City of lost souls – Chapter 6 : No Weapon in this World

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

Chapter 6 : No Weapon in this World

Little flakes of early snow had begun to fall from the steel-gray sky like feathers as Clary and her mother hurried along Greenpoint Avenue, their heads bent against the chill wind coming off the East River.

Jocelyn had not spoken a word since they had left Luke at the disused police station that served as pack headquarters. The whole thing had been a blur-the pack carrying their leader in, the healing kit, Clary and her mother struggling to get a glimpse of Luke as the wolves seemed to close ranks against them. She knew why they couldnt take him to a mundane hospital, but it had been hard, beyond hard, to leave him there in the whitewashed room that served as their infirmary.

It wasnt that the wolves didnt like Jocelyn or Clary. It was that Lukes fiancee and her daughter werent part of the pack. They never would be. Clary had looked around for Maia, for an ally, but she hadnt been there. Eventually Jocelyn had sent Clary out to wait in the corridor since the room had been too crowded, and Clary had slumped on the floor, cradling her knapsack on her lap. It had been two in the morning, and she had never felt so alone. If Luke died. . .

She could barely remember a life without him. Because of him and her mother, she knew what it was like to be loved unconditionally. Luke swinging her up to perch her in the fork of an apple tree on his farm upstate was one of her earliest memories. In the infirmary he had been taking rattling breaths while his third in command, Bat, had unpacked the healing kit. People were supposed to take rattling breaths when they died, shed remembered. She couldnt remember the last thing shed said to Luke. Werent you supposed to remember the last thing you said to someone before they died?

When Jocelyn had come out of the infirmary at last, looking exhausted, shed held out a hand to Clary and had helped her up off the floor.

“Is he. . . ,” Clary had begun.

“Hes stabilized,” Jocelyn had said. Shed looked up and down the hallway. “We should go. ”

“Go where?” Clary had been bewildered. “I thought wed stay here, with Luke. I dont want to leave him. ”

“Neither do I. ” Jocelyn had been firm. Clary had thought of the woman whod turned her back on Idris, on everything shed ever known, and had walked away from it to start a new life alone. “But we cant lead Jace and Jonathan here either. Its not safe for the pack, or Luke. And this is the first place Jace will look for you. ”

“Then where. . . ,” Clary had started, but shed realized, even before shed finished her own sentence, and had shut her mouth. Where did they ever go when they needed help these days?

Now there was a sugary dusting of white along the cracked pavement of the avenue. Jocelyn had put on a long coat before theyd left the house, but beneath it she still wore the clothes that were stained with Lukes blood. Her mouth was set, her gaze unwavering on the road before her. Clary wondered if this was how her mother had looked walking out of Idris, her boots clogged with ashes, the Mortal Cup hidden in her coat.

Clary shook her head to clear it. She was being fanciful, imagining things she hadnt been present to see, her mind skittering away, perhaps, from the awfulness of what she just had seen.

Unbidden, the image of Sebastian driving the knife into Luke came into her head, and the sound of Jaces familiar and beloved voice saying “collateral damage. ”

For as is often the happenstance with that which is precious and lost, when you find him again, he may well not be quite as you left him.

Jocelyn shivered and flipped her hood up to cover her hair. White flakes of snow had already begun to mix with the bright red strands. She was still silent, and the street, lined with Polish and Russian restaurants in between barbershops and beauty parlors, was deserted in the white and yellow night. A memory flashed before the backs of Clarys eyelids-a real one this time, not a wisp of imagination. Her mother was hurrying her down a night-black street between piles of heaped and dirty snow. A lowering sky, gray and leaden. . .

She had seen the image before, the first time the Silent Brothers had dug into her mind. She realized what it was now. Her memory of a time her mother had taken her to Magnuss to have her memories altered. It must have been in the dead of winter, but she recognized Greenpoint Avenue in the memory.

The redbrick warehouse Magnus lived in rose above them. Jocelyn pushed open the glass doors to the entryway, and they crowded inside, Clary trying to breathe through her mouth as her mother pushed the buzzer for Magnus one, two, and three times. At last the door opened and they hurried up the stairs. The door to Magnuss apartment was open, and the warlock was leaning against the architrave, waiting for them. He was wearing canary-yellow pajamas, and on his feet were green slippers with alien faces, complete with sproingy antennae. His hair was a tangled, curly, spiky mass of black, and his gold-green eyes blinked tiredly at them.

“Saint Magnuss Home for Wayward Shadowhunters,” he said in a deep voice. “Welcome. ” He threw an arm wide. “Spare bedrooms are that way. Wipe your boots on the mat. ” He stepped back into the apartment, letting them pass through in front of him before shutting the door. Today the place was done up in a sort of faux-Victorian decor, with high-backed sofas and large gilt mirrors everywhere. The pillars were strung with lights in the shape of flowers.

There were three spare rooms down a short corridor off the main living room; at random Clary chose one on the right. It was painted orange, like her old bedroom in Park Slope, and had a sofa bed and a small window that looked out on the darkened windows of a closed diner. Chairman Meow was curled up on the bed, nose tucked under his tail. She sat down beside him and petted his ears, feeling the purring that vibrated through his small furry body. As she stroked him, she caught sight of the sleeve of her sweater. It was stained dark and crusted with blood. Lukes blood.

She stood up and yanked the sweater off violently. From her backpack she took a clean pair of jeans and a black V-necked thermal shirt and changed into them. She glanced at herself briefly in the window, which showed her a pale reflection, her hair hanging limply, damp with snow, her freckles standing out like paint splotches. Not that it mattered what she looked like. She thought of Jace kissing her-it felt like days ago instead of hours-and her stomach hurt as if shed swallowed tiny knives.

She held on to the edge of the bed for a long moment until the pain subsided. Then she took a deep breath and went back out into the living room.

Her mother was seated on one of the gilt-backed chairs, her long artists fingers wrapped around a mug of hot water with lemon. Magnus was slumped on a hot-pink sofa, his green slippers up on the coffee table. “The pack stabilized him,” Jocelyn was saying in an exhausted voice. “They dont know for how long, though. They thought there might have been silver powder on the blade, but it appears to be something else. The tip of the knife-” She glanced up, saw Clary, and fell silent.

“Its okay, Mom. Im old enough to hear whats wrong with Luke. ”

“Well, they dont know exactly what it is,” Jocelyn said softly. “The tip of the blade Sebastian used broke off against one of his ribs and lodged in the bone. But they cant retrieve it. It. . . moves. ”

“It moves?” Magnus looked puzzled.

“When they tried to dig it out, it burrowed into the bone and nearly snapped it,” Jocelyn said. “Hes a werewolf, he heals fast, but its in there gashing up his internal organs, keeping the wound from closing. ”

“Demon metal,” said Magnus. “Not silver. ”

Jocelyn leaned forward. “Do you think you can help him? Whatever it costs, Ill pay-”

Magnus stood up. His alien slippers and rumpled bed-head seemed extremely incongruous given the gravity of the situation. “I dont know. ”

“But you healed Alec,” said Clary. “When the Greater Demon wounded him. . . ”

Magnus had begun to pace. “I knew what was wrong with him. I dont know what kind of demon metal this is. I could experiment, try different healing spells, but it wont be the fastest way to help him. ”

“Whats the fastest way?” Jocelyn said.

“The Praetor,” said Magnus. “The Wolf Guard. I knew the man who founded it-Woolsey Scott. Because of certain. . . incidents, he was fascinated with minutiae about the way demon metals and demon drugs act on lycanthropes, the same way the Silent Brothers keep records of the ways Nephilim can be healed. Over the years the Praetor have become very closed-off and secretive, unfortunately. But a member of the Praetor could access their information. ”

“Lukes not a member,” Jocelyn said. “And their roster is secret-”

“But Jordan,” said Clary. “Jordans a member. He can find out. Ill call him-”

“Ill call him,” said Magnus. “I cant get into Praetor headquarters, but I can pass on a message that ought to hold some extra weight. Ill be back. ” He padded off to the kitchen, the antennae on his slippers waving gently like seaweed in a current.

Clary turned back to her mother, who was staring down at her mug of hot water. It was one of her favorite restoratives, though Clary could never figure out why anyone would want to drink warm sour water. The snow had soaked her mothers hair, and now that it was drying, it was beginning to curl, like Clarys did in humid weather.

“Mom,” Clary said, and her mother looked up. “That knife you threw-back at Lukes-was it at Jace?”

“It was at Jonathan. ” She would never call him Sebastian, Clary knew.

“Its just. . . ” Clary took a deep breath. “Its almost the same thing. You saw. When you stabbed Sebastian, Jace started to bleed. Its like theyre-mirrored in some way. Cut Sebastian, Jace bleeds. Kill him, and Jace dies. ”

“Clary. ” Her mother rubbed her tired eyes. “Can we not discuss this now?”

“But you said you think hell come back for me. Jace, I mean. I need to know that you wont hurt him-”

“Well, you cant know that. Because I wont promise it, Clary. I cant. ” Her mother looked at her with unflinching eyes. “I saw the two of you come out of your bedroom. ”

Clary flushed. “I dont want to-”

“To what? Talk about it? Well, too bad. You brought it up. Youre lucky Im not in the Clave anymore, you know. How long have you known where Jace was?”

“I dont know where he is. Tonight is the first time Ive talked to him since he disappeared. I saw him in the Institute with Seb-with Jonathan, yesterday. I told Alec and Isabelle and Simon. But I couldnt tell anyone else. If the Clave got hold of him-I cant let that happen. ”

Jocelyn raised her green eyes. “And why not?”

“Because hes Jace. Because I love him. ”

“Hes not Jace. Thats just it, Clary. Hes not who he was. Cant you see that-”

“Of course I can see it. Im not stupid. But I have faith. I saw him possessed before, and I saw him break free of it. I think Jace is still inside there somewhere. I think theres a way to save him. ”

“What if there isnt?”

“Prove it. ”

“You cant prove a negative, Clarissa. I understand that you love him. You always have loved him, too much. You think I didnt love your father? You think I didnt give him every chance? And look what came of that. Jonathan. If I hadnt stayed with your father, he wouldnt exist-”

“Neither would I,” said Clary. “In case you forgot, I came after my brother, not before. ” She looked at her mother, hard. “Are you saying it would be worth it never to have had me, if you could get rid of Jonathan?”

“No, I-”

There was the grating sound of keys in a lock, and the apartment door swung open. It was Alec. He wore a long leather duster open over a blue sweater, and there were white flakes of snow in his black hair. His cheeks were candy-apple red from the cold, but his face was otherwise pale.

“Wheres Magnus?” he said. As he looked toward the kitchen, Clary saw a bruise on his jaw, below his ear, about the size of a thumbprint.

“Alec!” Magnus came skidding into the living room and blew a kiss to his boyfriend across the room. Having discarded his slippers, he was barefoot now. His cats eyes shone as he looked at Alec.

Clary knew that look. That was herself looking at Jace. Alec didnt return the gaze, though. He was shucking off his coat and hanging it on a hook on the wall. He was visibly upset. His hands were trembling, his broad shoulders tightly set.

“You got my text?” Magnus asked.

“Yeah. I was only a few blocks away anyway. ” Alec looked at Clary, and then at her mother, anxiety and uncertainty warring in his expression. Though Alec had been invited to Jocelyns reception party, and had met her several times besides that, they did not by any measure know each other well. “Its true, what Magnus said? You saw Jace again?”

“And Sebastian,” said Clary.

“But Jace,” Alec said. “How was-I mean, how did he seem?”

Clary knew exactly what he was asking; for once she and Alec understood each other better than anyone else in the room. “Hes not playing a trick on Sebastian,” she replied softly. “He really has changed. He isnt like himself at all. ”

“How?” Alec demanded, with an odd blend of anger and vulnerability. “How is he different?”

There was a hole in the knee of Clarys jeans; she picked at it, scraping the skin underneath. “The way he talks-he believes in Sebastian. Believes in what hes doing, whatever that is. I reminded him that Sebastian killed Max, and he didnt even seem to care. ” Her voice cracked. “He said Sebastian was just as much his brother as Max was. ”

Alec whitened, the red spots on his cheeks standing out like bloodstains. “Did he say anything about me? Or Izzy? Did he ask about us?”

Clary shook her head, hardly able to stand the look on Alecs face. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Magnus watching Alec too, his face almost blank with sadness. She wondered if he was jealous of Jace still, or just hurt on Alecs behalf.

“Why did he come to your house?” Alec shook his head. “I dont get it. ”

“He wanted me to come with him. To join him and Sebastian. I guess he wants their evil little duo to be an evil little trio. ” She shrugged. “Maybe hes lonely. Sebastian cant be the greatest company. ”

“We dont know that. He could be absolutely fantastic at Scrabble,” said Magnus.

“Hes a murdering psychopath,” said Alec flatly. “And Jace knows it. ”

“But Jace isnt Jace right now-,” Magnus began, and broke off as the phone rang. “Ill get that. Who knows who else might be on the run from the Clave and need a place to stay? Its not like there are hotels in this city. ” He padded off toward the kitchen.

Alec flung himself down on the sofa. “Hes working too hard,” he said, looking worriedly after his boyfriend. “Hes been up all night every night trying to decipher those runes. ”

“Is the Clave employing him?” Jocelyn wanted to know.

“No,” Alec said slowly. “Hes doing it for me. Because of what Jace means to me. ” He raised his sleeve, showing Jocelyn the parabatai rune on his inner forearm.

“You knew Jace wasnt dead,” Clary said, her mind beginning to tick over thoughts. “Because youre parabatai, because of that tie between you. But you said you felt something wrong. ”

“Because hes possessed,” Jocelyn said. “Its changed him. Valentine said that when Luke became a Downworlder, he felt it. That sense of wrongness. ”

Alec shook his head. “But when Jace was possessed by Lilith, I didnt feel it,” he said. “Now I can feel something. . . wrong. Something off. ” He looked down at his shoes. “You can feel it when your parabatai dies-like there was a cord tying you to something and it has snapped, and now youre falling. ” He looked at Clary. “I felt it, once, in Idris, during the battle. But it was so brief-and when I returned to Alicante, Jace was alive. I convinced myself I had imagined it. ”

Clary shook her head, thinking of Jace and the blood-soaked sand by Lake Lyn. You didnt.

“What I feel now is different,” he went on. “I feel like hes absent from the world but not dead. Not imprisoned. . . Just not here. ”

“Thats just it,” Clary said. “Both times Ive seen him and Sebastian, theyve vanished into thin air. No Portal, just one minute they were here and the next they were gone. ”

“When you talk about there or here,” said Magnus, coming back into the room with a yawn, “and this world and that world, what youre talking about are dimensions. There are only a few warlocks who can do dimensional magic. My old friend Ragnor could. Dimensions dont lie side by side-theyre folded together, like paper. Where they intersect, dimensional pockets can be created that prevent magic from being able to find you. After all, youre not here-youre there. ”

“Maybe thats why we cant track him? Why Alec cant feel him?” said Clary.

“Could be. ” Magnus sounded almost impressed. “It would mean theres literally no way to find them if they dont want to be found. And no way to get a message back to us if you did find them. Thats complicated, expensive magic. Sebastian must have some connections-” The door buzzer sounded, and they all jumped. Magnus rolled his eyes. “Everyone calm down,” he said, and vanished into the entryway. He was back a moment later with a man wrapped in a long parchment-colored robe, the back and sides inked with patterns of runes in dark red-brown. Though his hood was up, shadowing his face, he looked completely dry, as if not a flake of snow had fallen on him. When he pushed the hood back, Clary was not at all surprised to see the face of Brother Zachariah.

Jocelyn set her mug down suddenly on the coffee table. She was looking at the Silent Brother. With his hood pushed back, you could see his dark hair, but his face was shadowed so that Clary could not see his eyes, only his high, rune-scarred cheekbones. “You,” Jocelyn said, her voice trailing off. “But Magnus told me that you would never-”

Unexpected events call for unexpected measures. Brother Zachariahs voice floated out, touching the inside of Clarys head; she knew from the expressions on the faces of the others that they could hear him too. I will say nothing to the Clave or Council of anything that transpires tonight. If the chance comes before me to save the last of the Herondale bloodline, I consider that of higher importance than the fealty I render the Clave.

“So thats settled,” Magnus said. He made a strange pair with the Silent Brother beside him, one of them pale and blanched in robes, the other in bright yellow pajamas. “Any new insight into Liliths runes?”

I have studied the runes carefully and listened to all the testimony given in the Council, said Brother Zachariah. I believe that her ritual was twofold. First she used the Daylighters bite to revive Jonathan Morgensterns consciousness. His body was still weak, but his mind and will were alive. I believe that when Jace Herondale was left alone on the roof with him, Jonathan drew on the power of Liliths runes and forced Jace to enter the enspelled circle that surrounded him. At that point Jaces will would have been subject to his. I believe he would have drawn on Jaces blood for the strength to rise and escape the roof, taking Jace with him.

“And somehow all that created a connection between them?” Clary said. “Because when my mother stabbed Sebastian, Jace started to bleed. ”

Yes. What Lilith did was a sort of twinning ritual, not unlike our own parabatai ceremony but much more powerful and dangerous. The two are now bound inextricably. Should one die, the other will follow. No weapon in this world can wound only one of them.

“When you say theyre bound inextricably,” Alec said, leaning forward, “does that mean-I mean, Jace hates Sebastian. Sebastian murdered our brother. ”

“And I dont see how Sebastian can be all that fond of Jace, either. He was horribly jealous of him all his life. He thought Jace was Valentines favorite,” added Clary.

“Not to mention,” Magnus noted, “that Jace killed him. That would put anyone off. ”

“Its like Jace doesnt remember that any of these things happened,” Clary said in frustration. “No, not like he doesnt remember them-like he doesnt believe them. ”

He remembers them. But the power of the binding is such that Jaces thoughts will pass over and around those facts, like water passing around rocks in a riverbed. It was like the spell that Magnus cast upon your mind, Clarissa. When you saw pieces of the Invisible World, your mind would reject them, turn away from them. There is no point reasoning with Jace about Jonathan. The truth cannot break their connection.

Clary thought of what had happened when she had reminded Jace that Sebastian had killed Max, how his face had temporarily furrowed in thought, then smoothed out as if he had forgotten what she had said as quickly as shed said it.

Take some small comfort in the fact that Jonathan Morgenstern is as bound as your Jace is. He cannot harm or hurt Jace, nor would he want to, Zachariah added.

Alec threw his hands up. “So they love each other now? Theyre best friends?” The hurt and jealousy was plain in his tone.

No. They are each other now. They see as the other sees. They know the other is somehow indispensable to them. Sebastian is the leader, the primary of the two. What he believes, Jace will believe. What he wants, Jace will do.

“So hes possessed,” Alec said flatly.

In a possession there is often some part of the persons original consciousness left intact. Those who have been possessed speak of watching their own actions from the outside, crying out but unable to be heard. But Jace is fully inhabiting his body and mind. He believes himself sane. He believes that this is what he wants.

“So what did he want from me?” Clary demanded in a shaking voice. “Why did he come to my room tonight?” She hoped her cheeks didnt burn. She tried to push back the memory of kissing him, the pressure of his body against hers in the bed.

He still loves you, said Brother Zachariah, and his voice was surprisingly gentle. You are the central point about which his world spins. That has not changed.

“And thats why we had to leave,” Jocelyn said tensely. “Hell come back for her. We couldnt stay at the police station. I dont know where will be safe-”

“Here,” Magnus said. “I can put up wards that will keep Jace and Sebastian out. ”

Clary saw relief flood her mothers eyes. “Thank you,” Jocelyn said.

Magnus waved an arm. “Its a privilege. I do love fending off angry Shadowhunters, especially of the possessed variety. ”

He is not possessed, Brother Zachariah reminded them.

“Semantics,” said Magnus. “The question is, what are the two of them up to? What are they planning?”

“Clary said that when she saw them in the library, Sebastian told Jace hed be running the Institute soon enough,” said Alec. “So theyre up to something. ”

“Carrying on Valentines work, probably,” said Magnus. “Down with Downworlders, kill all recalcitrant Shadowhunters, blah blah. ”

“Maybe. ” Clary wasnt sure. “Jace said something about Sebastian serving a greater cause. ”

“The Angel only knows what that indicates,” Jocelyn said. “I was married to a zealot for years. I know what a greater cause means. It means torturing the innocent, brutal murder, turning your back on your former friends, all in the name of something that you believe is bigger than yourself but is no more than greed and childishness dressed up in fanciful language. ”

“Mom,” Clary protested, worried to hear Jocelyn sound so bitter.

But Jocelyn was looking at Brother Zachariah. “You said no weapon in this world can wound only one of them,” she said. “No weapon you know of. . . ”

Magnuss eyes glowed suddenly, like a cats when caught in a beam of light. “You think. . . ”

“The Iron Sisters,” said Jocelyn. “They are the experts on weapons and weaponry. They might perhaps have an answer. ”

The Iron Sisters, Clary knew, were the sister sect to the Silent Brothers; unlike their brethren, they did not have their mouths or eyes sewed shut but instead lived in almost total solitude in a fortress whose location was unknown. They were not fighters-they were creators, the hands who shaped the weapons, the steles, the seraph blades that kept the Shadowhunters alive. There were runes only they could carve, and only they knew the secrets of molding the silvery-white substance called adamas into demon towers, steles, and witchlight rune-stones. Rarely seen, they did not attend Council meetings or venture into Alicante.

It is possible, Brother Zachariah said after a long pause.

“If Sebastian could be killed-if there is a weapon that could kill him but leave Jace alive-does that mean Jace would be free of his influence?” Clary asked.

There was an even longer pause. Then, Yes, said Brother Zachariah. That would be the most likely outcome.

“Then, we should go to see the Sisters. ” Exhaustion hung on Clary like a cloak, weighting her eyes, souring the taste in her mouth. She rubbed her eyes, trying to scrub it away. “Now. ”

“I cant go,” said Magnus. “Only female Shadowhunters can enter the Adamant Citadel. ”

“And youre not going,” Jocelyn said to Clary in her sternest No-you-are-not-going-out-clubbing-with-Simon-after-midnight voice. “Youre safer here, where youre warded. ”

“Isabelle,” said Alec. “Isabelle can go. ”

“Do you have any idea where she is?” Clary said.

“Home, Id imagine,” said Alec, one shoulder lifting in a shrug. “I can call her-”

“Ill take care of it,” Magnus said, smoothly removing his cell phone from his pocket and punching in a text with the skill of the long-practiced. “Its late, and we dont need to wake her up. Everyone needs rest. If Im to send any of you through to the Iron Sisters, it will be tomorrow. ”

“Ill go with Isabelle,” Jocelyn said. “No ones looking for me specifically, and its better that she not go alone. Even if Im not technically a Shadowhunter, I was once. Its only required that one of us be in good standing. ”

“This isnt fair,” Clary said.

Her mother didnt even look at her. “Clary. . . ”

Clary rose to her feet. “Ive been practically a prisoner for the past two weeks,” she said in a shaking voice. “The Clave wouldnt let me look for Jace. And now that he came to me-to me-you wont even let me come with you to the Iron Sisters-”

“It isnt safe. Jace is probably tracking you-”

Clary lost it. “Every time you try to keep me safe, you wreck my life!”

“No, the more involved you get with Jace the more you wreck your life!” her mother snapped back. “Every risk youve taken, every danger youve been in, is because of him! He held a knife to your throat, Clarissa-”

“That wasnt him,” Clary said in the softest, deadliest voice she could imagine. “Do you think Id stay for one second with a boy who threatened me with a knife, even if I loved him? Maybe youve been living too long in the mundane world, Mom, but there is magic. The person who hurt me wasnt Jace. It was a demon wearing his face. And the person were looking for now isnt Jace. But if he dies. . . ”

“Theres no chance of getting Jace back,” said Alec.

“There may already be no chance,” said Jocelyn. “God, Clary, look at the evidence. You thought you and Jace were brother and sister! You sacrificed everything to save his life, and a Greater Demon used him to get to you! When are you going to face the fact that the two of you are not meant to be together?”

Clary jerked back as if her mother had hit her. Brother Zachariah stood as still as a statue, as if no one were shouting at all. Magnus and Alec were staring; Jocelyn was red-cheeked, her eyes glittering with anger. Not trusting herself to speak, Clary spun on her heel, stalked down the hallway to Magnuss spare bedroom, and slammed the door behind her.

“All right, Im here,” Simon said. A cold wind was blowing across the flat expanse of the roof garden, and he stuffed his hands into the pockets of his jeans. He didnt really feel the cold, but he felt like he ought to. He raised his voice. “I showed up. Where are you?”

The roof garden of the Greenwich Hotel-now closed, and therefore empty of people-was done up like an English garden, with carefully shaped dwarf box trees, elegantly scattered wicker and glass furniture, and Lillet umbrellas that flapped in the stiff wind. The trellises of climbing roses, bare in the cold, spider-webbed the stone walls that surrounded the roof, above which Simon could see a gleaming view of downtown New York. “I am here,” said a voice, and a slender shadow detached itself from a wicker armchair and rose. “I had begun to wonder if you were coming, Daylighter. ”

“Raphael,” Simon said in a resigned voice. He walked forward, across the hardwood planks that wound between the flower borders and artificial pools lined with shining quartz. “I was wondering myself. ”

As he came closer, he could see Raphael clearly. Simon had excellent night vision, and only Raphaels skill at blending with the shadows had kept him hidden before. The other vampire was wearing a black suit, turned up at the cuffs to show the gleam of cuff links in the shape of chains. He still had the face of a little boy angel, though his gaze as he regarded Simon was cold. “When the head of the Manhattan vampire clan calls you, Lewis, you come. ”

“And what would you do if I didnt? Stake me?” Simon spread his arms wide. “Take a shot. Do whatever you want to me. Go nuts. ”

“Dios, but you are boring,” said Raphael. Behind him, by the wall, Simon could see the chrome gleam of the vampire motorcycle hed ridden to get here.

Simon lowered his arms. “Youre the one who asked me to meet you. ”

“I have a job offer for you,” said Raphael.

“Seriously? You short-staffed at the hotel?”

“I need a bodyguard. ”

Simon eyed him. “Have you been watching The Bodyguard? Because I am not going to fall in love with you and carry you around in my burly arms. ”

Raphael looked at him sourly. “I would pay you extra money to remain entirely silent while you worked. ”

Simon stared at him. “Youre serious, arent you?”

“I would not bother coming to see you if I were not serious. If I were in a joking mood, I would spend that time with someone I liked. ” Raphael sat back down in the armchair. “Camille Belcourt is free in the city of New York. The Shadowhunters are entirely caught up with this stupid business with Valentines son and will not be bothered to track her down. She represents an immediate danger to me, for she wishes to reassert her control of the Manhattan clan. Most are loyal to me. Killing me would be the fastest way for her to put herself back at the top of the hierarchy. ”

“Okay,” Simon said slowly. “But why me?”

“You are a Daylighter. Others can protect me during the night, but you can protect me in the day, when most of our kind are helpless. And you carry the Mark of Cain. With you between me and her, she would not dare to strike at me. ”

“Thats all true, but Im not doing it. ”

Raphael looked incredulous. “Why not?”

The words exploded out of Simon. “Are you kidding? Because you have never done one single thing for me in the entire time since I became a vampire. Instead you have done your level best to make my life miserable and then end it. So-if you want it in vampire language-it affords me great pleasure, my liege, to say to you now: Hell, no. ”

“It is not wise for you to make an enemy of me, Daylighter. As friends-”

Simon laughed incredulously. “Wait a second. Were we friends? That was friends?”

Raphaels fang teeth snapped out. He was very angry indeed, Simon realized. “I know why you refuse me, Daylighter, and it is not out of some pretended sense of rejection. You are so involved with the Shadowhunters, you think you are one of them. We have seen you with them. Instead of spending your nights in the hunt, as you should, you spend them with Valentines daughter. You live with a werewolf. You are a disgrace. ”

“Do you act like this with every job interview?”

Raphael bared his teeth. “You must decide if you are a vampire or a Shadowhunter, Daylighter. ”

“Ill take Shadowhunter, then. Because from what Ive experienced of vampires, you mostly suck. No pun intended. ”

Raphael stood up. “You are making a grave mistake. ”

“I already told you-”

The other vampire waved a hand, cutting him off. “There is a great darkness coming. It will sweep the Earth with fire and shadow, and when it is gone, there will be no more of your precious Shadowhunters. We, the Night Children, will survive it, for we live in darkness. But if you persist in denying what you are, you too will be destroyed, and none shall lift a hand to help you. ”

Without thinking, Simon raised his hand to touch the Mark on his forehead.

Raphael laughed soundlessly. “Ah, yes, the Angels brand upon you. In the time of darkness even the angels will be destroyed. Their strength will not aid you. And you had better pray, Daylighter, that you do not lose that Mark before the war comes. For if you do, there will be a line of enemies waiting their turn to kill you. And I will be at the head of it. ”

Clary had been lying on her back on Magnuss sofa bed for a long time. She had heard her mother come down the hall and go into one of the other spare bedroom, shutting the door behind her. Through her own door she could hear Magnus and Alec talking in low voices in the living room. She supposed she could wait for them to go to sleep, but Alec had said Magnus had been up until all hours lately studying the runes; even though Brother Zachariah appeared to have interpreted them, she couldnt trust that Alec and Magnus would retire soon.

She sat up on the bed next to Chairman Meow, who made a fuzzy noise of protest, and rummaged in her backpack. She drew out of it a clear plastic box and flipped it open. There were her Prismacolor pencils, some stumps of chalk-and her stele.

She stood up, slipping the stele into her jacket pocket. Taking her phone off the desk, she texted MEET ME AT TAKIS. She watched as the message went through, then tucked the phone into her jeans and took a deep breath.

This wasnt fair to Magnus, she knew. Hed promised her mother hed look after her, and that didnt include her sneaking out of his apartment. But she had kept her mouth shut. She hadnt promised anything. And besides, it was Jace.

You would do anything to save him, whatever it cost you, whatever you might owe to Hell or Heaven, would you not?

She took out her stele, set the tip to the orange paint of the wall, and began to draw a Portal.

The sharp banging noise woke Jordan out of a sound sleep. He bolted upright instantly and rolled out of bed to land in a crouch on the floor. Years of training with the Praetor had left him with fast reflexes and a permanent habit of sleeping lightly. A quick sight-scent scan told him the room was empty-just moonlight pooling on the floor at his feet.

The banging came again, and this time he recognized it. It was the sound of someone pounding on the front door. He usually slept in just his boxer shorts; yanking on jeans and a T-shirt, he kicked the door of his room open and strode out into the hallway. If this was a bunch of drunk college kids amusing themselves by knocking on all the doors in the building, they were about to get a faceful of angry werewolf.

He reached the door-and paused. The image came to him again, as it had in the hours it had taken him to fall asleep, of Maia running away from him at the navy yard. The look on her face when shed pulled away from him. Hed pushed her too far, he knew, asked for too much, too fast. Blown it completely, probably. Unless-maybe shed reconsidered. There had been a time when their relationship had been all passionate fights and equally passionate make-up sessions.

His heart pounding, he threw the door open. And blinked. On the doorstep stood Isabelle Lightwood, her long black glossy hair falling almost to her waist. She wore black suede knee-high boots, tight jeans, and a red silky top with her familiar red pendant around her throat, glittering darkly.

“Isabelle?” He couldnt hide the surprise in his voice, or, he suspected, the disappointment.

“Yeah, well, I wasnt looking for you, either,” she said, pushing past him into the apartment. She smelled of Shadowhunter-a smell like sun-warmed glass-and underneath that, a rosy perfume. “I was looking for Simon. ”

Jordan squinted at her. “Its two in the morning. ”

She shrugged. “Hes a vampire. ”

“But Im not. ”

“Ohhhhh?” Her red lips curled up at the corners. “Did I wake you up?” She reached out and flicked the top button on his jeans, the tip of her fingernail scraping across his flat stomach. He felt his muscles jump. Izzy was gorgeous, there was no denying that. She was also a little terrifying. He wondered how unassuming Simon managed to handle her at all. “You might want to button these all the way up. Nice boxers, by the by. ” She moved past him, toward Simons bedroom. Jordan followed, buttoning his jeans and muttering about how there was nothing strange about having a pattern of dancing penguins on your underwear.

Isabelle ducked her head into Simons room. “Hes not here. ” She slammed the door behind her and leaned back against the wall, looking at Jordan. “You did say it was two in the morning?”

“Yeah. Hes probably at Clarys. Hes been sleeping there a lot lately. ”

Isabelle bit her lip. “Right. Of course. ”

Jordan was beginning to get that feeling he got sometimes, that he was saying something unfortunate, without knowing exactly what that thing was. “Is there a reason you came over here? I mean, did something happen? Is something wrong?”

“Wrong?” Isabelle threw up her hands. “You mean other than the fact that my brother has disappeared and has probably been brainwashed by the evil demon who murdered my other brother, and my parents are getting divorced and Simon is off with Clary-”

She stopped abruptly and stalked past him into the living room. He hurried after her. By the time he caught up, she was in the kitchen, rifling through the pantry shelves. “Do you have anything to drink? A nice Barolo? Sagrantino?”

Jordan took her by the shoulders and moved her gently out of the kitchen. “Sit,” he said. “Ill get you some tequila. ”


“Tequilas what we have. That and cough syrup. ”

Sitting down at one of the stools that lined the kitchen counter, she waved a hand at him. He would have expected her to have long red or pink fingernails, buffed to perfection, to match the rest of her, but no-she was a Shadowhunter. Her hands were scarred, the nails squared off and filed down. The Voyance rune shone blackly on her right hand. “Fine. ”

Jordan grabbed the bottle of Cuervo, uncapped it, and poured her a shot. He pushed the glass across the counter. She downed it instantly, frowned, and slammed the glass down.

“Not enough,” she said, reached across the counter, and took the bottle out of his hand. She tilted her head back and swallowed once, twice, three times. When she set the bottle back down, her cheeks were flushed.

“Whered you learn to drink like that?” He wasnt sure if he should be impressed or frightened.

“The drinking age in Idris is fifteen. Not that anyone pays attention. Ive been drinking wine mixed with water along with my parents since I was a kid. ” Isabelle shrugged. The gesture lacked a little of her usual fluid coordination.

“Okay. Well, is there a message you want me to give Simon, or anything I can say or-”

“No. ” She took another swig out of the bottle. “I got all liquored up and came over to talk to him, and of course hes at Clarys. Figures. ”

“I thought you were the one who told him he ought to go over there in the first place. ”

“Yeah. ” Isabelle fiddled with the label on the tequila bottle. “I did. ”

“So,” Jordan said, in what he thought was a reasonable tone. “Tell him to stop. ”

“I cant do that. ” She sounded exhausted. “I owe her. ”

Jordan leaned on the counter. He felt a little like a bartender in a TV show, dispensing sage advice. “What do you owe her?”

“Life,” Isabelle said.

Jordan blinked. This was a little beyond his bartending and advice-offering skills. “She saved your life?”

“She saved Jaces life. She could have had anything from the Angel Raziel, and she saved my brother. Ive only ever trusted a few people in my life. Really trusted. My mother, Alec, Jace, and Max. I lost one of them already. Clarys the only reason I didnt lose another. ”

“Do you think youll ever be able to really trust someone you arent related to?”

“Im not related to Jace. Not really. ” Isabelle avoided his gaze.

“You know what I mean,” said Jordan, with a meaningful glance at Simons room.

Izzy frowned. “Shadowhunters live by an honor code, werewolf,” she said, and for a moment she was all arrogant Nephilim, and Jordan remembered why so many Downworlders disliked them. “Clary saved a Lightwood. I owe her my life. If I cant give her that-and I dont see how she has any use for it-I can give her whatever will make her less unhappy. ”

“You cant give her Simon. Simons a person, Isabelle. He goes where he wants. ”

“Yeah,” she said. “Well, he doesnt seem to mind going where she is, does he?”

Jordan hesitated. There was something about what Isabelle was saying that seemed off, but she wasnt completely wrong either. Simon had with Clary an ease that he never seemed to show with anyone else. Having been in love with only one girl in his life, and having stayed in love with her, Jordan didnt feel he was qualified to hand out advice on that front-though he remembered Simon warning him, with wryness, that Clary had “the nuclear bomb of boyfriends. ” Whether there had been jealousy under that wryness, Jordan wasnt sure. He wasnt sure whether you could ever completely forget the first girl you loved either. Especially when she was right there in front of you, every day.

Isabelle snapped her fingers. “Hey, you. Are you even paying attention?” She tilted her head to the side, blowing dark strands of hair out of her face, and looked at him hard. “Whats going on with you and Maia, anyway?”

“Nothing. ” The single word held volumes. “Im not sure shes ever going to stop hating me. ”

“She might not, at that,” Isabelle said. “Shes got good reason. ”

“Thanks. ”

“I dont do false reassurances,” Izzy said, and pushed the tequila bottle away from her. Her eyes, on Jordan, were lively and dark. “Come here, werewolf boy. ”

Shed dropped her voice. It was soft, seductive. Jordan swallowed against a suddenly dry throat. He remembered seeing Isabelle in her red dress outside the Ironworks and thinking, Thats the girl Simon was messing around on Maia with? Neither of them was the sort of girl who gave the impression you could cheat on her and survive it.

And neither one of them was the sort of girl you said no to. Warily he moved around the counter toward Isabelle. He was a few steps away when she reached out and pulled him toward her by the wrists. Her hands slid up his arms, over the swell of his biceps, the muscles of his shoulders. His heartbeat quickened. He could feel the warmth coming off her and could smell her perfume and sweet tequila. “Youre gorgeous,” she said. Her hands slid around to flatten themselves against his chest. “You know that, right?”

Jordan wondered if she could feel his heart beating through his shirt. He knew the way girls looked at him on the street-boys, too, sometimes-knew what he saw in the mirror every day, but he never thought about it much. He had been so focused on Maia for so long that it never seemed to matter beyond whether she would still find him attractive if they ever saw each other again. Hed been chatted up plenty, but not often by girls who looked like Isabelle, and never by anyone so blunt. He wondered if she was going to kiss him. He hadnt kissed anyone but Maia since he was fifteen. But Isabelle was looking up at him, and her eyes were big and dark, and her lips were slightly parted and the color of strawberries. He wondered if they would taste like strawberries if he kissed her.

“And I just dont care,” she said.

“Isabelle, I dont think-Wait. What?”

“I should care,” she said. “I mean, theres Maia to think about, so I probably wouldnt just rip your clothes off blithely anyway, but the thing is, I dont want to. Normally I would want to. ”

“Ah,” Jordan said. He felt relief, and also the tiniest twinge of disappointment. “Well. . . thats good?”

“I think about him all the time,” she said. “Its awful. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. ”

“You mean Simon?”

“Scrawny little mundane bastard,” she said, and took her hands off Jordans chest. “Except he isnt. Scrawny, anymore. Or a mundane. And I like spending time with him. He makes me laugh. And I like the way he smiles. You know, one side of his mouth goes up before the other one-Well, you live with him. You must have noticed. ”

“Not really,” said Jordan.

“I miss him when hes not around,” Isabelle confessed. “I thought. . . I dont know, after what happened that night with Lilith, things changed between us. But now hes with Clary all the time. And I cant even be angry with her. ”

“You lost your brother. ”

Isabelle looked up at him. “What?”

“Well, hes knocking himself out to make Clary feel better because she lost Jace,” said Jordan. “But Jace is your brother. Shouldnt Simon be knocking himself out to make you feel better too? Maybe youre not mad at her, but you could be mad at him. ”

Isabelle looked at him for a long moment. “But were not anything,” she said. “Hes not my boyfriend. I just like him. ” She frowned. “Crap. I cant believe I said that. I must be drunker than I thought. ”

“I kind of figured it out from what you were saying before. ” He smiled at her.

She didnt smile back, but she lowered her lashes and looked up at him through them. “Youre not so bad,” she said. “If you want, I can say nice things to Maia about you. ”

“No, thanks,” said Jordan, who wasnt sure what Izzys version of nice things was, and feared finding out. “You know, its normal, when youre going through a tough time, to want to be with the person you-” He was about to say “love,” realized she had never used the word, and switched gears. “Care about. But I dont think Simon knows you feel that way about him. ”

Her lashes fluttered back up. “Does he ever say anything about me?”

“He thinks youre really strong,” Jordan said. “And that you dont need him at all. I think he feels. . . superfluous to your life. Like, what can he give you when youre already perfect? Why would you want a guy like him?” Jordan blinked; he hadnt meant to run on like that, and he wasnt sure how much of what hed said applied to Simon, and how much to himself and Maia.

“So you mean I should tell him how I feel?” said Isabelle in a small voice.

“Yes. Definitely. Tell him how you feel. ”

“Okay. ” She grabbed for the tequila bottle and took a swig. “Ill go over to Clarys right now and Ill tell him. ”

A small flower of alarm blossomed in his chest. “You cant. Its practically three in the morning-”

“If I wait, Ill lose my nerve,” she said, in that reasonable tone that only very drunk people ever employed. She took another swig out of the bottle. “Ill just go over there, and Ill knock on the window, and Ill tell him how I feel. ”

“Do you even know which window is Clarys?”

She squinted. “Nooo. ”

The horrible vision of a drunk Isabelle waking up Jocelyn and Luke floated through Jordans head. “Isabelle, no. ” He reached up to take the tequila bottle from her, and she jerked it away from him.

“I think Im changing my mind about you,” she said in a semi-threatening tone that would have been more frightening if shed been able to focus her eyes on him directly. “I dont think I like you so much after all. ” She stood up, looked down at her feet with a surprised expression-and fell over backward. Only Jordans quick reflexes allowed him to catch her before she hit the floor.

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