Chapter 6: WAKE THE DEAD
Jaces room was as neat as ever-bed made perfectly, the books that lined the shelves arranged in alphabetical order, notes and textbooks stacked carefully on the desk. Even his weapons were lined up along the wall in order of size, from a massive broadsword to a set of small daggers.
Clary, standing in the doorway, held back a sigh. The neatness was all very well. She was used to it. It was, she had always thought, Jaces way of exerting control over the elements of a life that otherwise might seem overwhelmed with chaos. He had lived so long not knowing who-or even what-he really was, she could hardly begrudge him the careful alphabetization of his poetry collection.
She could, however-and did-begrudge the fact that he wasnt there. If he hadnt gone back home after leaving the bridal shop, where had he gone? As she looked around the room, a feeling of unreality came over her. It wasnt possible that any of this was happening, was it? She knew how breakups went from hearing other girls complain about them. First the pulling away, the gradual refusal to return notes or phone calls. The vague messages saying nothing was wrong, that the other person just wanted a little space. Then the speech about how “Its not you, its me. ” Then the crying part.
Shed never thought any of that would ever apply to her and Jace. What they had wasnt ordinary, or subject to the ordinary rules of relationships and breakups. They belonged to each other totally, and always would, and that was that.
But maybe everyone felt that way? Until the moment they realized they were just like everyone else, and everything theyd thought was real shattered apart.
Something that glittered silver across the room caught her eye. It was the box Amatis had given Jace, with its delicate design of birds around the sides. She knew he had been working his way through it, reading the letters slowly, going through the notes and photos. He hadnt said much about it to her, and she hadnt wanted to pry. His feelings about his biological father were something he was going to have to come to terms with on his own.
She found herself drawn to the box now, though. She remembered him sitting on the front steps of the Accords Hall in Idris, holding the box in his lap. As if I could stop loving you, hed said. She touched the lid of the box, and her fingers found the clasp, which sprung open easily. Inside were scattered papers, old photographs. She drew one out, and stared at it, fascinated. There were two people in the photograph, a young woman and a young man. She recognized the woman immediately as Lukes sister, Amatis. She was gazing up at the young man with all the radiance of first love. He was handsome, tall and blond, though his eyes were blue, not gold, and his features less angular than Jaces . . . and yet still, knowing who he was-Jaces father-was enough to make her stomach tighten.
She set the photo of Stephen Herondale down hastily, and nearly cut her finger on the blade of a slim hunting dagger that lay crosswise in the box. Birds were carved along the handle. The blade of it was stained with rust, or what looked like rust. It must not have been cleaned properly. She shut the box quickly, and turned away, guilt like a weight on her shoulders.
She had thought about leaving a note, but, deciding it would be better to wait until she could talk to Jace in person, she left and went down the hall to the elevator. She had knocked on Isabelles door earlier, but it didnt look like she was home either. Even the witchlight torches in the hallways seemed to be burning at a lower level than usual. Feeling utterly depressed, Clary reached for the elevator call button-only to realize it was already lit. Someone was heading up from the ground floor to the Institute.
Jace, she thought immediately, her pulse jumping. But of course it might not be him, she told herself. It could be Izzy, or Maryse, or-
“Luke?” she said in surprise as the elevator door opened. “What are you doing here?
“I might ask you the same thing. ” He stepped out of the elevator, pulling the gate shut behind him. He was wearing a fleece-lined zip-up flannel jacket that Jocelyn had been trying to get him to throw away since theyd first started dating. It was rather nice, Clary thought, that just about nothing seemed to change Luke, no matter what happened in his life. He liked what he liked, and that was that. Even if it was a ratty-looking old coat. “Except I think I can guess. So, is he here?”
“Jace? No. ” Clary shrugged, trying to look unconcerned. “Its fine. Ill see him tomorrow. ”
Luke hesitated. “Clary-”
“Lucian. ” The cool voice that came from behind them was Maryses. “Thank you for coming on such short notice. ”
He turned to nod at her. “Maryse. ”
Maryse Lightwood stood in the doorway, her hand lightly on the frame. She was wearing gloves, pale gray gloves that matched her tailored gray suit. Clary wondered if Maryse ever wore jeans. She had never seen Isabelle and Alecs mother in anything but power suits or gear. “Clary,” she said. “I didnt realize you were here. ”
Clary felt herself flush. Maryse didnt seem to mind her coming and going, but then, Maryse had never really acknowledged Clarys relationship with Jace at all. It was hard to blame her. Maryse was still coping with Maxs death, which had been only six weeks ago, and she was doing it alone, with Robert Lightwood still in Idris. She had bigger things on her mind than Jaces love life.
“I was just leaving,” Clary said.
“Ill give you a ride back home when Im done here,” Luke said, putting a hand on her shoulder. “Maryse, is it a problem if Clary remains while we talk? Because Id prefer to have her stay. ”
Maryse shook her head. “No problem, I suppose. ” She sighed, raking her hands through her hair. “Believe me, I wish I didnt need to bother you at all. I know youre getting married in a week-congratulations, by the way. I dont know if I told you that before. ”
“You didnt,” said Luke, “but its appreciated. Thank you. ”
“Only six weeks. ” Maryse smiled faintly. “Quite a whirlwind courtship. ”
Lukes hand tightened on Clarys shoulder, the only sign of his annoyance. “I dont suppose you called me over here to congratulate me on my engagement, did you?”
Maryse shook her head. She looked very tired, Clary thought, and there were strands of gray in her upswept dark hair that hadnt been there before. “No. I assume youve heard about the bodies weve been finding for the past week or so?”
“The dead Shadowhunters, yes. ”
“We found another one tonight. Stuffed in a Dumpster near Columbus Park. Your packs territory. ”
Lukes eyebrows went up. “Yes, but the others-”
“The first body was found in Greenpoint. Warlock territory. The second floating in a pond in Central Park. The domain of the fey. Now we have werewolf territory. ” She fixed her gaze on Luke. “What does that make you think?”
“That someone who isnt very pleased about the new Accords is trying to set Downworlder against Downworlder,” Luke said. “I can assure you my pack didnt have anything to do with this. I dont know whos behind it, but its a very clumsy attempt, if you ask me. I hope the Clave can see through it. ”
“Theres more,” Maryse said. “Weve identified the first two bodies. It took some time, since the first was burned nearly beyond recognition and the second was badly decomposed. Can you guess who they might have been?”
“Anson Pangborn,” she said, “and Charles Freeman. Neither of whom, I might note, had been heard from since Valentines death-”
“But thats not possible,” Clary interrupted. “Luke killed Pangborn, back in August-at Renwicks. ”
“He killed Emil Pangborn,” said Maryse. “Anson was Emils younger brother. They were both in the Circle together. ”
“As was Freeman,” said Luke. “So someone is killing not just Shadowhunters but former Circle members? And leaving their bodies in Downworlder territory?” He shook his head. “It sounds like someones trying to shake up some of the more . . . recalcitrant members of the Clave. Get them to rethink the new Accords, perhaps. We should have expected this. ”
“I suppose,” Maryse said. “Ive met with the Seelie Queen already, and I have a message out to Magnus. Wherever he is. ” She rolled her eyes; Maryse and Robert seemed to have accepted Alecs relationship with Magnus with surprisingly good grace, but Clary could tell that Maryse, at least, didnt take it seriously. “I just thought, perhaps-” She sighed. “Ive been so exhausted lately. I feel like I can hardly think straight. I hoped you might have some idea about who might be doing this, some idea that hadnt occurred to me. ”
Luke shook his head. “Someone with a grudge against the new system. But that could be anyone. I suppose theres no evidence on the bodies?”
Maryse sighed. “Nothing conclusive. If only the dead could talk, eh, Lucian?”
It was as if Maryse had lifted a hand and yanked a curtain across Clarys vision; everything went dark, except for a single symbol, hanging like a glowing sign against a blank night sky.
It seemed her power had not vanished, after all.
“What if. . . ,” she said slowly, raising her eyes to look at Maryse. “What if they could?”
Staring at himself in the bathroom mirror in Kyles small apartment, Simon couldnt help but wonder where that whole business about vampires not being able to see themselves in mirrors had come from. He was able to see himself perfectly well in the dinged surface-tousled brown hair, wide brown eyes, white, unmarked skin. He had sponged off the blood from his cut lip, though his skin had already healed over.
He knew, objectively speaking, that becoming a vampire had made him more attractive. Isabelle had explained to him that his movements had become graceful and that, whereas before he had seemed disheveled, somehow now he looked attractively rumpled, as if he had just gotten out of bed. “Someone elses bed,” she had noted, which, hed told her, he had already figured out was what she meant, thank you.
When he looked at himself, though, he didnt see any of that. The poreless whiteness of his skin, as it always did, disturbed him, as did the dark, spidering veins that showed at his temples, evidence of the fact that he had not fed today. He looked alien and not like himself. Perhaps the whole business about not being able to see yourself in a mirror once you had become a vampire was wishful thinking. Maybe it was just that you no longer recognized the reflection looking back at you.
Cleaned up, he headed back into the living room, where Jace was sprawled out on the futon couch, reading Kyles beaten-up copy of The Lord of the Rings. He dropped it onto the coffee table as Simon came in. His hair looked newly wet, as if hed splashed water on his face from the kitchen sink.
“I can see why you like it here,” he said, making a sweeping gesture that encompassed Kyles collection of movie posters and science fiction books. “Theres a thin layer of nerd all over everything. ”
“Thanks. I appreciate that. ” Simon gave Jace a hard look. Up close, under the bright light of the unshaded overhead bulb, Jace looked-ill. The shadows Simon had noticed under his eyes before were more pronounced than ever, and his skin seemed tight over the bones of his face. His hand shook a little as he pushed his hair away from his forehead in a characteristic gesture.
Simon shook his head as if to clear it. Since when did he know Jace well enough to be able to identify which gestures of his were characteristic? It wasnt as if they were friends. “You look lousy,” he said.
Jace blinked. “Seems an odd time to start an insult contest, but if you insist, I could probably think up something good. ”
“No, I mean it. You dont look good. ”
“This from a guy who has all the sex appeal of a penguin. Look, I realize you may be jealous that the good Lord didnt deal you the same chiseled hand he dealt me, but thats no reason to-”
“I am not trying to insult you,” Simon snapped. “I mean you look sick. When was the last time you ate anything?”
Jace looked thoughtful. “Yesterday?”
“You ate something yesterday. Youre sure?”
Jace shrugged. “Well, I wouldnt swear on a stack of Bibles. I think it was yesterday, though. ”
Simon had investigated the contents of Kyles fridge earlier when hed been searching the place, and there hadnt been much to find. A withered-up old lime, some soda cans, a pound of ground beef, and, inexplicably, a single Pop-Tart in the freezer. He grabbed his keys off the kitchen counter. “Come on,” he said. “Theres a supermarket on the corner. Lets get you some food. ”
Jace looked as if he were in the mood to object, then shrugged. “Fine,” he said, in the tone of someone who didnt much care where they went or what they did there. “Lets go. ”
Outside on the front steps Simon locked the door behind them with the keys he was still getting used to, while Jace examined the list of names next to the apartment doorbell buzzers. “That ones yours, huh?” he asked, pointing to 3A. “How come it just says Kyle? Doesnt he have a last name?”
“Kyle wants to be a rock star,” Simon said, heading down the stairs. “I think hes working the one-name thing. Like Rihanna. ”
Jace followed him, hunching his shoulders slightly against the wind, though he made no move to zip up the suede jacket hed retrieved from Clary earlier that day. “I have no idea what youre talking about. ”
“Im sure you dont. ”
As they rounded the corner onto Avenue B, Simon looked at Jace sideways. “So,” he said. “Were you following me? Or is it just an amazing coincidence that you happened to be on the roof of a building I was walking by when I got attacked?”
Jace stopped at the corner, waiting for the light to turn. Apparently even Shadowhunters had to obey traffic laws. “I was following you. ”
“Is this the part where you tell me youre secretly in love with me? Vampire mojo strikes again. ”
“Theres no such thing as vampire mojo,” said Jace, rather eerily echoing Clarys earlier comment. “And I was following Clary, but then she got into a cab, and I cant follow a cab. So I doubled back and followed you instead. Mostly for something to do. ”
“You were following Clary?” Simon echoed. “Heres a hot tip: Most girls dont like being stalked. ”
“She left her phone in the pocket of my jacket,” Jace said, patting his right side, where, presumably, the phone was stashed. “I thought if I could figure out where she was going, I could leave it where shed find it. ”
“Or,” Simon said, “you could call her at home and tell her you had her phone, and she could come and get it from you. ”
Jace said nothing. The light changed, and they headed across the street toward the C-Town supermarket. It was still open. Markets in Manhattan never closed, Simon thought, which was a nice change from Brooklyn. Manhattan was a good place to be a vampire. You could do all your shopping at midnight and no one would think it was weird.
“Youre avoiding Clary,” Simon observed. “I dont suppose you want to tell me why?”
“No, I dont,” Jace said. “Just count yourself lucky I was following you, or-”
“Or what? Another mugger would be dead?” Simon could hear the bitterness in his own voice. “You saw what happened. ”
“Yes. And I saw the look on your face when it did. ” Jaces tone was neutral. “That wasnt the first time youve seen that happen, was it?”
Simon found himself telling Jace about the tracksuited figure who had attacked him in Williamsburg, and how he had assumed it was just a mugger. “After he died, he turned into salt,” he finished. “Just like the second guy. I guess its a biblical thing. Pillars of salt. Like Lots wife. ”
They had reached the supermarket; Jace shoved the door open, and Simon followed him in, grabbing a miniature wheeled silver cart from the line near the front door. He started to push it down one of the aisles, and Jace followed him, clearly lost in thought. “So I guess the question is,” Jace said, “do you have any idea who might want to kill you?”
Simon shrugged. The sight of all the food around him was making his stomach twist, reminding him how hungry he was, though not for anything they sold here. “Maybe Raphael. He seems to hate me. And he wanted me dead before-”
“Its not Raphael,” said Jace.
“How can you be so sure?”
“Because Raphael knows about your Mark and wouldnt be stupid enough to strike at you directly like that. Hed know exactly what would happen. Whoevers after you, its someone who knows enough about you to know where youre likely to be, but they dont know about the Mark. ”
“But that could be anyone. ”
“Exactly,” said Jace, and grinned. For a moment he almost looked like himself again.
Simon shook his head. “Look, do you know what you want to eat, or do you just want me to keep pushing this cart up and down aisles because it amuses you?”
“That,” said Jace, “and Im not really familiar with what they sell in mundane grocery stores. Maryse usually cooks or we order in food. ” He shrugged, and picked up a piece of fruit at random. “Whats this?”
“Thats a mango. ” Simon stared at Jace. Sometimes it really was like Shadowhunters were from an alien planet.
“I dont think Ive ever seen one of those that wasnt already cut up,” Jace mused. “I like mangoes. ”
Simon grabbed the mango and tossed it into the cart. “Great. What else do you like?”
Jace pondered for a moment. “Tomato soup,” he said finally.
“Tomato soup? You want tomato soup and a mango for dinner?”
Jace shrugged. “I dont really care about food. ”
“Fine. Whatever. Stay here. Ill be right back. ” Shadowhunters. Simon seethed quietly to himself as he rounded the corner of an aisle lined with soup cans. They were a sort of bizarre amalgam of millionaires-people who never had to consider the petty parts of life, like how to shop for food, or use MetroCard machines in the subway-and soldiers, with their rigid self-discipline and constant training. Maybe it was easier for them, going through life with blinders on, he thought as he grabbed a soup can off the shelf. Maybe it helped you keep your focus on the big picture-which, when your job was basically keeping the world safe from evil, was a pretty big picture indeed.
He was feeling nearly sympathetic toward Jace as he neared the aisle where hed left him-then paused. Jace was leaning against the cart, turning something over in his hands. From this distance Simon couldnt see what it was, and he couldnt get closer, either, because two teenage girls were blocking his way, standing in the middle of the aisle giggling and crowding up against each other to whisper the way girls did. They were obviously dressed to pass for twenty-one, in high heels and short skirts, push-up bras and no jackets to keep the chill away.
They smelled like lip gloss. Lip gloss and baby powder and blood.
He could hear them, of course, despite the whispering. They were talking about Jace, how hot he was, each daring the other to go up and talk to him. There was a great deal of discussion of his hair and also his abs, although how they could really see his abs though his T-shirt, Simon wasnt sure. Blech, he thought. This is ridiculous. He was about to say “Excuse me” when one of them, the taller and darker-haired of the two, broke away and sauntered over to Jace, wobbling a little on her platform heels. Jace looked up as she approached him, his eyes wary, and Simon had the sudden panicked thought that maybe Jace would mistake her for a vampire or some kind of succubus and whip out one of his seraph blades on the spot, and then theyd both be arrested.
He neednt have worried. Jace just arched an eyebrow. The girl said something to him breathlessly; he shrugged; she pressed something into his hand, and then dashed back to her friend. They wobbled out of the store, giggling together.
Simon went over to Jace and dropped the soup can into the cart. “So what was all that about?”
“I think,” Jace said, “that she asked if she could touch my mango. ”
“She said that?”
Jace shrugged. “Yeah, then she gave me her number. ” He showed Simon the piece of paper with an expression of bland indifference, then tossed it into the cart. “Can we go now?”
“Youre not going to call her, are you?”
Jace looked at him as if he were insane.
“Forget I said that,” said Simon. “This sort of thing happens to you all the time, doesnt it? Girls just coming up to you?”
“Only when Im not glamoured. ”
“Yes, because when you are, girls cant see you, because youre invisible. ” Simon shook his head. “Youre a public menace. You shouldnt be allowed out on your own. ”
“Jealousy is such an ugly emotion, Lewis. ” Jace grinned a crooked grin that normally would have made Simon want to hit him. Not this time, though. He had just realized what it was that Jace had been playing with, turning over and over in his fingers as if it were something precious or dangerous or both. It was Clarys phone.
“Im still not sure that this is a good idea,” said Luke.
Clary, her arms crossed over her chest to ward off the chill of the Silent City, looked sideways at him. “Maybe you should have said that before we got here. ”
“Im fairly sure I did. Several times. ” Lukes voice echoed off the stone pillars that rose overhead, striped with bands of semiprecious stone-black onyx, green jade, rose carnelian, and blue lapis. Silvery witchlight burned in torches attached to the pillars, lighting the mausoleums that lined each wall to a bright white that was almost painful to look at.
Little had changed in the Silent City since the last time Clary had been here. It still felt alien and strange, though now the sweeping runes that stretched across the floors in carved whorls and etched patterns teased her mind with the edges of their meanings, instead of being totally incomprehensible. Maryse had left her and Luke here in this entry chamber the moment they had arrived, preferring to go and confer with the Silent Brothers herself. There was no guarantee theyd let the three of them in to see the bodies, shed warned Clary. Nephilim dead were the province of the Bone Citys guardians, and no one else had jurisdiction over them.
Not that there were many such guardians left. Valentine had killed nearly all of them while searching for the Mortal Sword, leaving alive only the few who had not been in the Silent City at the time. New members had been added to their order since then, but Clary doubted there were more than ten or fifteen Silent Brothers left in the world.
The harsh clack of Maryses heels on the stone floor alerted them to her return before she actually appeared, a robed Silent Brother trailing in her wake. “Here you are,” she said, as if Clary and Luke werent exactly where shed left them. “This is Brother Zachariah. Brother Zachariah, this is the girl I was telling you about. ”
The Silent Brother pushed his hood back very slightly from his face. Clary held back a start of surprise. He didnt look like Brother Jeremiah had, with his hollowed eyes and stitched mouth. Brother Zachariahs eyes were closed, his high cheekbones each marked with the scar of a single black rune. But his mouth wasnt stitched shut, and she didnt think his head was shaved, either. It was hard to tell, with the hood up, whether she was seeing shadows or dark hair.
She felt his voice touch her mind. You truly believe you can do this thing, Valentines daughter?
She felt her cheeks flush. She hated being reminded of whose daughter she was.
“Surely youve heard of the other things shes done,” said Luke. “Her rune of binding helped us end the Mortal War. ”
Brother Zachariah raised his hood to hide his face. Come with me to the Ossuarium.
Clary looked at Luke, hoping for a supportive nod, but he was staring straight ahead and fiddling with his glasses the way he did when he was anxious. With a sigh she set off after Maryse and Brother Zachariah. He moved as silently as fog, while Maryses heels sounded like gunshots on the marble floors. Clary wondered if Isabelles propensity for unsuitable footwear was genetic.
They followed a winding path through the pillars, passing the great square of the Speaking Stars, where the Silent Brothers had first told Clary about Magnus Bane. Beyond the square was an arched doorway, set with a pair of enormous iron doors. Into their surfaces had been burned runes that Clary recognized as runes of death and peace. Over the doors was written an inscription in Latin that made her wish she had her notes with her. She was woefully behind in Latin for a Shadowhunter; most of them spoke it like a second language.
Taceant Colloquia. Effugiat risus. Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae.
“Let conversation stop. Let laughter cease,” Luke read aloud. “Here is the place where the dead delight to teach the living. ”
Brother Zachariah laid a hand on the door. The most recent of the murdered dead has been made ready for you. Are you prepared?
Clary swallowed hard, wondering exactly what it was she had gotten herself into. “Im ready. ”
The doors swung wide, and they filed through. Inside was a large, windowless room with walls of smooth white marble. They were featureless save for hooks on which hung silvery instruments of dissection: shining scalpels, things that looked like hammers, bone saws, and rib spreaders. And beside them on shelves were even more peculiar instruments: massive corkscrew-like tools, sheets of sandpapery material, and jars of multicolored liquid, including a greenish one labeled “Acid” that actually seemed to be steaming.
The center of the room featured a row of high marble tables. Most were bare. Three were occupied, and on two of those three, all Clary could see was a human shape concealed by a white sheet. On the third table lay a body, the sheet pulled down to just below the rib cage. Naked from the waist up, the body was clearly male, and just as clearly a Shadowhunter. The corpse-pale skin was inked all over with Marks. The dead mans eyes had been bound with white silk, as per Shadowhunter custom.
Clary swallowed back her rising nausea and moved to stand beside the corpse. Luke came with her, his hand protectively on her shoulder; Maryse stood opposite them, watching everything with her curious blue eyes, the same color as Alecs.
Clary drew her stele from her pocket. She could feel the chill of the marble through her shirt as she leaned over the dead man. This close, she could see details-that his hair had been reddish brown, and that his throat had been torn clean through in strips, as if by a massive claw.
Brother Zachariah reached out and removed the silk binding from the dead mans eyes. Beneath it, they were closed. You may begin.
Clary took a deep breath and set the tip of the stele to the skin of the dead Shadowhunters arm. The rune she had visualized before, in the entryway of the Institute, came back to her as clearly as the letters of her own name. She began to draw.
The black Mark lines spiraled out from the tip of her stele, much as they always did-but her hand felt heavy, the stele itself dragging slightly, as if she were writing in mud rather than on skin. It was as if the implement were confused, skittering over the surface of the dead skin, seeking the living spirit of the Shadowhunter that was no longer there. Clarys stomach churned as she drew, and by the time she was done and had retracted her stele, she was sweating and nauseated.
For a long moment nothing happened. Then, with a terrible suddenness, the dead Shadowhunters eyes flicked open. They were blue, the whites flecked red with blood.
Maryse let out a long gasp. It was clear she hadnt really believed the rune would work. “By the Angel. ”
A rattling breath came from the dead man, the sound of someone trying to breathe through a cut throat. The ragged skin of his neck fluttered like a fishs gills. His chest rose, and words came from his mouth.
“It hurts. ”
Luke swore, and glanced toward Zachariah, but the Silent Brother was impassive.
Maryse moved closer to the table, her eyes suddenly sharp, almost predatory. “Shadowhunter,” she said. “Who are you? I demand your name. ”
The mans head thrashed from side to side. His hands rose and fell convulsively. “The pain. . . Make the pain stop. ”
Clarys stele nearly dropped from her hand. This was much more awful than she had imagined. She looked toward Luke, who was backing away from the table, his eyes wide with horror.
“Shadowhunter. ” Maryses tone was imperious. “Who did this to you?”
“Please. . . ”
Luke whirled around, his back to Clary. He seemed to be rummaging among the Silent Brothers tools. Clary stood frozen as Maryses gray-gloved hand shot out, and closed on the corpses shoulder, her fingers digging in. “In the name of the Angel, I command you to answer me!”
The Shadowhunter made a choking sound. “Downworlder . . . vampire. . . ”
“Which vampire?” Maryse demanded.
“Camille. The ancient one-” The words choked off as a gout of black clotted blood poured from the dead mouth.
Maryse gasped and jerked her hand back. As she did so, Luke reappeared, carrying the jar of green acid liquid that Clary had noticed earlier. With a single gesture he yanked the lid off and sloshed the acid over the Mark on the corpses arm, eradicating it. The corpse gave a single scream as the flesh sizzled-and then it collapsed back against the table, eyes blank and staring, whatever had animated it for that brief period clearly gone.
Luke set the empty jar of acid down on the table. “Maryse. ” His voice was reproachful. “This is not how we treat our dead. ”
“I will decide how we treat our dead, Downworlder. ” Maryse was pale, her cheeks spotted with red. “We have a name now. Camille. Perhaps we can prevent more deaths. ”
“There are worse things than death. ” Luke reached a hand out for Clary, not looking at her. “Come on, Clary. I think its time for us to go. ”
“So you really cant think of anyone else who might want to kill you?” Jace asked, not for the first time. Theyd gone over the list several times, and Simon was getting tired of being asked the same questions over and over. Not to mention that he suspected Jace was only partly paying attention. Having already eaten the soup Simon had bought-cold, out of the can, with a spoon, which Simon couldnt help thinking was disgusting-he was leaning against the window, the curtain pulled aside slightly so that he could see the traffic going by on Avenue B, and the brightly lit windows of the apartments across the street. Through them Simon could see people eating dinner, watching television, and sitting around a table talking. Ordinary things that ordinary people did. It made him feel oddly hollow.
“Unlike in your case,” said Simon, “there arent actually all that many people who dislike me. ”
Jace ignored this. “Theres something youre not telling me. ”
Simon sighed. He hadnt wanted to say anything about Camilles offer, but in the face of someone trying to kill him, however ineffectually, maybe secrecy wasnt such a priority. He explained what had happened at his meeting with the vampire woman, while Jace watched him with an intent expression.
When he was done, Jace said, “Interesting, but shes not likely to be the one trying to kill you either. She knows about your Mark, for one thing. And Im not sure shed be keen to get caught breaking the Accords like that. When Downworlders are that old, they usually know how to stay out of trouble. ” He set his soup can down. “We could go out again,” he suggested. “See if they try to attack a third time. If we could just capture one of them, maybe we-”
“No,” Simon said. “Why are you always trying to get yourself killed?”
“Its my job. ”
“Its a hazard of your job. At least for most Shadowhunters. For you it seems to be the purpose. ”
Jace shrugged. “My father always said-” He broke off, his face hardening. “Sorry. I meant Valentine. By the Angel. Every time I call him that, it feels like Im betraying my real father. ”
Simon felt sympathetic toward Jace despite himself. “Look, you thought he was your father for what, sixteen years? That doesnt just go away in a day. And you never met the guy who was really your father. And hes dead. So you cant really betray him. Just think of yourself as someone who has two fathers for a while. ”
“You cant have two fathers. ”
“Sure you can,” Simon said. “Who says you cant? We can buy you one of those books they have for little kids. Timmy Has Two Dads. Except I dont think they have one called Timmy Has Two Dads and One of Them Was Evil. That part youre just going to have to work through on your own. ”
Jace rolled his eyes. “Its fascinating,” he said. “You know all these words, and theyre all English, but when you string them together into sentences, they just dont make any sense. ” He tugged lightly on the window curtain. “I wouldnt expect you to understand. ”
“My fathers dead,” said Simon.
Jace turned to look at him. “What?”
“I figured you didnt know,” said Simon. “I mean, its not like you were going to ask, or are particularly interested in anything about me. So, yeah. My fathers dead. So we do have that in common. ” Suddenly exhausted, he leaned back against the futon. He felt sick and dizzy and tired-a deep tiredness that seemed to have sunk into his bones. Jace, on the other hand, seemed possessed of a restless energy that Simon found a little disturbing. It hadnt been easy watching him eat that tomato soup, either. It had looked too much like blood for his comfort.
Jace eyed him. “How long has it been since you . . . ate? You look pretty bad. ”
Simon sighed. He supposed he couldnt say anything, after pestering Jace to eat something. “Hang on,” he said. “Ill be right back. ”
Peeling himself off the futon, he went into his bedroom and retrieved his last bottle of blood from under the bed. He tried not to look at it-separated blood was a sickening sight. He shook the bottle hard as he headed into the living room, where Jace was still staring out the window.
Leaning against the kitchen counter, Simon unscrewed the bottle of blood and took a swig. Normally he didnt like drinking the stuff in front of other people, but this was Jace, and he didnt care what Jace thought. Besides, it wasnt as if Jace hadnt seen him drink blood before. At least Kyle wasnt home. That would be a hard one to explain to his new roommate. Nobody liked a guy who kept blood in the fridge.
Two Jaces eyed him-one the real Jace, the other his reflection in the windowpane. “You cant just skip feeding, you know. ”
Simon shrugged. “Im eating now. ”
“Yeah,” Jace said, “but youre a vampire. Blood isnt like food for you. Blood is . . . blood. ”
“Thats very illuminating. ” Simon flung himself into the armchair across from the TV; it had probably once been a pale gold velvet but was now worn to the grayish pile. “Do you have a lot of other profound thoughts like that? Blood is blood? A toaster is a toaster? A Gelatinous Cube is a Gelatinous Cube?”
Jace shrugged. “Fine. Ignore my advice. Youll be sorry later. ”
Before Simon could answer, he heard the sound of the front door opening. He looked daggers at Jace. “Thats my roommate. Kyle. Be nice. ”
Jace smiled charmingly. “Im always nice. ”
Simon had no chance to respond to this the way he would have liked, for a moment later Kyle bounded into the room, looking bright-eyed and energetic. “Man, I was all over town today,” he said. “I almost got lost, but you know what they say. Bronx up, Battery down-” He looked at Jace, registering belatedly that there was someone else in the room. “Oh, hey. I didnt know you had a friend over. ” He held out a hand. “Im Kyle. ”
Jace did not respond in kind. To Simons surprise, Jace had gone rigid all over, his pale yellow eyes narrowing, his whole body displaying that Shadowhunter watchfulness that seemed to transform him from an ordinary teenage boy into something very much other than that.
“Interesting,” he said. “You know, Simon never mentioned that his new roommate was a werewolf. ”
Clary and Luke drove most of the way back to Brooklyn in silence. Clary stared out the window as they went, watching Chinatown slide past, and then the Williamsburg Bridge, lit up like a chain of diamonds against the night sky. In the distance, out over the black water of the river, she could see Renwicks, illuminated as it always was. It looked like a ruin again, empty black windows gaping like the eye holes in a skull. The voice of the dead Shadowhunter whispered in her mind:
The pain. . . Make the pain stop.
She shuddered and drew her jacket more tightly around her shoulders. Luke glanced at her briefly but said nothing. It wasnt until he had pulled up in front of his house and killed the engine of the truck that he turned to her and spoke.
“Clary,” he said. “What you just did-”
“It was wrong,” she said. “I know it was wrong. I was there too. ” She swiped at her face with the edge of her sleeve. “Go ahead and yell at me. ”
Luke stared through the windshield. “Im not going to yell at you. You didnt know what was going to happen. Hell, I thought it might work too. I wouldnt have gone with you if I hadnt. ”
Clary knew this ought to have made her feel better, but it didnt. “If you hadnt thrown acid on the rune-”
“But I did. ”
“I didnt even know you could do that. Destroy a rune like that. ”
“If you disfigure it enough, you can minimize or destroy its power. Sometimes in battle the enemy will try to burn or slice off a Shadowhunters skin, just to deprive them of the power of their runes. ” Luke sounded distracted.
Clary felt her lips tremble, and pressed them together, hard, to stop the shaking. Sometimes she forgot the more nightmarish aspects of being a Shadowhunter-This life of scars and killing, as Hodge had said to her once. “Well,” she said, “I wont do it again. ”
“Wont do what again? Make that particular rune? I have no doubt you wont, but Im not sure that addresses the problem. ” Luke drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. “You have an ability, Clary. A great ability. But you have absolutely no idea what it means. Youre totally untrained. You know almost nothing about the history of runes, or what they have meant to Nephilim through the centuries. You cant tell a rune designed to do good from one designed to do harm. ”
“You were happy enough to let me use my power when it was the binding rune,” she said angrily. “You didnt tell me not to create runes then. ”
“Im not telling you not to use your power now. In fact, I think the problem is that you so rarely do use it. Its not as if youre using your power to change your nail polish color or make the subway come when you want it. You use it only in these occasional life-and-death moments. ”
“The runes only come to me in those moments. ”
“Maybe thats because you havent yet been trained in how your power works. Think of Magnus; his power is a part of him. You seem to think of yours as separate from you. Something that happens to you. Its not. Its a tool you need to learn to use. ”
“Jace said Maryse wants to hire a rune expert to work with me, but it hasnt happened yet. ”
“Yes,” said Luke, “I imagine Maryse has other things on her mind. ” He took the key out of the ignition and sat for a moment in silence. “Losing a child the way she lost Max,” he said. “I cant imagine it. I should be more forgiving of her behavior. If something happened to you, I. . . ”
His voice trailed off.
“I wish Robert would come back from Idris,” said Clary. “I dont see why she has to deal with all this alone. It must be horrible. ”
“Many marriages break up when a child dies. The married couple cant stop blaming themselves, or each other. I imagine Robert is gone precisely because he needs space, or Maryse does. ”
“But they love each other,” Clary said, appalled. “Isnt that what love means? That youre supposed to be there for the other person to turn to, no matter what?”
Luke looked toward the river, at the dark water moving slowly under the light of the autumn moon. “Sometimes, Clary,” he said, “love just isnt enough. ”