone that indicated she’d had enough of the topic. “But it’s not my choice to make. ”

“I guess not,” Clary said. She leaned in to the mirror, using the cotton Isabelle had given her to dab away the excess eye makeup. When she sat back, she nearly dropped the cotton ball in surprise: What had Isabelle done to her? Her cheekbones looked sharp and angular, her eyes deep-set, mysterious, and a luminous green.

“I look like my mom,” she said in surprise.

Isabelle raised her eyebrows. “What? Too middle-aged? Maybe some more glitter—”

“No more glitter,” Clary said hastily. “No, it’s good. I like it. ”

“Great. ” Isabelle bounced up off the bed, her anklets chiming. “Let’s go. ”

“I need to stop by my room and grab something,” Clary said, standing up. “Also—do I need any weapons? Do you?”

“I’ve got plenty. ” Isabelle smiled, kicking her feet up so that her anklets jingled like Christmas bells. “These, for instance. The left one is electrum, which is poisonous to demons, and the right one is blessed iron, in case I run across any unfriendly vampires or even faeries—faeries hate iron. They both have strength runes carved into them, so I can pack a hell of a kick. ”

“Demon-hunting and fashion,” Clary said. “I never would have thought they went together. ”

Isabelle laughed out loud. “You’d be surprised. ”

* * *

The boys were waiting for them in the entryway. They were wearing black, even Simon, in a slightly too-big pair of black pants and his own shirt turned inside out to hide the band logo. He was standing uncomfortably to the side while Jace and Alec slouched together against the wall, looking bored. Simon glanced up as Isabelle strode into the entryway, her gold whip coiled around her wrist, her metal ankle chains chiming like bells. Clary expected him to look stunned—Isabelle did look amazing—but his eyes slid past her to Clary, where they rested with a look of astonishment.

“What is that?” he demanded, straightening up. “That you’re wearing, I mean. ”

Clary looked down at herself. She’d thrown a light jacket on to make her feel less naked and grabbed her backpack from her room. It was slung over her shoulder, bumping familiarly between her shoulder blades. But Simon wasn’t looking at her backpack; he was looking at her legs as if he’d never seen them before.

“It’s a dress, Simon,” Clary said dryly. “I know I don’t wear them that much, but really. ”

“It’s so short,” he said in confusion. Even half in demon hunter clothes, Clary thought, he looked like the sort of boy who’d come over to your house to pick you up for a date and be polite to your parents and nice to your pets.

Jace, on the other hand, looked like the sort of boy who’d come over to your house and burn it down for kicks. “I like the dress,” he said, unhitching himself from the wall. His eyes ran up and down her lazily, like the stroking paws of a cat. “It needs a little something extra, though. ”

“So now you’re a fashion expert?” Her voice came out unevenly—he was standing very close to her, close enough that she could feel the warmth of him, smell the faint burned scent of newly applied Marks.

He took something out of his jacket and handed it to her. It was a long thin dagger in a leather sheath. The hilt of the dagger was set with a single red stone carved in the shape of a rose.

She shook her head. “I wouldn’t even know how to use that—”

He pressed it into her hand, curling her fingers around it. “You’d learn. ” He dropped his voice. “It’s in your blood. ”

She drew her hand back slowly. “All right. ”

“I could give you a thigh sheath to put that in,” Isabelle offered. “I’ve got tons. ”

“CERTAINLY NOT,” said Simon.

Clary shot him an irritated look. “Thanks, but I’m not really a thigh sheath kind of girl. ” She slid the dagger into the outside pocket on her backpack.

She looked up from closing it to find Jace watching her through hooded eyes. “And one last thing,” he said. He reached over and pulled the sparkling pins out of her hair, so that it fell in warm and heavy curls down her neck. The sensation of hair tickling her bare skin was unfamiliar and oddly pleasant.

“Much better,” he said, and she thought this time that maybe his voice was slightly uneven too.

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