City of lost souls – Chapter 19: Love and Blood

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Chapter 19: Love and Blood

Methodically and carefully Clary was tearing Jaces room apart. She was still in her tank top, though shed pulled on a pair of jeans; her hair was scraped behind her head in a messy bun, and her nails were powdered with dust. She had searched under his bed, in all the drawers and cabinets, crawled under the wardrobe and desk, and looked in the pockets of all his clothes for a second stele, but she had found nothing.

She had told Sebastian she was exhausted, that she needed to go upstairs and lie down; he had seemed distracted and had waved her away. Images of Jaces face kept flashing behind her eyelids every time she shut her eyes-the way he had looked at her, betrayed, as if he didnt know her anymore.

But there was no point dwelling on that. She could sit on the edge of the bed and cry into her hands, thinking about what she had done, but it would do no one any good. She owed it to Jace, to herself, to keep moving. Searching. If she could just find a stele-

She was lifting the mattress off the bed, searching the space between it and the box springs, when a knock came on the door.

She dropped the mattress, though not before discerning that there was nothing under it. She tightened her hands into fists, took a deep breath, stalked to the door and threw it open.

Sebastian stood on the threshold. For the first time he was wearing something other than black and white. The same black trousers and boots, admittedly, but he also wore a scarlet leather tunic, intricately worked with gold and silver runes, and held together by a row of metal clasps across the front. There were hammered silver bracelets on each of his wrists, and he wore the Morgenstern ring.

She blinked at him. “Red?”

“Ceremonial,” he replied. “Colors mean different things to Shadowhunters than they do to humans. ” He said the word “humans” with contempt. “You know the old Nephilim childrens rhyme, dont you?

Black for hunting through the night

For death and sorrow, the colors white.

Gold for a bride in her wedding gown,

And red to call enchantment down. ”

“Shadowhunters get married in gold?” Clary said. Not that she cared particularly, but she was trying to wedge her body into the gap between the door and the frame so that he couldnt look behind her and see the mess shed made out of Jaces normally neat room.

“Sorry to crush your dreams of a white wedding. ” He grinned at her. “Speaking of which, I brought you something to wear. ”

He drew his hand out from behind his back. He was holding a folded item of clothing. She took it from him and let it unroll. It was a long, drifting column of scarlet fabric with an odd golden sheen to the material, like the edge of a flame. The straps were gold.

“Our mother used to wear this to Circle ceremonies before she betrayed our father,” he said. “Put it on. I want you to wear it tonight. ”

“Tonight?”

“Well, you can hardly go to the ceremony in what youre wearing now. ” His eyes raked her, from her bare feet to the tank top clinging to her body with sweat, to her dusty jeans. “How you look tonight-the impression you make on our new acolytes-is important. Put it on. ”

Her mind was whirling. The ceremony tonight. Our new acolytes. “How much time do I have-to get ready?” she asked.

“An hour perhaps,” he said. “We should be at the sacred site by midnight. The others will be gathering there. It wouldnt do to be late. ”

An hour. Heart hammering, Clary threw the garment across the bed, where it glimmered like chain mail. When she turned back, he was still in the doorway, a half smile on his face, as if he intended to wait there while she changed.

She moved to shut the door. He caught her wrist. “Tonight,” he said, “you call me Jonathan. Jonathan Morgenstern. Your brother. ”

A shudder ran over her whole body, and she dropped her eyes, hoping he couldnt see the hatred in them. “Whatever you say. ”

The moment he was gone she reached for one of Jaces leather jackets. She slipped it on, taking comfort in the warmth and the familiar smell of him. She slid her feet into shoes and crept out into the hallway, wishing for a stele and a new Soundless rune. She could hear water running downstairs and Sebastians off-key whistling, but her own footsteps still sounded like cannon explosions in her ears. She crept along, keeping close to the wall, until she reached Sebastians door and slid inside.

It was dim, the only illumination the ambient city light coming from the windows, whose curtains were pulled back. It was a mess, just as it had been the first time shed been in it. She started with his closet, stuffed full of expensive clothes-silk shirts, leather jackets, Armani suits, Bruno Magli shoes. On the floor of the closet was a white shirt, wadded up and stained with blood-blood old enough to have dried to brown. Clary looked at it for a long moment and shut the closet door.

She set herself to the desk next, pulling out drawers, rifling through papers. Shed rather hoped for something simple, like a lined piece of notebook paper with MY EVIL PLAN written across the top, but no luck. There were dozens of papers with complex numerical and alchemical figuring on them, and even a piece of stationery that began My beautiful one in Sebastians cramped handwriting. She spared a moment to wonder who on earth Sebastians beautiful one could be-she hadnt thought of him as someone who ever had romantic feelings about anyone-before turning to the nightstand by his bed.

She pulled open the drawer. Inside was a stack of notes. On top of them, something glimmered. Something circular and metallic.

Her faerie ring.

Isabelle sat with her arm around Simon as they drove back toward Brooklyn. He was exhausted, his head throbbing, his body pierced with aches. Though Magnus had given him back his ring at the lake, he had been unable to reach Clary with it. Worst of all, he was hungry. He liked how close Isabelle was sitting to him, the way she rested her hand just above the crook of his elbow, tracing patterns there, sometimes sliding her fingers down to his wrist. But the scent of her-perfume and blood-made his stomach growl.

It was starting to grow dark outside, the late-autumn sunset coming soon on the heels of the day, dimming the interior of the trucks cab. Alecs and Magnuss voices were murmurs in the shadows. Simon let his eyes flutter closed, seeing the Angel printed against the back of his lids, a burst of white light.

Simon! Clarys voice exploded inside his head, jerking him instantly awake. Are you there?

A sharp gasp escaped his lips. Clary? I was so worried-

Sebastian took my ring away from me. Simon, there may not be much time. I have to tell you. They have a second Mortal Cup. They plan to raise Lilith and create an army of dark Shadowhunters-ones with the same power as the Nephilim but allied to the demon world.

“Youre kidding me,” Simon said. It took him a moment to realize hed spoken aloud; Isabelle stirred against him, and Magnus looked over curiously.

“You all right there, vampire?”

“Its Clary,” Simon said. All three of them looked at him with identical astonished expressions. “Shes trying to talk to me. ” He slapped his hands over his ears, slumping down in his seat and trying to concentrate on her words. When are they going to do it?

Tonight. Soon. I dont know where we are exactly-but its about ten p. m. here.

Then youre about five hours ahead of us. Are you in Europe?

I cant even guess. Sebastian mentioned something called the Seventh Sacred Site. I dont know what that is, but Ive found some of his notes and apparently its an ancient tomb. It looks like a sort of doorway, and demons can be summoned through it.

Clary, Ive never heard of anything like that-

But Magnus or the others might. Please, Simon. Tell them as quickly as you can. Sebastians going to ressurrect Lilith. He wants war, a total war with the Shadowhunters. He has about forty or fifty Nephilim ready to follow him. Theyll be there. Simon, he wants to burn the world down. We have to do anything we can to stop him.

If things are that dangerous, you need to get yourself out of there.

She sounded tired. Im trying. But it might be too late.

Simon was dimly aware that everyone else in the truck was staring at him, concern on their faces. He didnt care. Clarys voice in his mind was like a rope tossed over a chasm, and if he could grip his end of it, maybe he could pull her to safety, or at least keep her from slipping away.

Clary, listen. I cant tell you how, its too long a story, but we have a weapon. It can be used on either Jace or Sebastian without hurting the other, and according to the. . . person who gave it to us, it might be able to cut them apart.

Cut them apart? How?

He said it would burn all the evil out of the one we used it on. So if we used it on Sebastian, Im guessing, it would burn away the bond between them because the bond is evil. Simon felt his head throb, and hoped he sounded more confident than he did. Im not sure. Its very powerful, anyway. Its called Glorious.

And youd use it on Sebastian? It would burn them apart without killing them?

Well, thats the idea. I mean, there is some chance it would destroy Sebastian. It would depend on if theres any good left in him. “If hes more Hells than Heavens” I think is what the Angel said-

The Angel? Her alarm was palpable. Simon, what have you-

Her voice broke off, and Simon was suddenly filled with a clamor of emotion-surprise, anger, terror. Pain. He cried out, sitting bolt upright.

Clary?

But there was only silence, ringing in his head.

Clary! he cried out, and then, aloud, he said: “Damn. Shes gone again. ”

“What happened?” Isabelle demanded. “Is she all right? Whats going on?”

“I think we have a lot less time than we thought,” Simon said in a voice much calmer than he felt. “Magnus, pull the truck over. We have to talk. ”

“So,” Sebastian said, filling the doorway as he looked down at Clary. “Would it be deja vu if I asked you what you were doing in my room, little sister?”

Clary swallowed against her suddenly dry throat. The light in the hallway was bright behind Sebastian, turning him into a silhouette. She couldnt see the expression on his face. “Looking for you?” she hazarded.

“Youre sitting on my bed,” he said. “Did you think I was under it?”

“I. . . ”

He walked into the room-sauntered, really, as if he knew something she didnt. Something no one else knew. “So why were you looking for me? And why havent you changed for the ceremony?”

“The dress,” she said. “It-doesnt fit. ”

“Of course it fits,” he said, sitting down on the bed beside her. He turned to face her, his back to the headboard. “Everything else in that room fits you. This should fit you too. ”

“Its silk and chiffon. It doesnt stretch. ”

“Youre a skinny little thing. It shouldnt have to. ” He took her right wrist, and she curled her fingers in, desperately trying to hide the ring. “Look, my fingers go right around your wrist. ”

His skin felt hot against hers, sending sharp prickles through her nerves. She remembered the way, in Idris, his touch had burned her like acid. “The Seventh Sacred Site,” she said, not looking at him. “Is that where Jace went?”

“Yes. I sent him ahead. Hes readying things for our arrival. Well meet him there. ”

Her heart dived inside her chest. “Hes not coming back?”

“Not before the ceremony. ” She caught the curling edge of Sebastians smile. “Which is good, because hed be so disappointed when I told him about this. ” He slid his hand swiftly over hers, uncurling her fingers. The gold ring blazed there, like a signal fire. “Did you think I wouldnt recognize faerie work? Do you think the Queen is such a fool that she would send you off to retrieve these for her without knowing you would keep them for yourself? She wanted you to bring this here, where I would find it. ” He jerked the ring off her finger with a smirk.

“Youve been in contact with the Queen?” Clary demanded. “How?”

“With this ring,” Sebastian purred, and Clary remembered the Queen saying in her high sweet voice, Jonathan Morgenstern could be a powerful ally. The Fair Folk are an old people; we do not make hasty decisions but wait to see in what direction the wind blows first. “Do you really think shed let you get your hands on something that would let you communicate with your little friends without her being able to listen in? Since I took it from you, Ive spoken to her, shes spoken to me-you were a fool to trust her, little sister. She likes to be on the winning side of things, the Seelie Queen. And that side will be ours, Clary. Ours. ” His voice was low and soft. “Forget them, your Shadowhunter friends. Your place is with us. With me. Your blood cries out for power, like mine does. Whatever your mother may have done to twist your conscience, you know who you are. ” His hand caught at her wrist again, pulling her toward him. “Jocelyn made all the wrong decisions. She sided with the Clave against her family. This is your chance to rectify her mistake. ”

She tried to pull her arm back. “Let me go, Sebastian. I mean it. ”

His hand slid up from her wrist, encircling her upper arm with his fingers. “Youre such a little thing. Whod think you were such a spitfire? Especially in bed. ”

She leaped to her feet, jerking away from him. “What did you just say?”

He rose as well, his lips curving up at the corners. He was so much taller than she was, almost exactly as much taller as Jace was. He leaned in close to her when he spoke, and his voice was low and rough. “Everything that marks Jace, marks me,” he said. “Down to your fingernails. ” He was grinning. “Eight parallel scratches on my back, little sister. Are you saying you didnt put them there?”

A soft explosion went off in her head, like a dull firework of rage. She looked at his laughing face, and she thought of Jace, and of Simon, and the words theyd just exchanged. If the Queen really could eavesdrop on her conversations, then she might know about Glorious already. But Sebastian didnt know. Couldnt know.

She snatched the ring from his hand, and threw it to the ground. She heard him give a shout, but shed already brought her foot down on it, feeling it give way, the gold smashing to powder.

He looked at her incredulously as she drew her foot back. “You-”

She drew back her right hand, the strongest one, and drove her fist into his stomach.

He was taller, broader, and stronger than she was, but she had the element of surprise. He doubled over, choking, and she snatched the stele from his weapons belt. Then she ran.

Magnus jerked the wheel to the side so fast that the tires screeched. Isabelle shrieked. They bumped up onto the shoulder of the road, under the shadow of a copse of partly leafless trees.

The next thing Simon knew, the doors were open and everyone was tumbling out onto the blacktop. The sun was going down, and the headlights of the truck were on, lighting them all with an eerie glow.

“All right, vampire boy,” said Magnus, shaking his head hard enough to shed glitter. “What the hell is going on?”

Alec leaned against the truck as Simon explained, repeating the conversation with Clary as accurately as he could before the whole thing flew out of his head.

“Did she say anything about getting her and Jace out of there?” Isabelle asked when he was done, her face pale in the yellowish glow from the headlights.

“No,” said Simon. “And Iz-I dont think Jace wants to get out. He wants to be where he is. ”

Isabelle crossed her arms and looked down at her boots, her black hair sweeping across her face.

“Whats this Seventh Sacred Site business?” said Alec. “I know about the seven wonders of the world, but seven sacred sites?”

“Theyre more in the interest of warlocks than Nephilim,” said Magnus. “Each is a place where ley lines converge, forming a matrix-a sort of net within which magical spells are amplified. The seventh is a stone tomb in Ireland, at Poll na mBron; the name means the cavern of sorrows. Its in a very bleak, uninhabited area called the Burren. A good place to raise a demon, if its a big one. ” He tugged at a spike of hair. “This is bad. Really bad. ”

“You think he could do it? Make-dark Shadowhunters?” Simon asked.

“Everything has an alliance, Simon. The alliance of the Nephilim is seraphic, but if it were demonic, theyd still be as strong, as powerful as they are now. But they would be dedicated to the eradication of mankind instead of its salvation. ”

“We have to get there,” Isabelle said. “We have to stop them. ”

“Him, you mean,” said Alec. “We have to stop him. Sebastian. ”

“Jace is his ally now. You have to accept that, Alec,” Magnus said. A light misty drizzle had begun to fall. The drops gleamed like gold in the headlights glow. “Ireland is five hours ahead. Theyre doing the ceremony at midnight. Its five oclock here. We have an hour and a half-two hours, at most-to stop them. ”

“Then, we shouldnt be waiting. We should be going,” Isabelle said, a tinge of panic in her voice. “If were going to stop him-”

“Iz, there are only four of us,” Alec said. “We dont even know what kind of numbers were up against-”

Simon glanced at Magnus, who was watching Alec and Isabelle argue with a peculiarly detached expression. “Magnus,” Simon said. “Why didnt we just Portal to the farm? You Portaled half of Idris to Brocelind Plain. ”

“I wanted to give you enough time to change your mind,” said Magnus, not taking his eyes off his boyfriend.

“But we can Portal from here,” Simon said. “I mean, you could do that for us. ”

“Yeah,” Magnus said. “But like Alec says, we dont know what were up against in terms of numbers. Im a pretty powerful warlock, but Jonathan Morgenstern is no ordinary Shadowhunter, and neither is Jace, for that matter. And if they succeed in raising Lilith-shell be a lot weaker than she was, but shes still Lilith. ”

“But shes dead,” said Isabelle. “Simon killed her. ”

“Greater Demons dont die,” said Magnus. “Simon. . . scattered her between worlds. It will take a long time for her to re-form and she will be weak for years. Unless Sebastian calls her up again. ” He pushed a hand through his wet, spiked hair.

“We have the sword,” Isabelle said. “We can take out Sebastian. We have Magnus, and Simon-”

“We dont even know if the sword will work,” said Alec. “And it wont do us much good if we cant get to Sebastian. And Simon isnt even Mr. Indestructible anymore. He can be killed just like the rest of us. ”

They all looked at Simon. “We have to try,” he said. “Look-we dont know how many are going to be there, no. We have a little time. Not a lot, but enough-if we Portal-to grab some reinforcements. ”

“Reinforcements from where?” Isabelle demanded.

“Ill go to Maia and Jordan back at the apartment,” said Simon, his mind quickly ticking over possibilities. “See if Jordan can get any assistance from the Praetor Lupus. Magnus, go to the downtown police station, see about enlisting whatever members of the pack are around. Isabelle and Alec-”

“Youre splitting us up?” Isabelle demanded, her voice rising. “What about fire-messages, or-”

“No ones going to trust a fire-message about something like this,” said Magnus. “And besides, fire-messages are for Shadowhunters. Do you really want to communicate this information to the Clave via fire-message instead of going to the Institute yourself?”

“Fine. ” Isabelle stalked around to the side of the car. She yanked the door open, but didnt get inside: instead she reached in, and drew out Glorious. It shone in the dim light like a bolt of dark lightning, the words carved on the blade flickering in the car light: Quis ut Deus?

The rain was starting to paste Isabelles black hair to her neck. She looked formidable as she walked back to rejoin the group. “Then we leave the car here. We split up, but we meet back at the Institute in an hour. Thats when we leave, whoever we have with us. ” She met each of her companions eyes, one by one, daring them to challenge her. “Simon, take this. ”

She held out Glorious to him, hilt-forward.

“Me?” Simon was startled. “But I dont-I havent really used a sword before. ”

“You called it down,” Isabelle said, her dark eyes glossy in the rain. “The Angel gave it to you, Simon, and you will be the one who carries it. ”

Clary dashed down the hallway and hit the steps with a clatter, racing for the downstairs and for the spot on the wall that Jace had told her was the only entrance and exit from the apartment.

She had no illusions that she could escape. She needed only a few moments to do what had to be done. She heard Sebastians boots loud on the glass staircase behind her, and put on a burst of speed, almost slamming into the wall. She jammed the stele into it point-first, drawing frantically: a pattern as simple as a cross, new to the world-

Sebastians fist closed on the back of her jacket, jerking her backward, the stele flying out of her hand. She gasped as he swung her up off her feet and slammed her into the wall, knocking the breath out of her. He glanced at the mark she had made on the wall, and his lips curled into a sneer.

“The Opening rune?” he said. He leaned forward and hissed into her ear. “And you didnt even finish it. Not that it matters. Do you really think theres a place on this earth you could go where I couldnt find you?”

Clary responded with an epithet that would have gotten her kicked out of class at St. Xaviers. Just as he started to laugh, she raised her hand and slapped him across the face so hard, her fingers stung. In his surprise he loosened his grip on her, and she jerked away from him and flipped herself over the table, making for the downstairs bedroom, which at least had a lock on the door-

And he was in front of her, grabbing the lapels of her jacket and swinging her around. Her feet went out from under her, and she would have fallen if he hadnt pinned her to the wall with his body, his arms to either side, making a cage around her.

His grin was diabolical. Gone was the stylish boy whod strolled by the Seine with her and drunk hot chocolate and talked about belonging. His eyes were all black, no pupil, like tunnels. “Whats wrong, little sis? You look upset. ”

She could barely catch her breath. “Cracked. . . my. . . nail polish slapping your. . . worthless face. See?” She showed him her finger-just one of them.

“Cute. ” He snorted. “You know how I knew youd betray us? How I knew you wouldnt be able to help it? Because youre too much like me. ”

He pressed her back harder against the wall. She could feel his chest rise and fall against hers. She was at eye level with the straight, sharp line of his collarbone. His body felt like a prison around hers, pinning her in place. “Im nothing like you. Let me go-”

“Youre everything like me,” he growled into her ear. “You infiltrated us. You faked friendship, faked caring. ”

“I never had to fake caring about Jace. ”

She saw something flash in his eyes then, a dark jealousy, and she wasnt even sure who he was jealous of. He put his lips against her cheek, close enough that she felt them move against her skin when he spoke. “You screwed us over,” he murmured. His hand was around her left arm like a vise; slowly he began to move it down. “Probably literally screwed Jace over-”

She couldnt help it, she flinched. She felt him inhale sharply. “You did,” he said. “You slept with him. ” He sounded almost betrayed.

“Its none of your business. ”

He caught at her face, turning her to look at him, fingers digging into her chin. “You cant screw someone into being good. Nicely heartless move, though. ” His lovely mouth curved into a cold smile. “You know he doesnt remember any of it, right? Did he show you a good time, at least? Because I would have. ”

She tasted bile in her throat. “Youre my brother. ”

“Those words dont mean anything where were concerned. We arent human. Their rules dont apply to us. Stupid laws about what DNA can be mixed with what. Hypocritical, really, considering. Were already experiments. The rulers of ancient Egypt used to marry their siblings, you know. Cleopatra married her brother. Strengthens the bloodline. ”

She looked at him with loathing. “I knew you were crazy,” she said. “But I didnt realize you were absolutely, spectactularly out of your goddamned mind. ”

“Oh, I dont think theres anything crazy about it. Who do we belong with but each other?”

“Jace,” she said. “I belong with Jace. ”

He made a dismissive noise. “You can have Jace. ”

“I thought you needed him. ”

“I do. But not for what you need him for. ” His hands were suddenly on her waist. “We can share him. I dont care what you do. As long as you know you belong to me. ”

She raised her hands, meaning to shove him away. “I dont belong to you. I belong to me. ”

The look in his eyes froze her in place. “I think you know better than that,” he said, and brought his mouth down on hers, hard.

For a moment she was back in Idris, standing in front of the burned Fairchild manor, and Sebastian was kissing her, and she felt as if she were falling into darkness, into a tunnel that had no end. At the time shed thought there was something wrong with her. That she couldnt kiss anyone but Jace. That she was broken.

Now she knew better. Sebastians mouth moved on hers, as hard and cold as a razor-slice in the dark, and she raised herself up on the tips of her toes, and bit down hard on his lip.

He yelled and spun away from her, his hand to his mouth. She could taste his blood, bitter copper; it dripped down his chin as he stared at her with incredulous eyes. “You-”

She whirled and kicked him, hard, in the stomach, hoping it was still sore from where shed punched him before. As he doubled up, she shot by him, running for the stairs. She was halfway there when she felt him grab her by the back of her collar. He swung her around as if he were swinging a baseball bat, and flung her at the wall. She hit it hard and sank to her knees, the breath knocked out of her.

Sebastian started toward her, his hands flexing at his sides, his eyes shimmering black like a sharks. He looked terrifying; Clary knew she ought to be frightened, but a cold, glassy detachment had come over her. Time seemed to have slowed. She remembered the fight in the junk shop in Prague, how she had disappeared into her own world where each movement was as precise as the movement of a watch. Sebastian reached down toward her, and she pushed up, off the ground, sweeping her legs sideways, knocking his feet out from under him.

He fell forward, and she rolled out of the way, bouncing to her feet. She didnt bother trying to run this time. Instead she grabbed the porcelain vase off the table and, as Sebastian rose to his feet, swung it at his head. It shattered, spraying water and leaves, and he staggered back, blood blooming against his white-silver hair.

He snarled and sprang at her. It was like being slammed by a wrecking ball. Clary flew backward, smashing through the glass tabletop, and hit the ground in an explosion of shards and agony. She screamed as Sebastian landed on top of her, driving her body down into the shattered glass, his lips drawn back in a snarl. He brought his arm down backhanded and cracked her across the face. Blood blinded her; she choked on the taste of it in her mouth, and its salt stung her eyes. She jerked up her knee, catching him in the stomach, but it was like kicking a wall. He grabbed her hands, forcing them down by her sides.

“Clary, Clary, Clary,” he said. He was gasping. At least shed winded him. Blood ran in a slow trickle from a gash on the side of his head, staining his hair scarlet. “Not bad. You werent much of a fighter back in Idris. ”

“Get off me-”

He moved his face close to hers. His tongue darted out. She tried to jerk away but couldnt move fast enough as he licked the blood off the side of her face, and grinned. The grin split his lip, and more blood ran in a trickle down his chin. “You asked me who I belong to,” he whispered. “I belong to you. Your blood is my blood, your bones my bones. The first time you saw me, I looked familiar, didnt I? Just like you looked familiar to me. ”

She gaped at him. “Youre out of your mind. ”

“Its in the Bible,” he said. “The Song of Solomon. Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. ” His fingers brushed her throat, looping into the chain there, the chain that had held the Morgenstern ring. She wondered if he would crush her windpipe. “I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love. ” His blood dripped onto her face. She held herself still, her body humming with the effort, as his hand slipped from her throat, along her side, to her waist. His fingers slid inside the waistband of her jeans. His skin was hot, burning; she could feel that he wanted her.

“You dont love me,” she said. Her voice was thin; he was crushing the air from her lungs. She remembered what her mother had said, that every emotion Sebastian showed was a pretense. Her thoughts were clear as crystal; she silently thanked the battle euphoria for doing what it had to do and keeping her focused while Sebastian sickened her with his touch.

“And you dont care that Im your brother,” he said. “I know how you felt about Jace, even when you thought he was your brother. You cant lie to me. ”

“Jace is better than you. ”

“No ones better than me. ” He grinned, all white teeth and blood. “A garden enclosed is my sister,” he said. “A spring shut up, a fountain sealed. But not anymore, right? Jace took care of that. ” He fumbled at the button on her jeans, and she took advantage of his distraction to seize up a good-size triangular piece of glass from the ground and slam the jagged edge of it into his shoulder.

The glass slid along her fingers, slicing them open. He yelled, jerking back, but more in surprise than pain; the gear protected him. She slashed the glass down harder, this time into his thigh, and when he reared back, she drove her other elbow into his throat. He went sideways, choking, and she rolled, pinning him under her as she yanked the bloody glass free of his leg. She drove the shard down toward the pulsing vein in his neck-and stopped.

He was laughing. He lay under her, and he was laughing, his laughter vibrating up through her own body. His skin was spattered with blood-her blood, dripping down on him, his own blood where she had cut him, his silver-white hair matted with it. He let his arms fall to either side of him, outstretched like wings, a broken angel, fallen out of the sky.

He said, “Kill me, little sister. Kill me, and you kill Jace, too. ”

She brought the glass shard down.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22