City of Bones – Chapter 13: THE MEMORY OF WHITENESS

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Chapter 13: THE MEMORY OF WHITENESS

“MY MOTHER DID THIS TO ME?” CLARY DEMANDED, BUT her surprised outrage didn’t sound convincing, even to her own ears. Looking around, she saw pity in Jace’s eyes, in Alec’s—even Alec had guessed and felt sorry for her. “Why?”

“I don’t know. ” Magnus spread his long white hands. “It’s not my job to ask questions. I do what I get paid to do. ”

“Within the bounds of the Covenant,” Jace reminded him, his voice soft as cat’s fur.

Magnus inclined his head. “Within the bounds of the Covenant, of course. ”

“So the Covenant’s all right with this—this mind-rape?” Clary asked bitterly. When no one answered, she sank down on the edge of Magnus’s bed. “Was it only once? Was there something specific she wanted me to forget? Do you know what it was?”

Magnus paced restlessly to the window. “I don’t think you understand. The first time I ever saw you, you must have been about two years old. I was watching out this window”—he tapped the glass, freeing a shower of dust and paint chips—“and I saw her hurrying up the street, holding something wrapped in a blanket. I was surprised when she stopped at my door. She looked so ordinary, so young. ”

The moonlight touched his hawkish profile with silver. “She unwrapped the blanket when she came in my door. You were inside it. She set you down on the floor and you started ranging around, picking things up, pulling my cat’s tail—you screamed like a banshee when the cat scratched you, so I asked your mother if you were part banshee. She didn’t laugh. ” He paused. They were all watching him intently now, even Alec. “She told me she was a Shadowhunter. There was no point in her lying about it; Covenant Marks show up, even when they’ve faded with time, like faint silver scars against the skin. They flickered when she moved. ” He rubbed at the glitter makeup around his eyes. “She told me she’d hoped you’d been born with a blind Inner Eye—some Shadowhunters have to be taught to see the Shadow World. But she’d caught you that afternoon, teasing a pixie trapped in a hedge. She knew you could see. So she asked me if it was possible to blind you of the Sight. ”

Clary made a little noise, a pained exhalation of breath, but Magnus went on remorselessly.

“I told her that crippling that part of your mind might leave you damaged, possibly insane. She didn’t cry. She wasn’t the sort of woman who weeps easily, your mother. She asked me if there was another way, and I told her you could be made to forget those parts of the Shadow World that you could see, even as you saw them. The only caveat was that she’d have to come to me every two years as the results of the spell began to fade. ”

“And did she?” asked Clary.

Magnus nodded. “I’ve seen you every two years since that first time—I’ve watched you grow up. You’re the only child I have ever watched grow up that way, you know. In my business one isn’t generally that welcome around human children. ”

“So you recognized Clary when we walked in,” Jace said. “You must have. ”

“Of course I did. ” Magnus sounded exasperated. “And it was a shock, too. But what would you have done? She didn’t know me. She wasn’t supposed to know me. Just the fact that she was here meant the spell had started to fade—and in fact, we were due for another visit about a month ago. I even came by your house when I got back from Tanzania, but Jocelyn said that you two had had a fight and you’d run off. She said she’d call on me when you came back, but”—an elegant shrug—“she never did. ”

A cold wash of memory prickled Clary’s skin. She remembered standing in the foyer next to Simon, straining to remember something that danced just at the edge of her vision … I thought I saw Dorothea’s cat, but it was just a trick of the light.

But Dorothea didn’t have a cat. “You were there, that day,” Clary said. “I saw you coming out of Dorothea’s apartment. I remember your eyes. ”

Magnus looked as if he might purr. “I’m memorable, it’s true,” he gloated. Then he shook his head. “You shouldn’t remember me,” he said. “I threw up a glamour as hard as a wall as soon as I saw you. You should have run right into it face-first—psychically speaking. ”

If you run into a psychic wall face-first, do you wind up with psychic bruises? Clary said, “If you take the spell off me, will I be able to remember all the things I’ve forgotten? All the memories you stole?”

“I can’t take it off you. ” Magnus looked uncomfortable.

“What?” Jace sounded furious. “Why not? The Clave requires you—”

Magnus looked at him coldly. “I don’t like being told what to do, little Shadowhunter. ”

Clary could see how much Jace disliked being referred to as “little,” but before he could snap out a reply, Alec spoke. His voice was soft, thoughtful. “Don’t you know how to reverse it?” he asked. “The spell, I mean. ”

Magnus sighed. “Undoing a spell is a great deal more difficult than creating it in the first place. The intricacy of this one, the care I put into weaving it—if I made even the smallest mistake in unraveling it, her mind could be damaged forever. Besides,” he added, “it’s already begun to fade. The effects will vanish over time on their own. ”

Clary looked at him sharply. “Will I get all my memories back then? Whatever was taken out of my head?”

“I don’t know. They might come back all at once, or in stages. Or you might never remember what you’ve forgotten over the years. What your mother asked me to do was unique, in my experience. I’ve no idea what will happen. ”

“But I don’t want to wait. ” Clary folded her hands tightly in her lap, her fingers clamped together so hard that the tips turned white. “All my life I’ve felt like there was something wrong with me. Something missing or damaged. Now I know—”

“I didn’t damage you. ” It was Magnus’s turn to interrupt, his lips curled back angrily to show sharp white teeth. “Every teenager in the world feels like that, feels broken or out of place, different somehow, royalty mistakenly born into a family of peasants. The difference in your case is that it’s true. You are different. Maybe not better—but different. And it’s no picnic being different. You want to know what it’s like when your parents are good churchgoing folk and you happen to be born with the devil’s mark?” He pointed at his eyes, fingers splayed. “When your father flinches at the sight of you and your mother hangs herself in the barn, driven mad by what she’s done? When I was ten, my father tried to drown me in the creek. I lashed out at him with everything I had—burned him where he stood. I went to the fathers of the church eventually, for sanctuary. They hid me. They say that pity’s a bitter thing, but it’s better than hate. When I found out what I was really, only half a human being, I hated myself. Anything’s better than that. ”

There was silence when Magnus was done speaking. To Clary’s surprise, it was Alec who broke it. “It wasn’t your fault,” he said. “You can’t help how you’re born. ”

Magnus’s expression was closed. “I’m over it,” he said. “I think you get my point. Different isn’t better, Clarissa. Your mother was trying to protect you. Don’t throw it back in her face. ”

Clary’s hands relaxed their grip on each other. “I don’t care if I’m different,” she said. “I just want to be who I really am. ”

Magnus swore, in a language she didn’t know. It sounded like crackling flames. “All right. Listen. I can’t undo what I’ve done, but I can give you something else. A piece of what would have been yours if you’d been raised a true child of the Nephilim. ” He stalked across the room to the bookcase and dragged down a heavy volume bound in rotting green velvet. He flipped through the pages, shedding dust and bits of blackened cloth. The pages were thin, almost translucent eggshell parchment, each marked with a stark black rune.

Jace’s eyebrows went up. “Is that a copy of the Gray Book?”

Magnus, feverishly flipping pages, said nothing.

“Hodge has one,” Alec observed. “He showed it to me once. ”

“It’s not gray,” Clary felt compelled to point out. “It’s green. ”

“If there was such a thing as terminal literalism, you’d have died in childhood,” said Jace, brushing dust off the windowsill and eyeing it as if considering whether it was clean enough to sit on. “Gray is short for ‘Gramarye. ’ It means ‘magic, hidden wisdom. ’ In it is copied every rune the Angel Raziel wrote in the original Book of the Covenant. There aren’t many copies because each one has to be specially made. Some of the runes are so powerful they’d burn through regular pages. ”

Alec looked impressed. “I didn’t know all that. ”

Jace hopped up on the windowsill and swung his legs. “Not all of us sleep through history lessons. ”

“I do not—”

“Oh, yes you do, and drool on the desk besides. ”

“Shut up,” said Magnus, but he said it quite mildly. He hooked his finger between two pages of the book and came over to Clary, setting it carefully in her lap. “Now, when I open the book, I want you to study the page. Look at it until you feel something change inside your mind. ”

“Will it hurt?” Clary asked nervously.

“All knowledge hurts,” he replied, and stood up, letting the book fall open in her lap. Clary stared down at the clean white page with the black rune Mark spilled across it. It looked something like a winged spiral, until she tilted her head, and then it seemed like a staff wound around with vines. The mutable corners of the pattern tickled her mind like feathers brushed against sensitive skin. She felt the shivery flicker of reaction, making her want to close her eyes, but she held them open until they stung and blurred. She was about to blink when she felt it: a click inside her head, like a key turning in a lock.

The rune on the page seemed to spring into sharp focus, and she thought, involuntarily, Remember. If the rune were a word, it would have been that one, but there was more meaning to it than any word she could imagine. It was a child’s first memory of light falling through crib bars, the recollected scent of rain and city streets, the pain of unforgotten loss, the sting of remembered humiliation, and the cruel forgetfulness of old age, when the most ancient of memories stand out with agonizingly clear precision and the nearest of incidents are lost beyond recall.

With a little sigh she turned to the next page, and the next, letting the images and sensations flow over her. Sorrow. Thought. Strength. Protection. Grace—and then cried out in reproachful surprise as Magnus snatched the book off her lap.

“That’s enough,” he said, sliding it back onto its shelf. He dusted his hands off on his colorful pants, leaving streaks of gray. “If you read all the runes at once, you’ll give yourself a headache. ”

“But—”

“Most Shadowhunter children grow up learning one rune at a time over a period of years,” said Jace. “The Gray Book contains runes even I don’t know. ”

“Imagine that,” said Magnus.

Jace ignored him. “Magnus showed you the rune for understanding and remembrance. It opens your mind up to reading and recognizing the rest of the Marks. ”

“It also may serve as a trigger to activate dormant memories,” said Magnus. “They could return to you more quickly than they would otherwise. It’s the best I can do. ”

Clary looked down at her lap. “I still don’t remember anything about the Mortal Cup. ”

“Is that what this is about?” Magnus sounded actually astonished. “You’re after the Angel’s Cup? Look, I’ve been through your memories. There was nothing in them about the Mortal Instruments. ”

“Mortal Instruments?” Clary echoed, bewildered. “I thought—”

“The Angel gave three items to the first Shadowhunters. A cup, a sword, and a mirror. The Silent Brothers have the Sword; the Cup and the Mirror were in Idris, at least until Valentine came along. ”

“Nobody knows where the Mirror is,” said Alec. “Nobody’s known for ages. ”

“It’s the Cup that concerns us,” said Jace. “Valentine’s looking for it. ”

“And you want to get to it before he does?” Magnus asked, his eyebrows winging upward.

“I thought you said you didn’t know who Valentine was?” Clary pointed out.

“I lied,” Magnus admitted candidly. “I’m not one of the fey, you know. I’m not required to be truthful. And only a fool would get between Valentine and his revenge. ”

“Is that what you think he’s after? Revenge?” said Jace.

“I would guess so. He suffered a grave defeat, and he hardly seemed—seems—the type of man to suffer defeat gracefully. ”

Alec looked harder at Magnus. “Were you at the Uprising?”

Magnus’s eyes locked with Alec’s. “I was. I killed a number of your folk. ”

“Circle members,” said Jace quickly. “Not ours—”

“If you insist on disavowing that which is ugly about what you do,” said Magnus, still looking at Alec, “you will never learn from your mistakes. ”

Alec, plucking at the coverlet with one hand, flushed an unhappy red. “You don’t seem surprised to hear that Valentine’s still alive,” he said, avoiding Magnus’s gaze.

Magnus spread his hands wide. “Are you?”

Jace opened his mouth, then closed it again. He looked actually baffled. Eventually, he said, “So you won’t help us find the Mortal Cup?”

“I wouldn’t if I could,” said Magnus, “which, by the way, I can’t. I’ve no idea where it is, and I don’t care to know. Only a fool, as I said. ”

Alec sat up straighter. “But without the Cup, we can’t—”

“Make more of you. I know,” said Magnus. “Perhaps not everyone regards that as quite the disaster that you do. Mind you,” he added, “if I had to choose between the Clave and Valentine, I would choose the Clave. At least they’re not actually sworn to wipe out my kind. But nothing the Clave has done has earned my unswerving loyalty either. So no, I’ll sit this one out. Now if we’re done here, I’d like to get back to my party before any of the guests eat each other. ”

Jace, who was clenching and unclenching his hands, looked like he was about to say something furious, but Alec, standing up, put a hand on his shoulder. Clary couldn’t quite tell in the dimness, but it looked as if Alec was squeezing rather hard. “Is that likely?” he asked.

Magnus was looking at him with some amusement. “It’s happened before. ”

Jace muttered something to Alec, who let go. Detaching himself, he came over to Clary. “Are you all right?” he asked in a low voice.

“I think so. I don’t feel any different …”

Magnus, standing by the door, snapped his fingers impatiently. “Move it along, teenagers. The only person who gets to canoodle in my bedroom is my magnificent self. ”

“Canoodle?” repeated Clary, never having heard the word before.

“Magnificent?” repeated Jace, who was just being nasty. Magnus growled. The growl sounded like “Get out. ”

They got, Magnus trailing behind them as he paused to lock the bedroom door. The tenor of the party seemed subtly different to Clary. Perhaps it was just her slightly altered vision: Everything seemed clearer, crystalline edges sharply defined. She watched a group of musicians take the small stage at the center of the room. They wore flowing garments in deep colors of gold, purple, and green, and their high voices were sharp and ethereal.

“I hate faerie bands,” Magnus muttered as the musicians segued into another haunting song, the melody as delicate and translucent as rock crystal. “All they ever play is mopey ballads. ”

Jace, glancing around the room, laughed. “Where’s Isabelle?”

A rush of guilty concern hit Clary. She’d forgotten about Simon. She spun around, looking for the familiar skinny shoulders and shock of dark hair. “I don’t see him. Them, I mean. ”

“There she is. ” Alec spotted his sister and waved her over, looking relieved. “Over here. And watch out for the phouka. ”

“Watch out for the phouka?” Jace repeated, glancing toward a thin brown-skinned man in a green paisley vest who eyed Isabelle thoughtfully as she walked by.

“He pinched me when I passed him earlier,” Alec said stiffly. “In a highly personal area. ”

“I hate to break it to you, but if he’s interested in your highly personal areas, he probably isn’t interested in your sister’s. ”

“Not necessarily,” said Magnus. “Faeries aren’t particular. ”

Jace curled his lip scornfully in the warlock’s direction. “You still here?”

Before Magnus could reply, Isabelle was on top of them, looking pink-faced and blotchy and smelling strongly of alcohol. “Jace! Alec! Where have you been? I’ve been looking all over—”

“Where’s Simon?” Clary interrupted.

Isabelle wobbled. “He’s a rat,” she said darkly.

“Did he do something to you?” Alec was full of brotherly concern. “Did he touch you? If he tried anything—”

“No, Alec,” Isabelle said irritably. “Not like that. He’s a rat. ”

“She’s drunk,” said Jace, beginning to turn away in disgust.

“I’m not,” Isabelle said indignantly. “Well, maybe a little, but that’s not the point. The point is, Simon drank one of those blue drinks—I told him not to, but he didn’t listen—and he turned into a rat. ”

“A rat?” Clary repeated incredulously. “You don’t mean …”

“I mean a rat,” Isabelle said. “Little. Brown. Scaly tail. ”

“The Clave isn’t going to like this,” said Alec dubiously. “I’m pretty sure turning mundanes into rats is against the Law. ”

“Technically she didn’t turn him into a rat,” Jace pointed out. “The worst she could be accused of is negligence. ”

“Who cares about the stupid Law?” Clary screamed, grabbing hold of Isabelle’s wrist. “My best friend is a rat!”

“Ouch!” Isabelle tried to pull her wrist back. “Let go of me!”

“Not until you tell me where he is. ” She’d never wanted to smack anyone as much as she wanted to smack Isabelle right at that moment. “I can’t believe you just left him—he’s probably terrified—”

“If he hasn’t been stepped on,” Jace pointed out unhelpfully.

“I didn’t leave him. He ran under the bar,” Isabelle protested, pointing. “Let go! You’re denting my bracelet. ”

“Bitch,” Clary said savagely, and flung a surprised-looking Isabelle’s hand back at her, hard. She didn’t stop for a reaction; she was running toward the bar. Dropping to her knees, she peered into the dark space under it. In the moldy-smelling gloom, she thought she could just detect a pair of glinting, beady eyes.

“Simon?” she said, her voice choked. “Is that you?”

Simon-the-rat crept forward slightly, his whiskers trembling. She could see the shape of his small rounded ears, flat against his head, and the sharp point of his nose. She fought down a feeling of revulsion—she’d never liked rats, with their yellowy squared-off teeth all ready to bite. She wished he’d been turned into a hamster.

“It’s me, Clary,” she said slowly. “Are you okay?”

Jace and the others arrived behind her, Isabelle looking more annoyed now than tearful. “Is he under there?” Jace asked curiously.

Clary, still on her hands and knees, nodded. “Shh. You’ll frighten him off. ” She pushed her fingers gingerly under the edge of the bar, and wiggled them. “Please come out, Simon. We’ll get Magnus to reverse the spell. It’ll be okay. ”

She heard a squeak, and the rat’s pink nose poked out from beneath the bar. With an exclamation of relief, Clary seized the rat in her hands. “Simon! You understood me!”

The rat, huddled in the hollow of her palms, squeaked glumly. Delighted, she hugged him to her chest. “Oh, poor baby,” she crooned, almost as if he really were a pet. “Poor Simon, it’ll be fine, I promise—”

“I wouldn’t feel too sorry for him,” Jace said. “That’s probably the closest he’s ever gotten to second base. ”

“Shut up !” Clary glared at Jace furiously, but she did loosen her grip on the rat. His whiskers were trembling, whether in anger or agitation or simple terror, she couldn’t tell. “Get Magnus,” she said sharply. “We have to turn him back. ”

“Let’s not be hasty. ” Jace was actually grinning, the bastard. He reached toward Simon as if he meant to pet him. “He’s cute like that. Look at his little pink nose. ”

Simon bared long yellow teeth at Jace and made a snapping motion. Jace pulled his outstretched hand back. “Izzy, go fetch our magnificent host. ”

“Why me?” Isabelle looked petulant.

“Because it’s your fault the mundane’s a rat, idiot,” he said, and Clary was struck by how rarely any of them, other than Isabelle, ever said Simon’s actual name. “And we can’t leave him here. ”

“You’d be happy to leave him if it weren’t for her,” Isabelle said, managing to inject the single syllable word with enough venom to poison an elephant. She stalked off, her skirt flouncing around her hips.

“I can’t believe she let you drink that blue drink,” Clary said to rat-Simon. “Now you see what you get for being so shallow. ”

Simon squeaked irritably. Clary heard someone chuckle and glanced up to see Magnus leaning over her. Isabelle stood behind him, her expression furious. “Rattus norvegicus,” said Magnus, peering at Simon. “A common brown rat, nothing exotic. ”

“I don’t care what kind of rat he is,” Clary said crossly. “I want him turned back. ”

Magnus scratched his head thoughtfully, shedding glitter. “No point,” he said.

“That’s what I said. ” Jace looked pleased.

“NO POINT?” Clary shouted, so loudly that Simon hid his head under her thumb. “HOW CAN YOU SAY THERE’s NO POINT?”

“Because he’ll turn back on his own in a few hours,” said Magnus. “The effect of the cocktails is temporary. No point working up a transformation spell; it’ll just traumatize him. Too much magic is hard on mundanes; their systems aren’t used to it. ”

“I doubt his system is used to being a rat, either,” Clary pointed out. “You’re a warlock; can’t you just reverse the spell?”

Magnus considered. “No,” he said.

“You mean you won’t. ”

“Not for free, darling, and you can’t afford me. ”

“I can’t take a rat home on the subway either,” Clary said plaintively. “I’ll drop him, or one of the MTA police will arrest me for transporting pests on the transit system. ” Simon chirped his annoyance. “Not that you’re a pest, of course. ”

A girl who had been shouting by the door was now joined by six or seven others. The sound of angry voices rose above the hum of the party and the strains of the music. Magnus rolled his eyes. “Excuse me,” he said, backing into the crowd, which closed behind him instantly.

Isabelle, wobbling on her sandals, expelled a gusty sigh. “So much for his help. ”

“You know,” Alec said, “you could always put the rat in your backpack. ”

Clary looked at him hard, but couldn’t find anything wrong with the idea. It wasn’t as if she had a pocket she could have tucked him in. Isabelle’s clothes didn’t allow for pockets; they were too tight. Clary was amazed they allowed for Isabelle.

Shrugging off her pack, she found a hiding place for the small brown rat that had once been Simon, nestled between her rolled-up sweater and her sketchpad. He curled up atop her wallet, looking reproachful. “I’m sorry,” she said miserably.

“Don’t bother,” Jace said. “Why mundanes always insist on taking responsibility for things that aren’t their fault is a mystery to me. You didn’t force that cocktail down his idiotic throat. ”

“If it weren’t for me, he wouldn’t have been here at all,” Clary said in a small voice.

“Don’t flatter yourself. He came because of Isabelle. ”

Angrily Clary jerked the top of the bag closed and stood up. “Let’s get out of here. I’m sick of this place. ”

The tight knot of shouting people by the door turned out to be more vampires, easily recognizable by the pallor of their skin and the dead blackness of their hair. They must dye it, Clary thought. They couldn’t possibly all be naturally dark-haired; and besides, some of them had blond eyebrows. They were loudly complaining about their vandalized motorbikes and the fact that some of their friends were missing and unaccounted for.

“They’re probably drunk and passed out somewhere,” Magnus said, waving long white fingers in a bored manner. “You know how you lot tend to turn into bats and piles of dust when you’ve downed a few too many Bloody Marys. ”

“They mix their vodka with real blood,” Jace said in Clary’s ear.

The pressure of his breath made her shiver. “Yes, I got that, thanks. ”

“We can’t go around picking up every pile of dust in the place just in case it turns out to be Gregor in the morning,” said a girl with a sulky mouth and painted-on eyebrows.

“Gregor will be fine. I rarely sweep,” soothed Magnus. “I’m happy to send any stragglers back to the hotel come tomorrow—in a car with blacked-out windows, of course. ”

“But what about our motorbikes?” said a thin boy whose blond roots showed under his bad dye job. A gold earring in the shape of a stake hung from his left earlobe. “It’ll take hours to fix them. ”

“You’ve got until sunrise,” said Magnus, temper visibly fraying. “I suggest you get started. ” He raised his voice. “All right, that’s IT! Party’s over! Everybody out!” He waved his arms, shedding glitter.

With a single loud twang the band ceased playing. A drone of loud complaint rose from the partygoers, but they moved obediently toward the doorway. None of them stopped to thank Magnus for the party.

“Come on. ” Jace pushed Clary toward the exit. The crowd was dense. She held her backpack in front of her, hands wrapped protectively around it. Someone bumped her shoulder, hard, and she yelped and moved sideways, away from Jace. A hand brushed her backpack. She looked up and saw the vampire with the stake earring grinning at her. “Hey, pretty thing,” he said. “What’s in the bag?”

“Holy water,” said Jace, reappearing beside her as if he’d been conjured up like a genie. A sarcastic blond genie with a bad attitude.

“Oooh, a Shadowhunter,” said the vampire. “Scary. ” With a wink he melted back into the crowd.

“Vampires are such prima donnas,” Magnus sighed from the doorway. “Honestly, I don’t know why I have these parties. ”

“Because of your cat,” Clary reminded him.

Magnus perked up. “That’s true. Chairman Meow deserves my every effort. ” He glanced at her and the tight knot of Shadowhunters just behind her. “You on your way out?”

Jace nodded. “Don’t want to overstay our welcome. ”

“What welcome?” Magnus asked. “I’d say it was a pleasure to meet you, but it wasn’t. Not that you aren’t all fairly charming, and as for you—” He dropped a glittery wink at Alec, who looked astounded. “Call me?”

Alec blushed and stuttered and probably would have stood there all night if Jace hadn’t grasped his elbow and hauled him toward the door, Isabelle at their heels. Clary was about to follow when she felt a light tap on her arm; it was Magnus. “I have a message for you,” he said. “From your mother. ”

Clary was so surprised she nearly dropped the pack. “From my mother? You mean, she asked you to tell me something?”

“Not exactly,” Magnus said. His feline eyes, slit by their single vertical pupils like fissures in a green-gold wall, were serious for once. “But I knew her in a way that you didn’t. She did what she did to keep you out of a world that she hated. Her whole existence, the running, the hiding—the lies, as you called them—were to keep you safe. Don’t waste her sacrifices by risking your life. She wouldn’t want that. ”

“She wouldn’t want me to save her?”

“Not if it meant putting yourself in danger. ”

“But I’m the only person who cares what happens to her—”

“No,” Magnus said. “You aren’t. ”

Clary blinked. “I don’t understand. Is there—Magnus, if you know something—”

He cut her off with brutal precision. “And one last thing. ” His eyes flicked toward the door, through which Jace, Alec, and Isabelle had disappeared. “Keep in mind that when your mother fled from the Shadow World, it wasn’t the monsters she was hiding from. Not the warlocks, the wolf-men, the Fair Folk, not even the demons themselves. It was them. It was the Shadowhunters. ”

They were waiting for her outside the warehouse. Jace, hands in pockets, was leaning against the stairway railing and watching as the vampires stalked around their broken motorcycles, cursing and swearing. He had a faint smile on his face. Alec and Isabelle stood a little way off. Isabelle was wiping at her eyes, and Clary felt a wave of irrational anger—Isabelle barely knew Simon. This wasn’t her disaster. Clary was the one who had the right to be carrying on, not the Shadowhunter girl.

Jace unhitched himself from the railing as Clary emerged. He fell into step beside her, not speaking. He seemed lost in thought. Isabelle and Alec, hurrying ahead, sounded like they were arguing with each other. Clary stepped up her pace a little, craning her neck to hear them better.

“It’s not your fault,” Alec was saying. He sounded weary, as if he’d been through this sort of thing with his sister before. Clary wondered how many boyfriends she’d turned into rats by accident. “But it ought to teach you not to go to so many Downworld parties,” he added. “They’re always more trouble than they’re worth. ”

Isabelle sniffed loudly. “If anything had happened to him, I—I don’t know what I would have done. ”

“Probably whatever it is you did before,” said Alec in a bored voice. “It’s not like you knew him all that well. ”

“That doesn’t mean that I don’t—”

“What? Love him?” Alec scoffed, raising his voice. “You need to know someone to love them. ”

“But that’s not all it is. ” Isabelle sounded almost sad. “Didn’t you have any fun at the party, Alec?”

“No. ”

“I thought you might like Magnus. He’s nice, isn’t he?”

“Nice?” Alec looked at her as if she were insane. “Kittens are nice. Warlocks are—” He hesitated. “Not,” he finished, lamely.

“I thought you might hit it off. ” Isabelle’s eye makeup glittered as bright as tears as she glanced over at her brother. “Get to be friends. ”

“I have friends,” Alec said, and looked over his shoulder, almost as if he couldn’t help it, at Jace.

But Jace, his golden head down, lost in thought, didn’t notice.

On impulse Clary reached to open the pack and glance into it—and frowned. The pack was open. She flashed back to the party—she’d lifted the pack, pulled the zipper closed. She was sure of it. She yanked the bag open, her heart pounding.

She remembered the time she’d had her wallet stolen on the subway. She remembered opening her bag, not seeing it there, her mouth drying up in surprise—Did I drop it? Have I lost it? And realizing: It’s gone. This was like that, only a thousand times worse. Mouth dry as bone, Clary pawed through the pack, shoving aside clothes and sketchpad, her fingernails scraping the bottom. Nothing.

She’d stopped walking. Jace was hovering just ahead of her, looking impatient, Alec and Isabelle already a block ahead. “What’s wrong?” Jace asked, and she could tell he was about to add something sarcastic. He must have seen the look on her face, though, because he didn’t. “Clary?”

“He’s gone,” she whispered. “Simon. He was in my backpack—”

“Did he climb out?”

It wasn’t an unreasonable question, but Clary, exhausted and panic-stricken, reacted unreasonably. “Of course he didn’t!” she screamed. “What, you think he wants to get smashed under someone’s car, killed by a cat—”

“Clary—”

“Shut up!” she screamed, swinging the pack at him. “You were the one who said not to bother changing him back—”

Deftly he caught the pack as she swung it. Taking it out of her hand, he examined it. “The zipper’s torn,” he said. “From the outside. Someone ripped this bag open. ”

Shaking her head numbly, Clary could only whisper, “I didn’t …”

“I know. ” His voice was gentle. He cupped his hands around his mouth. “Alec! Isabelle! You go on ahead! We’ll catch up. ”

The two figures, already far ahead, paused; Alec hesitated, but his sister caught hold of his arm and pushed him firmly toward the subway entrance. Something pressed against Clary’s back: It was Jace’s hand, turning her gently around. She let him lead her forward, stumbling over the cracks in the sidewalk, until they were back in the entryway of Magnus’s building. The stench of stale alcohol and the sweet, uncanny smell Clary had come to associate with Downworlders filled the tiny space. Taking his hand away from her back, Jace pressed the buzzer over Magnus’s name.

“Jace,” she said.

He looked down at her. “What?”

She searched for words. “Do you think he’s all right?”

“Simon?” He hesitated then, and she thought of Isabelle’s words: Don’t ask him a question unless you know you can stand the answer. Instead of saying anything, he pressed the buzzer again, harder this time.

This time Magnus answered it, his voice booming through the tiny entryway. “WHO DARES DISTURB MY REST?”

Jace looked almost nervous. “Jace Wayland. Remember? I’m from the Clave. ”

“Oh, yes. ” Magnus seemed to have perked up. “Are you the one with the blue eyes?”

“He means Alec,” Clary said helpfully.

“No. My eyes are usually described as golden,” Jace told the intercom. “And luminous. ”

“Oh, you’re that one. ” Magnus sounded disappointed. If Clary hadn’t been so upset, she would have laughed. “I suppose you’d better come up. ”

The warlock answered his door wearing a silk kimono printed with dragons, a gold turban, and an expression of barely controlled annoyance.

“I was sleeping,” he said loftily.

Jace looked as if he were about to say something rude, possibly about the turban, so Clary interrupted him. “Sorry to bother you—”

Something small and white peered around the warlock’s ankles. It had zigzag gray stripes and tufted pink ears that made it look more like a large mouse than a small cat.

“Chairman Meow?” Clary guessed.

Magnus nodded. “He has returned. ”

Jace regarded the small tabby kitten with some scorn. “That’s not a cat,” he observed. “It’s the size of a hamster. ”

“I am kindly going to forget you said that,” said Magnus, using his foot to nudge Chairman Meow behind him. “Now, exactly what did you come here for?”

Clary held out the torn pack. “It’s Simon. He’s missing. ”

“Ah,” said Magnus, delicately, “missing what, exactly?”

“Missing,” Jace repeated, “as in gone, absent, notable for his lack of presence, disappeared. ”

“Maybe he’s gone and hidden under something,” Magnus suggested. “It can’t be easy getting used to being a rat, especially for someone so dim-witted in the first place. ”

“Simon’s not dim-witted,” Clary protested angrily.

“It’s true,” Jace agreed. “He just looks dim-witted. Really his intelligence is quite average. ” His tone was light but his shoulders were tense as he turned to Magnus. “When we were leaving, one of your guests brushed up against Clary. I think he tore her bag open and took the rat. Simon, I mean. ”

Magnus looked at him. “And?”

“And I need to find out who it was,” said Jace steadily. “I’m guessing you know. You are the High Warlock of Brooklyn. I’m thinking not much happens in your own apartment that you don’t know about. ”

Magnus inspected a glittery nail. “You’re not wrong. ”

“Please tell us,” Clary said. Jace’s hand tightened on her wrist. She knew he wanted her to be quiet, but that was impossible. “Please. ”

Magnus dropped his hand with a sigh. “Fine. I saw one of the vampire bike kids from the uptown lair leave with a brown rat in his hands. Honestly, I figured it was one of their own. Sometimes the Night Children turn into rats or bats when they get drunk. ”

Clary’s hands were shaking. “But now you think it was Simon?”

“It’s just a guess, but it seems likely. ”

“There’s one more thing. ” Jace spoke calmly enough, but he was on alert now, the way he had been in the apartment before they’d found the Forsaken. “Where’s their lair?”

“Their what?”

“The vampires’ lair. That’s where they went, isn’t it?”

“I would imagine so. ” Magnus looked as if he’d rather be anywhere else.

“I need you to tell me where it is. ”

Magnus shook his turbaned head. “I’m not setting myself on the bad side of the Night Children for a mundane I don’t even know. ”

“Wait,” Clary interrupted. “What would they want with Simon? I thought they weren’t allowed to hurt people …”

“My guess?” said Magnus, not unkindly. “They assumed he was a tame rat and thought it would be funny to kill a Shadowhunter’s pet. They don’t like you much, whatever the Accords might say—and there’s nothing in the Covenant about not killing animals. ”

“They’re going to kill him?” Clary said, staring.

“Not necessarily,” said Magnus hastily. “They might have thought he was one of their own. ”

“In which case, what’ll happen to him?” Clary said.

“Well, when he turns back into a human, they’ll still kill him. But you might have a few more hours. ”

“Then you have to help us,” Clary said to the warlock. “Otherwise Simon will die. ”

Magnus looked her up and down with a sort of clinical sympathy. “They all die, dear,” he said. “You might as well get used to it. ”

He began to shut the door. Jace stuck out a foot, wedging it open. Magnus sighed. “What now?”

“You still haven’t told us where the lair is,” Jace said.

“And I’m not going to. I told you—”

It was Clary who cut him off, pushing herself in front of Jace. “You messed with my brain,” she said. “Took my memories. Can’t you do this one thing for me?”

Magnus narrowed his gleaming cat’s eyes. Somewhere in the distance Chairman Meow was crying. Slowly the warlock lowered his head and struck it once, none too gently, against the wall. “The old Hotel Dumont,” he said. “Uptown. ”

“I know where that is. ” Jace looked pleased.

“We need to get there right away. Do you have a Portal?” Clary demanded, addressing Magnus.

“No. ” He looked annoyed. “Portals are quite difficult to construct and pose no small risk to their owner. Nasty things can come through them if they’re not warded properly. The only ones I know of in New York are the one at Dorothea’s and the one at Renwick’s, but they’re both too far away to be worth the bother of trying to get there, even if you were sure their owners would let you use them, which they probably wouldn’t. Got that? Now go away. ” Magnus stared pointedly at Jace’s foot, still blocking the door. Jace didn’t move.

“One more thing,” Jace said. “Is there a holy place around here?”

“Good idea. If you’re going to take on a lair of vampires by yourself, you’d better pray first. ”

“We need weapons,” Jace said tersely. “More than what we’ve got on us. ”

Magnus pointed. “There’s a Catholic church down on Diamond Street. Will that do?”

Jace nodded, stepping back. “That’s—”

The door slammed in their faces. Clary, breathing as if she’d been running, stared at it until Jace took her arm and steered her down the steps and into the night.

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