City of Heavenly Fire – Epilogue: THE BEAUTY OF A THOUSAND STARS

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The air was beginning to show the first warm promise of summer: The sun shone, hot and bright, down on the corner of Carroll Street and Sixth Avenue, and the trees that lined the brownstoned block were thick with green leaves. Clary had stripped off her light jacket on the way out of the subway, and stood in her jeans and tank top across from the entrance to St. Xavier’s, watching as the doors opened and the students streamed out onto the pavement. Isabelle and Magnus lounged against the tree opposite her, Magnus in a velvet jacket and jeans and Isabelle in a short silver party dress that showed her Marks. Clary supposed her own Marks were pretty visible too: all up and down her arms, at her belly where the tank top rode up, on the back of her neck. Some permanent, some temporary. All of them marking her out as different—not just different from the students milling around the school’s entrance, exchanging their good-byes for the day, making plans to walk to the park or to meet up later at Java Jones, but different from the self she had once been. The self who had been one of them. An older woman with a poodle and a pillbox hat was whistling her way down the street in the sunshine. The poodle waddled over to the tree where Isabelle and Magnus were leaning; the old woman paused, whistling. Isabelle, Clary, and Magnus were completely invisible to her. Magnus gave the poodle a ferocious glare, and it backed off with a whimper, half-dragging its owner down the street. Magnus looked after them. “Invisibility glamours do have their drawbacks,” he remarked. Isabelle quirked a smile, which disappeared almost immediately. Her voice when she spoke was tight with repressed feeling. “There he is. ” Clary’s head snapped up. The school doors had opened again, and three boys had stepped out onto the front stairs. She recognized them even from across the street. Kirk, Eric, and Simon. Nothing had changed about Eric or Kirk; she felt the Farsighted rune on her arm spark as her eyes skipped over them. She stared at Simon, drinking in every detail. It had been December when she’d seen him last, pale and dirty and bloody in the demon realm. Now he was aging, getting older, no longer frozen in time. His hair had gotten longer. It fell over his forehead, down the back of his neck. He had color in his cheeks. He stood with one foot up on the bottom step of the stairs, his body thin and angular as always, maybe a little more filled out than she had remembered him. He wore a faded blue shirt he’d had for years. He pushed up the frames of his square-rimmed glasses as he gestured animatedly with his other hand, in which he held a wad of rolled-up papers. Without taking her eyes off him, Clary fumbled her stele out of her pocket and drew on her arm, canceling out her glamour runes. She heard Magnus mutter something about being more careful. If anyone had been looking, they would have seen her suddenly pop into existence in between the trees. Nobody seemed to be, though, and Clary stuffed the stele back into her pocket. Her hand was shaking. “Good luck,” Isabelle said without asking her what she was doing. Clary supposed it was obvious. Isabelle was still leaning back against the tree; she looked drawn and tense, her back very straight. Magnus was busy twirling a blue topaz ring on his left hand; he just winked at Clary as she stepped off the curb. Isabelle would never go talk to Simon, Clary thought, starting across the street. She would never risk the blank look, the lack of recognition. She would never endure the evidence that she had been forgotten. Clary wondered if she wasn’t some kind of masochist, to throw herself into the path of it herself. Kirk had wandered off, but Eric saw her before Simon did; she tensed for a moment, but it was clear his memory of her had been wiped away too. He gave her a confused, appreciative look, clearly wondering if she was heading toward him. She shook her head and pointed her chin at Simon; Eric raised an eyebrow and gave Simon a Later, man clap on the shoulder before making himself scarce. Simon turned to look at Clary, and she felt it like a punch to the stomach. He was smiling, brown hair blowing across his face. He used his free hand to push it back. “Hi,” she said, coming to a stop in front of him. “Simon. ” Dark brown eyes shadowed by confusion, he stared at her. “Do I—Do we know each other?” She swallowed back the sudden bitter tang in her mouth. “We used to be friends,” she said, and then clarified: “It was a long time ago. Kindergarten. ” Simon raised a doubtful eyebrow. “I must have been a really charming six-year-old, if you still remember me. ” “I do remember you,” she said. “I remember your mom, Elaine, and your sister, Rebecca, too. Rebecca used to let us play with her Hungry Hungry Hippos game, but you ate all the marbles. ” Simon had gone a little pale under his slight tan. “How do you—that did happen, but I was alone,” he said, his voice shading past bewilderment into something else. “No, you weren’t. ” She searched his eyes, willing him to remember, remember something. “I’m telling you, we were friends. ” “I’m just . . . I guess I don’t . . . remember,” he said slowly, though there were shadows, a darkness in his already dark eyes, that made her wonder. “My mom’s getting married,” she said. “Tonight. I’m on my way there, actually. ” He rubbed at his temple with his free hand. “And you need a date to the wedding?” “No. I have one. ” She couldn’t tell if he looked disappointed or just more confused, as if the only logical reason he could imagine for her to be talking to him had disappeared. She could feel her cheeks burning. Somehow embarrassing herself like this was harder than facing down a gaggle of Husa demons in Glick Park. (She ought to know; she’d done it the night before. ) “I just—you and my mom used to be close. I thought you should know. It’s an important day, and if things were right, then you would have been there. ” “I . . . ” Simon swallowed. “I’m sorry?” “It’s not your fault,” she said. “It never was your fault. Not any of it. ” She leaned up on her tiptoes, the back of her eyelids burning, and kissed him quickly on the cheek. “Be happy,” she said, and turned away. She could see the blurred figures of Isabelle and Magnus, waiting for her across the street. “Wait!” She turned. Simon had hurried after her. He was holding something out. A flyer he’d pulled from the rolled stack he was carrying. “My band . . . ,” he said, half-apologetically. “You should come to a show, maybe. Sometime. ” She took the flyer with a silent nod, and dashed back across the street. She could feel him staring after her, but she couldn’t bear to turn around and see the look on his face: half confusion and half pity. Isabelle detached herself from the tree as Clary hurtled toward them. Clary slowed down just enough to retrieve her stele and slash the glamour rune back onto her arm; it hurt, but she welcomed the sting. “You were right,” she said to Magnus. “That was pointless. ” “I didn’t say it was pointless. ” He spread his hands wide. “I said he wouldn’t remember you. I said you should do it only if you were okay with that. ” “I’ll never be okay with it,” Clary snapped, and then took a deep, hard breath. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m sorry. It’s not your fault, Magnus. And, Izzy—that can’t have been fun for you, either. Thank you for coming with me. ” Magnus shrugged. “No need to apologize, biscuit. ” Isabelle’s dark eyes scanned Clary quickly; she reached out a hand. “What’s that?” “Band flyer,” Clary said, and shoved it toward Isabelle. Izzy took it with an arched eyebrow. “I can’t look at it. I used to help him Xerox those and pass them out—” She winced. “Never mind. Maybe I’ll be glad we came, later. ” She gave a wobbly smile, shrugging her jacket back on. “I’m heading out. I’ll see you guys at the farmhouse. ” Isabelle watched Clary go, a small figure making its way up the street, unnoticed by other pedestrians. Then she glanced down at the flyer in her hand. SIMON LEWIS, ERIC HILLCHURCH, KIRK DUPLESSE, AND MATT CHARLTON “THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS” MAY 19, PROSPECT PARK BAND SHELL BRING THIS FLYER, GET $5 OFF YOUR ENTRANCE FEE! Isabelle’s breath hitched in her throat. “Magnus. ” He had been watching Clary too; he glanced over now, and his glance fell on the flyer. They both stared at it. Magnus whistled between his teeth. “The Mortal Instruments?” “His band name. ” The paper shook in Isabelle’s hand. “Okay, Magnus, we have to—you said if he remembered anything—” Magnus glanced after Clary, but she was long gone. “All right,” he said. “But if it doesn’t work, if he doesn’t want it, we can never tell her. ” Isabelle was crumpling the paper in her fist, already reaching for her stele with her other hand. “Whatever you say. But we have to at least try. ” Magnus nodded, shadows chasing shadows in his gold-green eyes. Isabelle could tell he was worried about her, afraid that she’d be hurt, disappointed, and she wanted to be angry at him and grateful to him all at once. “We will. ” It had been another weird day, Simon thought. First the lady behind the counter in Java Jones who’d asked him where his friend was, the pretty girl who always came in with him and always ordered her coffee black. Simon had stared—he didn’t really have any close girl friends, certainly no one whose coffee preferences he might be expected to know. When he’d told the barista she must have been thinking of someone else, she’d looked at him like he was crazy. And then the redheaded girl who’d come up to him on the steps of St. Xavier’s. The front of the school was deserted now. Eric had been supposed to give Simon a ride home, but he’d disappeared when the girl had come up to Simon, and he hadn’t reappeared. It was nice that Eric thought he could pick up ladies with such blithe ease, Simon thought, but annoying when it meant he was going to have to take the subway home. Simon hadn’t even thought about trying to hit on her, not really. She’d seemed so fragile, despite the fairly badass tattoos that decorated her arms and collarbone. Maybe she was crazy—the evidence pointed that way—but her green eyes had been huge and sad when she’d looked at him; he’d been reminded of the way he’d looked himself, the day of his father’s funeral. Like something had punched a hole right through his rib cage and squeezed his heart. Loss like that—no, she hadn’t been hitting on him. She’d really believed they’d meant something important to each other, once. Maybe he had known that girl, he thought. Maybe it was something he’d forgotten—who remembered the friends you had in kindergarten? And yet he couldn’t shake an image of her, not looking sad but smiling over her shoulder at him, something in her hand—a drawing? He shook his head in frustration. The image was gone like a silver-quick fish slipping off a line. He cast his mind back, desperately trying to remember. He found himself doing that a lot lately. Bits of memories would come to him, fragments of poetry he didn’t know how he’d learned, glancing recollections of voices, dreams he’d wake up from shaking and sweating and unable to recall what had happened in them. Dreams of desert landscapes, of echoes, the taste of blood, a bow and arrow in his hands. (He’d learned archery in summer camp, but he’d never cared that much about it, so why was he dreaming about it now?) Not being able to get back to sleep, the aching sense that there was something missing, he didn’t know what but something, like a weight in the middle of his chest. He’d put it down to too many late-night D&D campaigns, junior year stress, and worrying about colleges. As his mother said, once you started worrying about the future, you started obsessing about the past. “Anyone sitting here?” said a voice. Simon looked up and saw a tall man with spiky black hair standing over him. He wore a velvet prep school blazer with a crest emblazoned on it in glittering thread, and at least a dozen rings. There was something odd about his features. . . . “What? I, uh. No,” Simon said, wondering how many strangers were going to accost him today. “You can sit, if you want. ” The man glanced down and made a face. “I see that many pigeons have pooped upon these stairs,” he remarked. “I shall remain standing, if that’s not too rude. ” Simon shook his head mutely. “I’m Magnus. ” He smiled, showing blinding white teeth. “Magnus Bane. ” “Are we long-lost friends, by any chance?” Simon said. “Just wondering. ” “No, we never got along all that well,” said Magnus. “Long-lost acquaintances? Compadres? My cat liked you. ” Simon scrubbed his hands over his face. “I think I’m going crazy,” he remarked, to no one in particular. “Well, then, you should be all right with what I’m about to tell you. ” Magnus turned his head slightly to the side. “Isabelle?” Out of nowhere, a girl appeared. Maybe the most beautiful girl Simon had ever seen. She had long black hair that spilled over a silver dress and made him want to write bad songs about starry nights. She also had tattoos: the same ones the other girl had sported, black and swirling, covering her arms and bare legs. “Hello, Simon,” she said. Simon just stared. It was entirely out of the realm of anything he had ever imagined that a girl who looked like this would ever say his name like that. Like it was the only name that mattered. His brain sputtered to a stop like an old car. “Mgh?” he said. Magnus held out a long-fingered hand, and the girl placed something into it. A book, bound in white leather with the title stamped on it in gold. Simon couldn’t quite see the words, but they were etched in an elegant calligraphic hand. “This,” Magnus said, “is a book of spells. ” There didn’t seem to be a response for that, so Simon didn’t try for one. “The world is full of magic,” said Magnus, and his eyes were sparkling. “Demons and angels, werewolves and faeries and vampires. You knew all this, once. You had magic, but it was taken from you. The idea was that you would live out the rest of your life without it, without remembering it. That you would forget the people you loved, if they knew about magic. That you would spend the rest of your life ordinary. ” He turned the book over in his slim fingers, and Simon caught sight of a title in Latin. Something about the sight sent a zing of energy through his body. “And there’s something to be said for that, for being relieved of the burden of greatness. Because you were great, Simon. You were a Daylighter, a warrior. You saved lives and slew demons, and the blood of angels rocketed through your veins like sunlight. ” Magnus was grinning now, a little manically. “And I don’t know, it just strikes me as a little fascist to take all that away. ” Isabelle tossed her dark hair back. Something glittered at the hollow of her throat. A red ruby. Simon felt the same zing of energy, stronger this time, as if his body were yearning toward something his mind couldn’t recall. “Fascist?” she echoed. “Yes,” Magnus said. “Clary was born special. Simon here had specialness thrust upon him. He adapted. Because the world isn’t divided into the special and the ordinary. Everyone has the potential to be extraordinary. As long as you have a soul and free will, you can be anything, do anything, choose anything. Simon should get to choose. ” Simon swallowed against his dry throat. “I’m sorry,” he said. “But what are you talking about?” Magnus tapped the book in his hand. “I’ve been searching for a way out of this spell, this curse on you,” he said, and Simon almost protested that he wasn’t cursed, but subsided. “This thing that made you forget. Then I figured it out. I ought to have figured it out a lot sooner, but they’ve always been so strict about Ascensions. So particular. But then Alec mentioned to me: They’re desperate for new Shadowhunters now. They lost so many in the Dark War, it would be easy. You’ve got so many people to vouch for you. You could be a Shadowhunter, Simon. Like Isabelle. I can do a little with this book; I can’t fix it completely, and I can’t make you what you were before, but I can prepare you to be able to Ascend, and once you do, once you’re a Shadowhunter, he can’t touch you. You’ll have the Clave’s protection, and the rules about not telling you about the Shadow World, those will be gone. ” Simon looked at Isabelle. It was a little like looking at the sun, but the way she was looking back at him made it easier. She was looking at him as if she had missed him, though he knew that wasn’t possible. “There’s really magic?” he asked. “Vampires and werewolves and wizards—” “Warlocks,” Magnus corrected. “And all of that? It exists?” “It exists,” Isabelle said. Her voice was sweet, a little husky and—familiar. He remembered the smell of sunlight and flowers suddenly, a taste like copper in his mouth. He saw desert landscapes stretching out under a demon sun, and a city with towers that shimmered as if they were made of ice and glass. “It’s not a fairy tale, Simon. Being a Shadowhunter means being a warrior. It’s dangerous, but if it’s right for you, it’s amazing. I wouldn’t ever want to be anything else. ” “It’s your decision, Simon Lewis,” said Magnus. “Remain in the existence you have, go to college, study music, get married. Live your life. Or—you can have an uncertain life of shadows and dangers. You can have the joy of reading the stories of incredible happenings, or you can be part of the story. ” He leaned closer, and Simon saw the light spark off his eyes, and realized why he’d thought they were odd. They were gold-green and slit-pupilled like a cat’s. Not human eyes at all. “The choice is up to you.
It was always a surprise that werewolves turned out to have such a deft touch with floral arrangements, Clary thought. Luke’s old pack—Maia’s now—had pitched in to decorate the grounds around the farmhouse, where the reception was being held, and the old barn where the ceremony had taken place. The pack had overhauled the entire structure. Clary remembered playing with Simon in the old hayloft that creaked, the cracked and peeling paint, the uneven floorboards. Now everything had been sanded down and refinished, and the post-and-beam room glowed with the soft glow of old wood. Someone had a sense of humor, too: The beams had been wrapped with chains of wild lupine. Big wooden vases held arrays of cattails and goldenrod and lilies. Clary’s own bouquet was wildflowers, though it had gone a bit limp from being clutched in her hand for so many hours. The whole ceremony had gone by in something of a blur: vows, flowers, candlelight, her mother’s happy face, the glow in Luke’s eyes. In the end Jocelyn had eschewed a fancy dress and gone with a plain white sundress and her hair up in a messy bun with, yes, a colored pencil stuck through it. Luke, handsome in dove gray, didn’t seem to mind at all. The guests were all milling about now. Several werewolves were efficiently clearing away the rows of chairs and stacking the presents on a long table. Clary’s own gift, a portrait she had painted of her mother and Luke, hung on one wall. She had loved drawing it; had loved having the brush and paints in her hands again—drawing not to make runes, but only to make something lovely that someone might someday enjoy. Jocelyn was busy hugging Maia, who looked amused at Jocelyn’s enthusiasm. Bat was chatting with Luke, who seemed dazed, but in a good way. Clary smiled in their direction and slipped out of the barn, onto the path outside. The moon was high, shining down on the lake at the foot of the property, making the rest of the farm glow. Lanterns had been hung in all the trees, and they swung in the faint wind. The paths were lined with tiny glowing crystals—one of Magnus’s contributions, though where was Magnus? Clary hadn’t seen him in the crowd at the ceremony, though she’d seen nearly everyone else: Maia and Bat, Isabelle in silver, Alec very serious in a dark suit, and Jace having defiantly discarded his tie somewhere, probably in some nearby foliage. Even Robert and Maryse were there, suitably gracious; Clary had no idea what was going on with their relationship, and didn’t want to ask anyone. Clary headed down toward the largest of the white tents; the DJ station was set up for Bat, and some of the pack and other guests were busy clearing a space for dancing. The tables were draped with long white cloths and set with old china from the farmhouse, sourced from Luke’s years of scouring flea markets in the small towns around the farm. None of it matched, and the glasses were old jam jars, and the centerpieces were hand-picked blue asters and clover floating in mismatched pottery bowls, and Clary thought it was the prettiest wedding she’d ever seen. A long table was set up with champagne glasses; Jace was standing near it, and as he saw her, he raised a glass of champagne and winked. He had gone the disheveled route: rumpled blazer and tousled hair and now no tie, and his skin was all gold from the beginning of summer, and he was so beautiful that it made her heart hurt. He was standing with Isabelle and Alec; Isabelle looked stunning with her hair swept up in a loose knot. Clary knew she’d never be able to pull off that sort of elegance in a million years, and she didn’t care. Isabelle was Isabelle, and Clary was grateful she existed, making the world a little fiercer with every one of her smiles. Isabelle whistled now, shooting a look across the tent. “Look at that. ” Clary looked—and looked again. She saw a girl who seemed about nineteen years old; she had loose brown hair and a sweet face. She wore a green dress, a little old-fashioned in its style, and a jade necklace around her throat. Clary had seen her before, in Alicante, talking to Magnus at the Clave’s party in Angel Square. She was holding the hand of a very familiar, very handsome boy with mussed dark hair; he looked tall and rangy in an elegant black suit and white shirt that set off his high-cheekboned face. As Clary watched, he leaned over to whisper something into her ear, and she smiled, her face lighting up. “Brother Zachariah,” Isabelle said. “Months January through December of the Hot Silent Brothers Calendar. What’s he doing here?” “There’s a Hot Silent Brothers Calendar?” said Alec. “Do they sell it?” “Quit that. ” Isabelle elbowed him. “Magnus will be here any minute. ” “Where is Magnus?” Clary asked. Isabelle smiled into her champagne. “He had an errand. ” Clary looked back over toward Zachariah and the girl, but they had melted back into the crowd. She wished they hadn’t—there was something about the girl that fascinated her—but a moment later Jace’s hand was around her wrist, and he was setting down his glass. “Come dance with me,” he said. Clary looked over at the stage. Bat had taken his place at the DJ booth, but there was no music yet. Someone had placed an upright piano in the corner, and Catarina Loss, her skin glowing blue, was tinkling at the keys. “There’s no music,” she said. Jace smiled at her. “We don’t need it. ” “Aaaand that’s our cue to leave,” Isabelle said, seizing Alec by the elbow and hauling him off into the crowd. Jace grinned after her. “Sentimentality gives Isabelle hives,” said Clary. “But, seriously, we can’t dance with no music. Everyone will stare at us—” “Then let’s go where they can’t see us,” Jace said, and drew her away from the tent. It was what Jocelyn called “the blue hour” now, everything drenched in twilight, the white tent like a star and the grass soft, each blade shimmering like silver. Jace drew her back against him, fitting her body to his, wrapping his arms around her waist, his lips touching the back of her neck. “We could go in the farmhouse,” he said. “There are bedrooms. ” She turned around in his arms and poked him in the chest, firmly. “This is my mother’s wedding,” she said. “We’re not going to have sex. At all. ” “But ‘at all’ is my favorite way to have sex. ” “The house is full of vampires,” she told him cheerfully. “They were invited, and they came last night. They’ve been waiting in there for the sun to go down. ” “Luke invited vampires?” “Maia did. Peace gesture. They’re trying to all get along. ” “Surely the vampires would respect our privacy. ” “Surely not,” said Clary, and she drew him firmly away from the path to the farmhouse, into a copse of trees. It was shaded in here, and hidden, the ground all packed earth and roots, mountain mint with its starry white flowers growing around the trunks of the trees in clusters. She backed up against a tree trunk, pulling Jace with her, so that he leaned against her, his hands on either side of her shoulders, and she rested in the cage of his arms. She smoothed her hands down over the soft fabric of his jacket. “I love you,” she said. He looked down at her. “I think I know what Madame Dorothea meant,” he said. “When she said I’d fall in love with the wrong person. ” Clary’s eyes widened. She wondered if she was about to be broken up with. If so, she would have a thing or two to say to Jace about his timing, after she drowned him in the lake. He took a deep breath. “You make me question myself,” he said. “All the time, every day. I was brought up to believe I had to be perfect. A perfect warrior, a perfect son. Even when I came to live with the Lightwoods, I thought I had to be perfect, because otherwise they would send me away. I didn’t think love came with forgiveness. And then you came along, and you broke everything I believed into pieces, and I started to see everything differently. You had—so much love, and so much forgiveness, and so much faith. So I started to think that maybe I was worth that faith. That I didn’t have to be perfect; I had to try, and that was good enough. ” He lowered his eyelids; she could see the faint pulse at his temple, feel the tension in him. “So I think you were the wrong person for the Jace that I was, but not the Jace that I am now, the Jace you helped make me. Who is, incidentally, a Jace I like much better than the old one. You’ve changed me for the better, and even if you left me, I would still have that. ” He paused. “Not that you should leave me,” he added hastily, and leaned his head against hers, so their foreheads touched. “Say something, Clary. ” His hands were on her shoulders, warm against her cool skin; she could feel them trembling. His eyes were gold even in the blue light of twilight. She remembered when she had found them hard and distant, even frightening, before she had grown to realize that what she was looking at was the expert shielding of seventeen years of self-protection. Seventeen years of protecting his heart. “You’re shaking,” she said, with some wonder. “You make me,” he said, his breath against her cheek, and he slid his hands down her bare arms, “every time—every time. ” “Can I tell you a boring science fact?” she whispered. “I bet you didn’t learn it in Shadowhunter history class. ” “If you’re trying to distract me from talking about my feelings, you’re not being very subtle about it. ” He touched her face. “You know I make speeches. It’s okay. You don’t have to make them back. Just tell me you love me. ” “I’m not trying to distract you. ” She held up her hand and wiggled the fingers. “There are a hundred trillion cells in the human body,” she said. “And every single one of the cells of my body loves you. We shed cells, and grow new ones, and my new cells love you more than the old ones, which is why I love you more every day than I did the day before. It’s science. And when I die and they burn my body and I become ashes that mix with the air, and part of the ground and the trees and the stars, everyone who breathes that air or sees the flowers that grow out of the ground or looks up at the stars will remember you and love you, because I love you that much. ” She smiled. “How was that for a speech?” He stared at her, rendered wordless for one of the first times in his life. Before he could answer, she stretched up to kiss him—a chaste press of lips to lips at first, but it deepened quickly, and soon he was parting her lips with his, tongue stroking into her mouth, and she could taste him: the sweetness of Jace spiked with the bite of champagne. His hands were feverishly running up and down her back, over the bumps of her spine, the silk straps of her dress, the bare wings of her shoulder blades, pressing her into him. She slid her hands under his jacket, wondering if maybe they should have gone to the farmhouse after all, even if it was full of vampires— “Interesting,” said an amused voice, and Clary pulled back from Jace quickly to see Magnus, standing in a gap between two trees. His tall figure was limned in moonlight; he had eschewed anything particularly outrageous and was dressed in a perfectly cut black suit that looked like a spill of ink against the darkening sky. “Interesting?” Jace echoed. “Magnus, what are you doing here?” “Came to get you,” Magnus said. “There’s something I think you should see. ” Jace closed his eyes as if praying for patience. “WE ARE BUSY. ” “Clearly,” said Magnus. “You know, they say life is short, but it isn’t all that short. It can be quite long, and you have all your lives to spend together, so I really suggest you come with me, because you’re going to be sorry if you don’t. ” Clary broke away from the tree, her hand still in Jace’s. “Okay,” she said. “Okay?” said Jace, following her. “Seriously?” “I trust Magnus,” Clary said. “If it’s important, it’s important. ” “And if it’s not, I’m going to drown him in the lake,” Jace said, echoing Clary’s earlier, unspoken thought. She hid her grin in the dark. Alec stood at the edge of the tent, watching the dancing. The sun was down enough now to simply be a red stripe painted across the distant sky, and the vampires had come out from the farmhouse and joined the party. Some discreet accommodation had been made for their tastes, and they mingled among the others holding sleek metal flutes, plucked from the champagne table, whose opacity hid the liquid inside. Lily, the head of the vampire clan of New York, was at the ivory keys of the piano, filling the room with the sounds of jazz. Over the music a voice said in Alec’s ear, “It was a lovely ceremony, I thought. ” Alec turned and saw his father, his big hand clasped around a fragile champagne flute, staring out at the guests. Robert was a large man, broad-shouldered, never at his best in a suit: He looked like an overgrown schoolboy who’d been forced into it by an annoyed parent. “Hi,” Alec said. He could see his mother, across the room, talking to Jocelyn. Maryse had more streaks of gray in her dark hair than he remembered; she looked elegant, as she always did. “It was nice of you to come,” he added grudgingly. Both his parents had been almost painfully grateful that he and Isabelle had returned to them after the Dark War—too grateful to be angry or scolding. Too grateful for Alec to say much of anything to either of them about Magnus; when his mother had returned to New York, he’d gathered the rest of his possessions from the Institute and moved into the loft in Brooklyn. He was still in the Institute nearly every day, still saw his mother often, but Robert had remained in Alicante, and Alec hadn’t tried to contact him. “Pretend to be civil with Mom, all of that—really nice. ” Alec saw his father flinch. He’d meant to be gracious, but he’d never done gracious well. It always seemed like lying. “We’re not pretending to be civil,” said Robert. “I still love your mother; we care about each other. We just—can’t be married. We should have ended it earlier. We thought we were doing the right thing. Our intentions were good. ” “Road to Hell,” said Alec succinctly, and looked down at his glass. “Sometimes,” Robert said, “you choose whom you want to be with when you’re too young, and you change, and they don’t change with you. ” Alec took in a slow breath; his veins were suddenly sizzling with anger. “If that’s meant to be a dig at me and Magnus, you can shove it,” he said. “You gave up your right to have any jurisdiction over me and my relationships when you made it clear that as far as you were concerned, a gay Shadowhunter wasn’t really a Shadowhunter. ” He set his glass down on a nearby speaker. “I’m not interested—” “Alec. ” Something about Robert’s voice made Alec turn; he didn’t sound angry, just . . . broken. “I did, I said—unforgivable things. I know that,” he said. “But I have always been proud of you, and I am no less proud now. ” “I don’t believe you. ” “When I was your age, younger, I had a parabatai,” said Robert. “Yes, Michael Wayland,” said Alec, not caring that he sounded bitter, not caring about the look on his father’s face. “I know. It’s why you took Jace in. I always thought you two must not have been particularly close. You didn’t seem to miss him much, or mind that he was dead. ” “I didn’t believe he was dead,” said Robert. “I know that must seem hard to imagine; our bond had been severed by the sentence of exile passed down by the Clave, but even before that, we had grown apart. There was a time, though, when we were close, the best of friends; there was a time when he told me that he loved me. ” Something about the weight his father put on the words brought Alec up short. “Michael Wayland was in love with you?” “I was—not kind to him about it,” said Robert. “I told him never to say those words to me again. I was afraid, and I left him alone with his thoughts and feelings and fears, and we were never close again as we had been. I took Jace in to make up, in some small measure, for what I had done, but I know there is no making up for it. ” He looked at Alec, and his dark blue eyes were steady. “You think that I am ashamed of you, but I am ashamed of myself. I look at you, and I see the mirror of my own unkindness to someone who never deserved it. We find in our children our own selves again, who might be made better than we are. Alec, you are so much a better man than I ever was, or will be. ” Alec stood frozen. He remembered his dream in the demon lands, his father telling everyone how brave he was, what a good Shadowhunter and warrior, but he had never imagined his father telling him that he was a good man. It was a much better thing, somehow. Robert was looking at him with the lines of strain plain around his eyes and mouth. Alec couldn’t help but wonder if he’d ever told anyone else about Michael, and what it had cost him to say it just now. He touched his father’s arm lightly, the first time he had willingly touched him in months, and then dropped his hand. “Thank you,” he said. “For telling me the truth. ” It wasn’t forgiveness, not exactly, but it was a start. The grass was damp from the chill of the oncoming night; Clary could feel the cold soaking through her sandals as she made her way back toward the tent with Jace and Magnus. Clary could see the rows of tables being set up, china and silverware flashing. Everyone had pitched in to help out, even the people she usually thought of as almost unassailable in their reserve: Kadir, Jia, Maryse. Music was coming from the tent. Bat was lounging up at the DJ station, but someone was playing jazz piano. She could see Alec standing with his father, talking intently, and then the crowd parted and she saw a blur of other familiar faces: Maia and Aline chatting, and Isabelle standing near Simon, looking awkward— Simon. Clary came up short. Her heart skipped a beat, and then another; she felt hot and cold all over, as if she were about to faint. It couldn’t be Simon; it had to be someone else. Some other skinny boy with messy brown hair and glasses, but he was wearing the same faded shirt she’d seen him in that morning, and his hair was still too long and in his face, and he was smiling at her a little uncertainly across the crowd and it was Simon and it was Simon and it was Simon. She didn’t even remember starting to run, but suddenly Magnus’s hand was on her shoulder, a grip like iron holding her back. “Be careful,” he said. “He doesn’t remember everything. I could give him a few memories, not much. The rest will have to wait, but, Clary—remember that he doesn’t remember. Don’t expect everything. ” She must have nodded, because he let her go, and then she was tearing across the lawn and into the tent, hurling herself at Simon so hard that he staggered back, almost falling over. He doesn’t have vampire strength anymore; go easy, go easy, her mind said, but the rest of her didn’t want to listen. She had her arms around him, and she was half-hugging him and half-sobbing into the front of his coat. She was aware of Isabelle and Jace and Maia standing near them, and Jocelyn, too, hurrying over. Clary pulled back from Simon just enough to look up into his face. And it was definitely Simon. This close up she could see the freckles on his left cheekbone, the tiny scar on his lip from a soccer accident in eighth grade. “Simon,” she whispered, and then, “Do—you know me? Do you know who I am?” He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. His hand was shaking slightly. “I . . . ” He looked around. “It’s like a family reunion where I barely know anyone but everyone knows me,” he said. “It’s . . . ” “Overwhelming?” Clary asked. She tried to hide the chime of disappointment, deep down in her chest, that he didn’t recognize her. “It’s all right if you don’t know me. There’s time. ” He looked down at her. There was uncertainty and hope in his expression, and a slightly dazed look, as if he’d just woken up from a dream and wasn’t entirely sure where he was. Then he smiled. “I don’t remember everything,” he said. “Not yet. But I remember you. ” He brought her hand up, touched the gold ring on her right index finger, the Fair Folk metal warm to the touch. “Clary,” he said. “You’re Clary. You’re my best friend. ” Alec made his way up the hill to where Magnus stood on the pathway overlooking the tent. He was leaning against a tree, hands in his pockets, and Alec joined him to watch as Simon, looking as bewildered as a newborn duckling, was swarmed by friends: Jace and Maia and Luke, and even Jocelyn, crying with happiness as she hugged him, smearing her makeup. Only Isabelle stood apart from the group, her hands clasped in front of her, her face almost expressionless. “You’d almost think she didn’t care,” said Alec as Magnus reached out to straighten his tie. Magnus had helped him pick out the suit he was wearing, and was very proud of the fact that it had a slender stripe of blue that brought out Alec’s eyes. “But I’m pretty sure she does. ” “You’re correct,” Magnus said. “She cares too much; that’s why she’s standing apart. ” “I would ask you what you did, but I’m not sure I want to know,” Alec said, leaning his back against Magnus, taking comfort in the solid warmth of the body behind him. Magnus put his chin down on Alec’s shoulder, and for a moment they stood motionless together, looking down at the tent and the scene of happy chaos below. “It was good of you. ” “You make the choice you have to make at the time,” Magnus said in his ear. “You hope for no consequences, or no serious ones. ” “You don’t think your father will be angry, do you?” Alec said, and Magnus laughed dryly. “He has a great deal more to pay attention to than me,” Magnus said. “What about you? I saw you talking to Robert. ” Alec felt Magnus’s posture tense as he repeated what his father had told him. “You know, I would not have guessed that,” Magnus said when Alec was done. “And I’ve met Michael Wayland. ” Alec felt him shrug. “Goes to show. ‘The heart is forever inexperienced’ and all that. ” “What do you think? Should I forgive him?” “I think what he told you was an explanation, but it wasn’t an excuse for how he behaved. If you forgive him, do it for yourself, not for him. It’s a waste of your time to be angry,” Magnus said, “when you’re one of the most loving people I’ve known. ” “Is that why you forgave me? For me, or you?” Alec said, not angry, just curious. “I forgave you because I love you and I hate being without you. I hate it, my cat hates it. And because Catarina convinced me I was being stupid. ” “Mmm. I like her. ” Magnus’s hands reached around Alec and flattened against his chest, as if he were feeling for his heartbeat. “And you forgive me,” he said. “For not being able to make you immortal, or end my own immortality. ” “There’s nothing to forgive,” Alec said. “I don’t want to live forever. ” He laid one of his hands over Magnus’s, twining their fingers together. “We might not have that much time,” said Alec. “I’ll get old and I’ll die. But I promise I won’t leave you until then. It’s the only promise I can make. ” “A lot of Shadowhunters don’t get old,” Magnus said. Alec could feel the thrum of his pulse. It was strange, Magnus like this, without the words that usually came to him so easily. Alec turned around in Magnus’s embrace so that they faced each other, taking in all the details that he never got tired of: the sharp bones of Magnus’s face, the gold-green of his eyes, the mouth that always seemed about to smile, though he looked worried now. “Even if it were just days, I would want to spend them all with you. Does that mean anything?” “Yes,” Magnus said. “It means that from now on we make every day matter. ” They were dancing. Lily was playing something slow and soft on the piano, and Clary drifted among the other wedding guests, Jace’s arms around her. It was exactly the kind of dancing she liked: not too complicated, mostly a matter of holding on to your partner and not doing anything to trip them up. She had her cheek against Jace’s shirtfront, the fabric rumpled and soft under her skin. His hand played idly with the curls that had fallen from her chignon, fingers tracing the back of her neck. She couldn’t help but remember a dream she’d had a long time ago, in which she had been dancing with Jace in the Hall of Accords. He had been so removed back then, so often cold; it amazed her sometimes now when she looked at him, that this was the same Jace. The Jace you helped make me, he had said. A Jace I like much better. But he was not the only one who had changed; she had changed too. She opened her mouth to tell him so, when there was a tap on her shoulder. She turned to see her mother, smiling at them both. “Jace,” Jocelyn said. “If I could ask you a favor?” Jace and Clary had both stopped dancing; neither said anything. Jocelyn had come to like Jace much better in the past six months than she had liked him before; she was even, Clary would venture to say, fond of him, but she still wasn’t always thrilled about Clary’s Shadowhunter boyfriend. “Lily’s tired of playing, but everyone’s enjoying the piano so much—and you play, don’t you? Clary told me how talented you are. Would you play for us?” Jace swept a glance toward Clary, so quick that she saw it only because she knew him well enough to look. He had manners, though, exquisite ones, when he chose to use them. He smiled at Jocelyn like an angel, and then went over to the piano. A moment later the strains of classical music filled the tent. Tessa Gray and the boy who had been Brother Zachariah sat at the farthest table in the corner and watched as Jace Herondale’s light fingers danced over the keys of the piano. Jace wore no tie and his shirt was partly unbuttoned, his face a study in concentration as he abandoned himself to the music with a passion. “Chopin. ” Tessa identified the music with a soft smile. “I wonder—I wonder if little Emma Carstairs will play the violin someday. ” “Careful,” her companion said with a laugh in his voice. “You can’t force these things. ” “It’s hard,” she said, turning to look at him earnestly. “I wish you could tell her more of the connection between the two of you, that she might not feel so alone. ” Sorrow turned down the corners of his sensitive mouth. “You know I cannot. Not yet. I hinted at it to her. That was all I could do. ” “We will keep an eye on her,” said Tessa. “We will always keep an eye on her. ” She touched the marks on his cheeks, remnants of his time as a Silent Brother, almost reverently. “I remember you said this war was a story of Lightwoods and Herondales and Fairchilds, and it is, and Blackthorns and Carstairs as well, and it’s amazing to see them. But when I do, it’s as if I see the past that stretches out behind them. I watch Jace Herondale play, and I see the ghosts that rise up in the music. Don’t you?” “Ghosts are memories, and we carry them because those we love do not leave the world. ” “Yes,” she said. “I just wish he were here to see this with us, just here with us one more time. ” She felt the rough silk of his black hair as he bent to kiss her fingers lightly—a courtly gesture from a bygone age. “He is with us, Tessa. He can see us. I believe it. I feel it, the way I used to know sometimes if he was sad or angry or lonely or happy. ” She touched the pearl bracelet at her wrist, and then his face, with light, adoring fingers. “And what is he now?” she whispered. “Happy or wistful or sad or lonely? Do not tell me he is lonely. For you must know. You always knew. ” “He is happy, Tessa. It gives him joy to see us together, as it always gave me joy to see the two of you. ” He smiled, that smile that had all the truth of the world in it, and slid his fingers from hers as he sat back. Two figures were approaching their table: a tall, redheaded woman, and a girl with the same red hair and green eyes. “And speaking of the past,” he said, “I think there’s someone here who wants to talk to you. ” Clary was watching Church with amusement when her mother sidled up to her. The cat had been festooned with dozens of tiny silver wedding bells and, in a vengeful rage, was gnawing a hole in one of the piano legs. “Mom,” Clary said suspiciously. “What are you up to?” Her mother stroked her hair, looking fond. “There’s someone I want you to meet,” she said, taking Clary’s hand. “It’s time. ” “Time? Time for what?” Clary let herself be pulled along, only half-protesting, to a white-draped table in the corner of the tent. At it sat the brown-haired girl she had seen earlier. The girl looked up as Clary approached. Brother Zachariah was rising from her side; he gave Clary a soft smile and moved across the room to talk to Magnus, who had come down from the hill holding hands with Alec. “Clary,” Jocelyn said. “I want you to meet Tessa. ”
“Isabelle. ” She looked up; she had been leaning against the side of the piano, letting Jace’s playing (and the faint sound of Church gnawing wood) lull her. It was music that reminded her of her childhood, of Jace spending hours in the music room, filling the halls of the Institute with a cascade of notes. It was Simon. He had unbuttoned his denim jacket in the warmth of the tent, and she could see the flush of heat and awkwardness across his cheekbones. There was something alien about it, a Simon who blushed and was cold and hot and grew up and grew away—from her. His dark eyes were curious as they rested on her; she saw some recognition in them, but it wasn’t total. It wasn’t the way Simon had looked at her before, longing and that sweet ache and sense that here was someone who saw her, saw Isabelle, the Isabelle she presented to the world and the Isabelle she hid away, tucked into the shadows where only a very few could see her. Simon had been one of those few. Now he was—something else. “Isabelle,” he said again, and she sensed Jace looking over at her, his eyes curious as his hands darted over the piano keys. “Would you dance with me?” She sighed and nodded. “All right,” she said, and let him draw her onto the dance floor. In her heels she was as tall as he was; their eyes were on a level. Behind the glasses his were the same dark coffee brown. “I’ve been told,” he said, and cleared his throat, “or at least, I get the sense, that you and I—” “Don’t,” she said. “Don’t talk about it. If you don’t remember, then I don’t want to hear it. ” One of his hands was on her shoulder, the other on her waist. His skin was warm against hers, not cool as she remembered it. He seemed incredibly human, and fragile. “But I want to remember it,” he said, and she remembered how argumentative he’d always been; that, at least, hadn’t changed. “I remember some of it—it’s not like I don’t know who you are, Isabelle. ” “You would call me Izzy,” she said, suddenly feeling very tired. “Izzy, not Isabelle. ” He leaned in, and she felt his breath against her hair. “Izzy,” he said. “I remember kissing you. ” She shivered. “No, you don’t. ” “Yes, I do,” he said. His hands slid to her back, fingers brushing the space just below her shoulder blade that always made her squirm. “It’s been months now,” he said, in a low voice. “And nothing’s felt quite right. I’ve always felt like something was missing. And now I know it was this, all of this, but it was also you. I didn’t remember during the day. But I dreamed at night about you, Isabelle. ” “You dreamed about us?” “Just you. The girl with the dark, dark eyes. ” He touched the edge of her hair with light fingers. “Magnus tells me I was a hero,” he said. “And I see on your face when you’re looking at me that you’re searching for that guy. The guy you knew who was a hero, who did great things. I don’t remember doing those things. I don’t know if that makes me not a hero anymore. But I’d like to try to be that guy again. That guy who gets to kiss you because he earned it. If you’ll be patient enough to let me try. ” It was such a Simon thing to say. She looked up at him, and for the first time felt a swell of hope in her chest and didn’t immediately move to crush it down. “I might let you,” she said. “Try, that is. I can’t promise anything. ” “I wouldn’t expect you to. ” His face lit up, and she saw the shadow of a memory move behind his eyes. “You’re a heartbreaker, Isabelle Lightwood,” he said. “I remember that much, at least. ” “Tessa is a warlock,” said Jocelyn, “although a very unusual kind of warlock. Remember what I told you, that I was panicked about how to put the spell on you that all Shadowhunters receive when they’re born? The protection spell? And that Brother Zachariah and a female warlock stood in and helped with the ceremony? This is the warlock I was talking about. Tessa Gray. ” “You told me that was where you got the idea for the name Fray. ” Clary sank down in the seat opposite Tessa at the round table. “F for Fairchild,” she said, realizing aloud. “And the rest for Gray. ” Tessa smiled, and her face lit up. “It was an honor. ” “You were a baby; you wouldn’t recall it,” said Jocelyn, but Clary thought of the way Tessa had looked familiar to her the first time she had seen her, and wondered. “Why are you just telling me now?” Clary demanded, looking up at her mother, who was standing by her chair, twisting her new wedding ring around her finger anxiously. “Why not before?” “I had asked to be there when she told you, if she chose to,” said Tessa; her voice was musical, soft and sweet, with the trace of an English accent. “And I fear I have long separated myself from the Shadowhunter world. My memories of it are sweet and bitter, sometimes more bitter than sweet. ” Jocelyn dropped a kiss onto Clary’s head. “Why don’t you two talk?” she said, and walked away, toward Luke, who was chatting with Kadir. Clary looked at Tessa’s smile, and said, “You’re a warlock, but you’re friends with a Silent Brother. More than friends—that’s a little odd, isn’t it?” Tessa leaned her elbows onto the table. A pearl bracelet gleamed around her left wrist; she touched it idly, as if through force of habit. “Everything about my life is quite out of the ordinary, but then, the same could be said for you, couldn’t it?” Her eyes sparkled. “Jace Herondale plays the piano very well. ” “And he knows it. ” “That sounds like a Herondale. ” Tessa laughed. “I must tell you, Clary, that I learned only recently that Jace had decided that he wished to be a Herondale and not a Lightwood. Both are honorable families, and both I have known, but my fate has always been most entwined with that of the Herondales. ” She looked over at Jace, and there was a sort of wistfulness in her expression. “There are families—the Blackthorns, the Herondales, the Carstairs—for whom I have always felt a special affinity: I have watched over them from a distance, though I have learned not to interfere. That is in part why I retreated to the Spiral Labyrinth after the Uprising. It is a place so far from the world, so hidden, I thought I could find peace there from my knowledge of what had happened to the Herondales. And then after the Mortal War I asked Magnus if I should approach Jace, speak to him of the past of the Herondales, but he said to give him time. That to bear the burden of the knowledge of the past was a heavy one. So I returned to the Labyrinth. ” She swallowed. “This was a dark year, such a dark year for Shadowhunters, for Downworlders, for all of us. So much loss and grief. In the Spiral Labyrinth we heard rumors, and then there were the Endarkened, and I thought the best thing I could do to help was to find a cure, but there was none. I wish we could have found one. Sometimes there is not always a cure. ” She looked toward Zachariah with a light in her eyes. “But then, sometimes there are miracles. Zachariah told me of the way in which he became mortal again. He said it was ‘A story of Lightwoods and Herondales and Fairchilds. ’?” She glanced over at Zachariah, who was busy patting Church. The cat had climbed up onto the champagne table and was gleefully knocking over glasses. Her look was one of exasperation and fondness mixed together. “You don’t know what it means to me, how grateful I am for what you did for my—for Zachariah, what you all of you did for him. ” “It was Jace, more than anyone else. It was—Did Zachariah just pick up Church?” Clary stared in astonishment. Zachariah was holding the cat, who had gone boneless, his tail curled around the former Silent Brother’s arm. “That cat hates everybody!” Tessa gave a small smile. “I wouldn’t say everybody. ” “So he is—Zachariah is mortal now?” Clary asked. “Just—an ordinary Shadowhunter?” “Yes,” Tessa said. “He and I have known each other a long time. We had a standing meeting every year in early January. This year, when he arrived for it, to my shock, he was mortal. ” “And you didn’t know before he just showed up? I would have killed him. ” Tessa grinned. “Well, that would have somewhat defeated the point. And I think he wasn’t sure how I would receive him, mortal as he is, when I am not mortal. ” Her expression reminded Clary of Magnus, that look of old, old eyes in a young face, reminded her of a sorrow that was too still and too deep for those with short human lives to understand. “He will age and die, and I will remain as I am. But he has had a long life, longer than most, and understands me. Neither he nor I are the age we seem. And we love each other. That is the important thing. ” Tessa closed her eyes, and for a moment seemed to let the notes of the piano music wash over her. “I have something for you,” she said, opening her eyes—they were gray, the color of rainwater. “For both of you—for you, and for Jace as well. ” She slid something out of her pocket and held it out to Clary. It was a dull silver circlet, a family ring, glimmering with the pattern of engraved birds in flight. “This ring belonged to James Herondale,” she said. “It is a true Herondale ring, many years old. If Jace has decided that he wishes to be a Herondale, he should have it to wear. ” Clary took the ring; it just fit onto her thumb. “Thank you,” she said, “though you could give it to him yourself. Maybe now is the time to talk to him. ” Tessa shook her head. “Look how happy he is,” she said. “He is deciding who he is and who he wants to be, and finding joy in it. He should have a bit more time, to be happy like that, before he picks up any burdens again. ” She took up something that had been lying on the chair beside her, and held it out to Clary. It was a copy of The Shadowhunter’s Codex, bound in blue velvet. “This is for you,” she said. “I am sure you have your own, but this was dear to me. There is an inscription on the back—see?” And she turned the book over, so that Clary could see where words had been stamped in gold against the velvet. “?‘Freely we serve, because we freely love,’?” Clary read out, and looked up at Tessa. “Thank you; this is a lovely thing. Are you sure you want to give it away?” Tessa smiled. “The Fairchilds, too, have been dear to me in my life,” she said, “and your red hair and your stubbornness recall to me people I once loved. Clary,” she said, and leaned forward across the table so that her jade pendant swung free, “I feel a kinship with you, too, you who have lost both brother and father. I know you have been judged and spoken of as the daughter of Valentine Morgenstern, and now the sister of Jonathan. There will always be those who want to tell you who you are based on your name or the blood in your veins. Do not let other people decide who you are. Decide for yourself. ” She looked over at Jace, whose hands were dancing over the piano keys. Light from the tapers caught like stars in his hair and made his skin shine. “That freedom is not a gift; it is a birthright. I hope that you and Jace will use it. ” “You sound so grave, Tessa. Don’t frighten her. ” It was Zachariah, coming to stand behind Tessa’s chair. “I’m not!” Tessa said with a laugh; she had her head tipped back, and Clary wondered if that was how she herself looked, looking up at Jace. She hoped so. It was a safe and happy look, the look of someone who was confident in the love they gave and received. “I was just giving her advice. ” “Sounds terrifying. ” It was odd how Zachariah’s speaking voice sounded both like and unlike his voice in Clary’s mind—in life his English accent was stronger than Tessa’s. He also had laughter in his voice as he reached down and helped Tessa up out of her chair. “I’m afraid we must go; we have a long journey ahead of us. ” “Where are you going?” Clary asked, holding the Codex carefully on her lap. “Los Angeles,” Tessa said, and Clary recalled her saying that the Blackthorns were a family in which she had a particular interest. Clary was glad to hear it. She knew that Emma and the others were living in the Institute with Julian’s uncle, but the idea that they might have someone special to watch over them, a guardian angel of sorts, was reassuring. “It was good to meet you,” Clary said. “Thank you. For everything. ” Tessa smiled radiantly and disappeared into the crowd, saying she was going to bid Jocelyn good-bye; Zachariah gathered up his coat and her wrap, Clary watching him curiously. “I remember once you told me,” she said, “that you had loved two people more than anything else in the world. Was Tessa one of them?” “She is one of them,” he said agreeably, shrugging himself into his coat. “I have not stopped loving her, nor my parabatai; love does not stop when someone dies. ” “Your parabatai? You lost your parabatai?” Clary said, feeling a sense of shocked hurt for him; she knew what that meant to Nephilim. “Not from my heart, for I have not forgotten,” he said, and she heard a whisper of the sadness of ages in his voice, and remembered him in the Silent City, a wraith of parchment smoke. “We are all the pieces of what we remember. We hold in ourselves the hopes and fears of those who love us. As long as there is love and memory, there is no true loss. ” Clary thought of Max, of Amatis, of Raphael and Jordan and even of Jonathan, and felt the prickle of tears in her throat. Zachariah slung Tessa’s scarf around his shoulders. “Tell Jace Herondale that he plays Chopin’s Concerto no. 2 very well,” he said, and vanished after Tessa, into the crowd. She stared after him, clutching the ring and the Codex. “Has anyone seen Church?” said a voice in her ear. It was Isabelle, her fingers tucked around Simon’s arm. Maia stood beside them, fiddling with a gold clasp in her curly hair. “I think Zachariah just stole our cat. I swear I saw him putting Church into the backseat of a car. ” “There’s no way,” said Jace, appearing beside Clary; he had his sleeves rolled up to the elbows and was flushed from the effort of playing. “Church hates everyone. ” “Not everyone,” Clary murmured with a smile. Simon was looking at Jace as if he were both fascinating and also a little alarming. “Did I—did we ever—did I bite you?” Jace touched the scar on his throat. “I can’t believe you remember that. ” “Did we . . . roll around on the bottom of a boat?” “Yes, you bit me, yes, I kind of liked it, yes, let’s not talk about it again,” said Jace. “You’re not a vampire anymore. Focus. ” “To be fair, you bit Alec, too,” said Isabelle. “When did that happen?” Maia asked, her face lighting with amusement as Bat came up behind her; without a word he took the clip out of her hand and slid it back into her hair. He snapped the clasp efficiently. His hands lingered a moment, gentle against her hair. “What happens in the demon realms stays in the demon realms,” said Jace. He glanced over at Clary. “Do you want to go for a walk?” “A walk or a walk?” Isabelle inquired. “Like, are you going to—” “I think we should all go down to the lake,” Clary said, standing up, the Codex in one hand and the ring in the other. “It’s beautiful down there. Especially at night. I’d like my friends to see it. ” “I remember it,” Simon said, and gave her a smile that made her heart feel like it was expanding in her chest. The farmhouse was where they had gone every summer; it would always be tied to Simon in her mind. That he remembered it made her happier than she could have imagined being that morning. She slid her hand into Jace’s as they all headed away from the tent, Isabelle darting off to tell her brother to go fetch Magnus along as well. Clary had wanted to be alone with Jace earlier; now she wanted to be with everyone. She had loved Jace for what felt like a long time now, loved him so much that sometimes she felt like she might die from it, because it was something she needed and couldn’t have. But that was gone now: desperation replaced by peace and a quiet happiness. Now that she no longer felt that every moment with him was snatched from the possibility of disaster, now that she could imagine a whole lifetime of times with him that were peaceful or funny or casual or relaxed or kind, she wanted nothing more than to walk down to the farmhouse lake with all of her friends and celebrate the day. As they passed down over the ridge onto the path to the lake, she glanced behind her. She saw Jocelyn and Luke standing by the tent, watching after them. She saw Luke smile at her and her mother raise her hand in a wave before lowering it to clasp her new husband’s. It had been the same for them, she thought, years of separation and sadness, and now they had a lifetime. A lifetime of times. She raised her hand in an answering wave, and then hurried to catch up with her friends. Magnus was leaning against the outside of the barn, watching Clary and Tessa deep in conversation, when Catarina came up to him. She had blue flowers in her hair that set off her sapphire-blue skin. He glanced out across the orchard, down toward where the lake shimmered like water held in the cup of a hand. “You look worried,” said Catarina, placing her hand on his shoulder companionably. “What is it? I saw you kissing that Shadowhunter boy of yours earlier, so it can’t be that. ” Magnus shook his head. “No. Everything with Alec is fine. ” “I saw you speaking to Tessa, too,” Catarina said, craning her neck to look. “Strange to have her here. Is that what’s bothering you? Past and future colliding; it must feel a bit strange. ” “Maybe,” Magnus said, though he didn’t think it was that. “Old ghosts, the shadows of might-have-beens. Though I always liked Tessa and her boys. ” “Her son was a piece of work,” said Catarina. “As was her daughter. ” Magnus laughed, though it was as brittle as twigs in winter. “I feel the past weighing on me heavily these days, Catarina. The repetition of old mistakes. I hear things, rumblings in Downworld, the rumor of coming strife. The Fair Folk are a proud people, the proudest; they will not take the shaming from the Clave without retaliation. ” “They are proud but patient,” said Catarina. “They may wait a long time, generations, for vengeance. You cannot fear it coming now, when the shadow may not descend for years yet. ” Magnus didn’t look at her; he was looking down at the tent, where Clary sat talking with Tessa, where Alec stood side by side with Maia and Bat, laughing, where Isabelle and Simon were dancing to the music Jace was playing on the piano, the haunting sweet notes of Chopin reminding him of another time, and the sound of a violin at Christmas. “Ah,” said Catarina. “You worry about them; you worry about the shadow descending upon those you love. ” “Them, or their children. ” Alec had broken away from the others and was heading up the hill toward the barn. Magnus watched him come, a dark shadow against the darker sky. “Better to love and fear than feel nothing. That is how we petrify,” said Catarina, and she touched his arm. “I am sorry about Raphael, by the way. I never got a chance to say it. I know you saved his life once. ” “And then he saved mine,” Magnus said, and looked up as Alec reached them. Alec gave Catarina a courteous nod. “Magnus, we’re going down to the lake,” he said. “Do you want to come?” “Why?” Magnus inquired. Alec shrugged. “Clary says it’s pretty,” he said. “I mean, I’ve seen it before, but there was a huge angel rising out of it, and that was distracting. ” He held his hand out. “Come on. Everyone’s going. ” Catarina smiled. “Carpe diem,” she said to Magnus. “Don’t waste your time fretting. ” She picked up her skirts and wandered off toward the trees, her feet like blue flowers in the grass. Magnus took Alec’s hand. There were fireflies down by the lake. They illuminated the night with their winking flashes as the group spread out jackets and blankets, which Magnus produced from what he claimed was thin air, though Clary suspected that they had been illegally summoned from Bed Bath & Beyond. The lake was a silver dime, reflecting back the sky and all its thousands of stars. Clary could hear Alec naming off the constellations to Magnus: the Lion, the Bow, the Winged Horse. Maia had kicked off her shoes and was walking barefoot along the lakeshore. Bat had followed her, and as Clary watched, he took her hand hesitantly. She let him. Simon and Isabelle were leaning together, whispering. Every once in a while Isabelle would laugh. Her face was brighter than it had been in months. Jace sat down on one of the blankets and drew Clary with him, his legs on either side of her. She leaned her back against him, feeling the comforting beat of his heart against her spine. His arms reached around her, and his fingers touched the Codex in her lap. “What’s this?” “A gift, for me. And there’s one for you, too,” she said, and took his hand, unfolding his fingers one by one until his hand was open. She placed the slightly battered silver ring onto it. “A Herondale ring?” He sounded bewildered. “Where did you . . . ” “It used to belong to James Herondale,” she said. “I don’t have a family tree around, so I don’t know what that means exactly, but he was clearly one of your ancestors. I remember you saying the Iron Sisters would have to make you a new ring because Stephen hadn’t left you one—but now you have one. ” He slid it onto the ring finger of his right hand. “Every time,” he said quietly. “Every time I think I’m missing a piece of me, you give it back. ” There were no words, so she didn’t say any; just turned around in his arms and kissed him on the cheek. He was beautiful under the night sky, the stars shedding their light down over him, gleaming against his hair and eyes and the Herondale ring shining on his finger, a reminder of everything that had been, and everything that would be. We are all the pieces of what we remember. We hold in ourselves the hopes and fears of those who love us. As long as there is love and memory, there is no true loss. “Do you like the name Herondale?” he asked. “It’s your name, so I love it,” she said. “There are some pretty bad Shadowhunter names I could have ended up with,” he said. “Bloodstick. Ravenhaven. ” “Bloodstick can’t possibly be a name. ” “It may have fallen out of favor,” he acknowledged. “Herondale, on the other hand, is melodic. Dulcet, one might say. Think of the sound of ‘Clary Herondale. ’?” “Oh, my God, that sounds horrible. ” “We all must sacrifice for love. ” He grinned, and reached around her to pick up the Codex. “This is old. An old edition,” he said, turning it over. “The inscription on the back is Milton. ” “Of course you know that,” she said fondly, and leaned against him as he turned the book over in his hands. Magnus had started a fire, and it was burning merrily at the lakeside, sending up sparks into the sky. The reflection of the burning raced along the scarlet of Isabelle’s necklace as she turned to say something to Simon, and it shone in the sharp gleam of Magnus’s eyes and along the water of the lake, turning the ripples to lines of gold. It picked out the inscription written on the back of the Codex, as Jace read the words aloud to Clary, his voice as soft as music in the glittering dark. “Freely we serve Because we freely love, as in our will To love or not; in this we stand or fall. ”