Monday, 18 February 2013

City of Lost Souls - Chapter 10

Jordan’s old room at the Praetor House looked like any dormitory room at any college.
There were two iron-framed beds, each set against a different wall. Through the window
separating them green lawns were visible three floors down. Jordan’s side of the room
was fairly bare—it looked as if he had taken most of his photographs and books with him
to Manhattan—though there were some tacked-up pictures of beaches and the ocean,
and a surfboard leaning against one wall. A little jolt went through Maia as she saw that
on the bedside table was a gold-framed photo of her with Jordan, taken at Ocean City,
the boardwalk and the beach behind them.
Jordan looked at the photograph and then at her, and blushed. He slung his bag onto
his bed and stripped off his jacket, his back to her.
“When will your roommate be back?” she asked into the suddenly uncomfortable
silence. She wasn’t sure why they were both embarrassed. They certainly hadn’t been
when they’d been in the truck together, but now, here in Jordan’s space, the years they
had spent not speaking seemed to press them apart.
“Who knows? Nick’s on assignment. They’re dangerous. He might not come back.”
Jordan sounded resigned. He tossed his jacket over the back of a chair. “Why don’t you lie
down? I’m going to take a shower.” He headed for the bathroom, which, Maia was
relieved to see, was attached to his room. She didn’t feel like dealing with one of those
shared-bathroom-down-the-hall things.
“Jordan—,” she began, but he’d already closed the bathroom door behind him. She
could hear water running. With a sigh she kicked off her shoes and lay down on the
absent Nick’s bed. The blanket was dark blue plaid, and smelled like pinecones. She
looked up and saw that the ceiling was wallpapered with photographs. The same
laughing blond boy, who looked about seventeen, smiled down at her out of each picture.
Nick, she guessed. He looked happy. Had Jordan been happy, here at the Praetor House?
She reached out and flipped the photograph of the two of them toward her. It had been
taken years ago, when Jordan was skinny, with big hazel eyes that dominated his face.
They had their arms around each other and looked sunburned and happy. Summer had
darkened both their skins and put light streaks in Maia’s hair, and Jordan had his head
turned slightly toward her, as if he were going to say something or kiss her. She couldn’t
remember which. Not anymore.
She thought of the boy whose bed she was sitting on, the boy who might never come
back. She thought of Luke, slowly dying, and of Alaric and Gretel and Justine and Theo
and all the others of her pack who had lost their lives in the war against Valentine. She
thought of Max, and of Jace, two Lightwoods lost—for, she had to admit in her heart, she
didn’t think they would ever get Jace back. And lastly and strangely she thought of
Daniel, the brother she had never mourned for, and to her surprise she felt tears sting the
backs of her eyes.
She sat up abruptly. She felt as if the world were tilting and she was clinging on
helplessly, trying to keep from tumbling into a black abyss. She could feel the shadows
closing in. With Jace lost and Sebastian out there, things could only get darker. There
would only be more loss and more death. She had to admit, the most alive she’d felt in
weeks had been those moments at dawn, kissing Jordan in his car.
As if she were in a dream, she found herself getting to her feet. She walked across the
room and opened the door to the bathroom. The shower was a square of frosted glass;
she could see Jordan’s silhouette through it. She doubted he could hear her over the
running water as she pulled off her sweater and shimmied out of her jeans and
underwear. With a deep breath she crossed the room, slid the shower door open, and
stepped inside.
Jordan spun around, pushing the wet hair out of his eyes. The shower was running hot,
and his face was flushed, making his eyes shine as if the water had polished them. Or
maybe it wasn’t just the water making the blood rise under his skin as his eyes took her
in—all of her. She looked back at him steadily, not embarrassed, watching the way the
Praetor Lupus pendant shone in the wet hollow of his throat, and the slide of the soap
suds over his shoulders and chest as he stared at her, blinking water out of his eyes. He
was beautiful, but then she had always thought so.
“Maia?” he said unsteadily. “Are you… ?”
“Shh.” She put her finger against his lips, drawing the shower door closed with her
other hand. Then she stepped closer, wrapping both arms around him, letting the water
wash both of them clean of the darkness. “Don’t talk. Just kiss me.”
So he did.
“What in the name of the Angel do you mean Clary isn’t there?” Jocelyn demanded,
white-faced. “How do you know that, if you just woke up? Where has she gone?”
Simon swallowed. He had grown up with Jocelyn as almost a second mother to him. He
was used to her protectiveness of her daughter, but she had always seen him as an ally
in that, someone who would stand between Clary and the dangers of the world. Now she
was looking at him like the enemy. “She texted me last night… ,” Simon began, then
stopped as Magnus waved him over to the table.
“You might as well sit down,” he said. Isabelle and Alec were watching wide-eyed from
either side of Magnus, but the warlock didn’t look particularly surprised. “Tell us all what’s
going on. I have a feeling this is going to take a while.”
It did, though not as long as Simon might have hoped. When he was done explaining,
hunched over on his chair and staring down at Magnus’s scratched table, he lifted his
head to see Jocelyn fixing him with a green stare as cold as arctic water. “You let my
daughter go off… with Jace… to some unfindable, untraceable place where none of us can
reach her?”
Simon looked down at his hands. “I can reach her,” he said, holding up his right hand
with the gold ring on the finger. “I told you. I heard from her this morning. She said she
was fine.”
“You never should have let her leave in the first place!”
“I didn’t let her. She was going to go anyway. I thought she might as well have some
kind of a lifeline, since it’s not like I could stop her.”
“To be fair,” said Magnus, “I don’t think anyone could. Clary does what she wants.” He
looked at Jocelyn. “You can’t keep her in a cage.”
“I trusted you,” she snapped at Magnus. “How did she get out?”
“She made a Portal.”
“But you said there were wards—”
“To keep threats out, not to keep guests in. Jocelyn, your daughter isn’t stupid, and she
does what she thinks is right. You can’t stop her. No one can stop her. She is a great deal
like her mother.”
Jocelyn looked at Magnus for a moment, her mouth slightly open, and Simon realized
that of course Magnus must have known Clary’s mother when she was young, when she
betrayed Valentine and the Circle and nearly died in the Uprising. “She’s a little girl,” she
said, and turned to Simon. “You’ve spoken to her? Using these—these rings? Since she
“This morning,” said Simon. “She said she was fine. That everything was fine.”
Instead of seeming reassured, Jocelyn only looked angrier. “I’m sure that’s what she
said. Simon, I can’t believe you allowed her to do this. You should have restrained her—”
“What, tied her up?” Simon said in disbelief. “Handcuffed her to the diner table?”
“If that’s what it took. You’re stronger than she is. I’m disappointed in—”
Isabelle stood up. “Okay, that’s enough.” She glared at Jocelyn. “It is totally and
completely unfair to yell at Simon over something Clary decided to do on her own. And if
Simon had tied her up for you, then what? Were you planning on keeping her tied up
forever? You’d have to let her go eventually, and then what? She wouldn’t trust Simon
anymore, and she already doesn’t trust you because you stole her memories. And that, if
I recall, was because you were trying to protect her. Maybe if you hadn’t protected her so
much, she would know more about what is dangerous and what isn’t, and be a little less
secretive—and less reckless!”
Everyone stared at Isabelle, and for a moment Simon was reminded of something that
Clary had said to him once—that Izzy rarely made speeches, but when she did, she made
them count. Jocelyn was white around the lips.
“I’m going to the station to be with Luke,” she said. “Simon, I expect reports from you
every twenty-four hours that my daughter is all right. If I don’t hear from you every night,
I’m going to the Clave.”
And she stalked out of the apartment, slamming the door behind her so hard that a
long crack appeared in the plaster beside it.
Isabelle sat back down, this time beside Simon. He said nothing to her but held out his
hand, and she took it, slipping her fingers between his.
“So,” Magnus said finally, breaking the silence. “Who’s up for raising Azazel? Because
we’re going to need a whole lot of candles.”
Jace and Clary spent the day wandering—through mazelike tiny streets than ran along
canals whose water ranged from deep green to murky blue. They made their way among
the tourists in Saint Mark’s Square, and over the Bridge of Sighs, and drank small,
powerful cups of espresso at Caffè Florian. The disorienting maze of streets reminded
Clary a bit of Alicante, though Alicante lacked Venice’s feeling of elegant decay. There
were no roads here, no cars, only twisting little alleys, and bridges arching over canals
whose water was as green as malachite. As the sky overhead darkened to the deep blue
of late autumn twilight, lights began to go on—in tiny boutiques, in bars and restaurants
that seemed to appear out of nowhere and disappear again into shadow as she and Jace
passed, leaving light and laughter behind.
When Jace asked Clary if she was ready for dinner, she nodded firmly, yes. She had
begun to feel guilty that she had gotten no information out of him and that she was,
actually, enjoying herself. As they crossed over a bridge to the Dorsoduro, one of the
quieter sections of the city, away from the tourist throng, she determined that she would
get something out of him that night, something worth relaying to Simon.
Jace held her hand firmly as they went over a final bridge and the street opened out
into a great square on the side of an enormous canal the size of a river. The basilica of a
domed church rose on their right. Across the canal more of the city lit the evening,
throwing illumination onto the water, which shifted and glimmered with light. Clary’s
hands itched for chalk and pencils, to draw the light as it faded out of the sky, the
darkening water, the jagged outlines of the buildings, their reflections slowly dimming in
the canal. Everything seemed washed with a steely blueness. Somewhere church bells
were chiming.
She tightened her hand on Jace’s. She felt very far away here from everything in her
life, distant in a way that she had not felt in Idris. Venice shared with Alicante the sense
of being a place out of time, torn from the past, as if she had stepped into a painting or
the pages of a book. But it was also a real place, one she had grown up knowing about,
wanting to visit. She looked sidelong at Jace, who was gazing down the canal. The steely
blue light was on him, too, darkening his eyes, the shadows under his cheekbones, the
lines of his mouth. When he caught her gaze on him, he looked over and smiled.
He led her around the church and down a flight of mossy steps to a path along the
canal. Everything smelled of wet stone and water and dampness and years. As the sky
darkened, something broke the surface of the canal water a few feet from Clary. She
heard the splash and looked in time to see a green-haired woman rise from the water
and grin at her; she had a beautiful face but sharklike teeth and a fish’s yellow eyes.
Pearls were wound through her hair. She sank again below the water, without a ripple.
“Mermaid,” said Jace. “There are old families of them that have lived here in Venice a
long, long time. They’re a little odd. They do better in clean water, far out to sea, living
on fish instead of garbage.” He looked toward the sunset. “The whole city is sinking,” he
said. “It’ll all be under water in a hundred years. Imagine swimming down into the ocean
and touching the top of Saint Mark’s Basilica.” He pointed across the water.
Clary felt a flicker of sadness at the thought of all this beauty being lost. “Isn’t there
anything they can do?”
“To raise a whole city? Or hold back the ocean? Not much,” Jace said. They had come
to a set of stairs leading up. The wind came off the water and lifted his dark gold hair off
his forehead, his neck. “All things tend toward entropy. The whole universe is moving
outward, the stars pulling away from one another, God knows what falling through the
cracks between them.” He paused. “Okay, that sounded a little crazy.”
“Maybe it was all the wine at lunch.”
“I can hold my liquor.” They turned a corner, and a fairyland of lights gleamed out at
them. Clary blinked, her eyes adjusting. It was a small restaurant with tables set outside
and inside, heat lamps wound with Christmas lights like a forest of magical trees between
the tables. Jace detached himself from her long enough to get them a table, and soon
they were sitting by the side of the canal, listening to the splash of water against stone
and the sound of small boats bobbing up and down with the tide.
Tiredness was beginning to wash over Clary in waves, like the lap of water against the
sides of the canal. She told Jace what she wanted and let him order in Italian, relieved
when the waiter went away so she could lean forward and rest her elbows on the table,
her head on her hands.
“I think I have jet lag,” she said. “Interdimensional jet lag.”
“You know, time is a dimension,” Jace said.
“Pedant.” She flicked a bread crumb from the basket on the table at him.
He grinned. “I was trying to remember all the deadly sins the other day,” he said.
“Greed, envy, gluttony, irony, pedantry…”
“I’m pretty sure irony isn’t a deadly sin.”
“I’m pretty sure it is.”
“Lust,” she said. “Lust is a deadly sin.”
“And spanking.”
“I think that falls under lust.”
“I think it should have its own category,” said Jace. “Greed, envy, gluttony, irony,
pedantry, lust, and spanking.” The white Christmas lights were reflected in his eyes. He
looked more beautiful than he ever had, Clary thought, and correspondingly more distant,
more hard to touch. She thought of what he had said about the city sinking, and the
spaces between the stars, and remembered the lines of a Leonard Cohen song that
Simon’s band used to cover, not very well. “There is a crack in everything/That’s how the
light gets in.” There had to be a crack in Jace’s calm, some way she could reach through
to the real him she believed was still in there.
Jace’s amber eyes studied her. He reached out to touch her hand, and it was only after
a moment that Clary realized that his fingers were on her gold ring. “What’s that?” he
said. “I don’t remember you having a faerie-work ring.”
His tone was neutral, but her heart skipped a beat. Lying straight to Jace’s face wasn’t
something she had a lot of practice with. “It was Isabelle’s,” she said with a shrug. “She
was throwing out all the stuff that faerie ex-boyfriend of hers gave her—Meliorn—and I
thought this was pretty, so she said I could have it.”
“And the Morgenstern ring?”
This seemed like a place to tell the truth. “I gave it to Magnus so he could try to track
you with it.”
“Magnus.” Jace said the name as if it were a stranger’s, and exhaled a breath. “Do you
still feel like you made the right decision? Coming with me here?”
“Yes. I’m happy to be with you. And—well, I always wanted to see Italy. I’ve never
traveled much. Never been out of the country—”
“You were in Alicante,” he reminded her.
“Okay, other than visiting magical lands no one else can see, I haven’t traveled much.
Simon and I had plans. We were going to go backpacking around Europe after we
graduated high school…” Clary’s voice trailed off. “It sounds silly now.”
“No, it doesn’t.” He reached out and pushed a strand of hair behind her ear. “Stay with
me. We can see the whole world.”
“I am with you. I’m not going anywhere.”
“Is there anything special you want to see? Paris? Budapest? The Leaning Tower of
Only if it falls on Sebastian’s head, she thought. “Can we travel to Idris? I mean, I
guess, can the apartment travel there?”
“It can’t get past the wards.” His hand traced a path down her cheek. “You know, I
really missed you.”
“You mean you haven’t been going on romantic dates with Sebastian while you’ve been
away from me?”
“I tried,” Jace said, “but no matter how liquored up you get him, he just won’t put out.”
Clary reached for her glass of wine. She was starting to get used to the taste of it. She
could feel it burning a path down her throat, heating her veins, adding a dreamlike quality
to the night. She was in Italy, with her beautiful boyfriend, on a beautiful night, eating
delicious food that melted in her mouth. These were the kinds of moments that you
remembered all your life. But it felt like touching only the edge of happiness; every time
she looked at Jace, happiness slipped away from her. How could he be Jace and not-Jace,
all at once? How could you be heartbroken and happy at the same time?
They lay in the narrow twin bed that was meant for only one person, wrapped together
tightly under Jordan’s flannel sheet. Maia lay with her head in the crook of his arm, the
sun from the window warming her face and shoulders. Jordan was propped on his arm,
leaning over her, his free hand running through her hair, pulling her curls out to their full
length and letting them slide back through his fingers.
“I missed your hair,” he said, and dropped a kiss onto her forehead.
Laughter bubbled up from somewhere deep inside her, that sort of laughter that came
with the giddiness of infatuation. “Just my hair?”
“No.” He was grinning, his hazel eyes lit with green, his brown hair thoroughly rumpled.
“Your eyes.” He kissed them, one after another. “Your mouth.” He kissed that, too, and
she hooked her fingers through the chain against his bare chest that held the Praetor
Lupus pendant. “Everything about you.”
She twisted the chain around her fingers. “Jordan… I’m sorry about before. About
snapping at you about the money, and Stanford. It was just a lot to take in.”
His eyes darkened, and he ducked his head. “It’s not like I don’t know how independent
you are. I just… I wanted to do something nice for you.”
“I know,” she whispered. “I know you worry about me needing you, but I shouldn’t be
with you because I need you. I should be with you because I love you.”
His eyes lit up—incredulous, hopeful. “You—I mean, you think it’s possible you could
feel that way about me again?”
“I never stopped loving you, Jordan,” she said, and he caught her against him with a
kiss so intense it was bruising. She moved closer to him, and things might have
proceeded as they had in the shower if a sharp knock hadn’t come at the door.
“Praetor Kyle!” a voice shouted through the door. “Wake up! Praetor Scott wishes to
see you downstairs in his office.”
Jordan, his arms around Maia, swore softly. Laughing, Maia ran her hand slowly up his
back, tangling her fingers in his hair. “You think Praetor Scott can wait?” she whispered.
“I think he has a key to this room and he’ll use it if he feels like it.”
“That’s all right,” she said, brushing her lips against his ear. “We have lots of time,
right? All the time we’ll ever need.”
Chairman Meow lay on the table in front of Simon, completely asleep, his four legs
sticking straight into the air. This, Simon felt, was something of an achievement. Since he
had become a vampire, animals tended not to like him; they avoided him if they could,
and hissed or barked if he came too close. For Simon, who had always been an animal
lover, it was a hard loss. But he supposed if you were already the pet of a warlock,
perhaps you’d learned to accept weird creatures in your life.
Magnus, as it turned out, hadn’t been joking about the candles. Simon was taking a
moment to rest and drink some coffee; it stayed down well, and the caffeine took the
edge off the beginning prickles of hunger. All afternoon, they had been helping Magnus
set the scene for raising Azazel. They had raided local bodegas for tea lights and prayer
candles, which they had placed in a careful circle. Isabelle and Alec were scattering the
floorboards outside the circle with a mixture of salt and dried belladonna as Magnus
instructed them, reading aloud from Forbidden Rites, A Necromancer’s Manual of the
Fifteenth Century.
“What have you done to my cat?” Magnus demanded, returning to the living room
carrying a pot of coffee, with a circle of mugs floating around his head like a model of the
planets rotating around the sun. “You drank his blood, didn’t you? You said you weren’t
Simon was indignant. “I did not drink his blood. He’s fine!” He poked the Chairman in
the stomach. The cat yawned. “Second, you asked me if I was hungry when you were
ordering pizza, so I said no, because I can’t eat pizza. I was being polite.”
“That doesn’t give you the right to eat my cat.”
“Your cat is fine!” Simon reached to pick up the tabby, who jumped indignantly to his
feet and stalked off the table. “See?”
“Whatever.” Magnus threw himself down in the seat at the head of the table; the mugs
banged into place as Alec and Izzy straightened up, done with their task. Magnus clapped
his hands. “Everyone! Gather around. It’s time for a meeting. I’m going to teach you how
to summon a demon.”
Praetor Scott was waiting for them in the library, still in the same swivel chair, a small
bronze box on the desk between them. Maia and Jordan sat down across from him, and
Maia couldn’t help wondering if it was written all over her face, what she and Jordan had
been doing. Not that the Praetor was looking at them with much interest.
He pushed the box toward Jordan. “It’s a salve,” he said. “If applied to Garroway’s
wound, it should filter the poison from his blood and allow the demon steel to work its
way free. He should heal in a few days.”
Maia’s heart leaped—finally some good news. She reached for the box before Jordan
could, and opened it. It was indeed filled with a dark waxy salve that smelled sharply
herbal, like crushed bay leaves.
“I—,” Praetor Scott began, his eyes flicking to Jordan.
“She should take it,” said Jordan. “She’s close to Garroway and is part of the pack. They
trust her.”
“Are you saying they don’t trust the Praetor?”
“Half of them think the Praetor is a fairy tale,” Maia said, adding “sir” as an
Praetor Scott looked annoyed, but before he could say anything, the phone on his desk
rang. He seemed to hesitate, then lifted the receiver to his ear. “Scott here,” he said, and
then, after a moment, “Yes—yes, I think so.” He hung up, his mouth curving into a not
entirely pleasant smile. “Praetor Kyle,” he said. “I’m glad you dropped in on us today of
all days. Stay a moment. This matter somewhat concerns you.”
Maia was startled at this pronouncement, but not as startled as she was a moment
later when a corner of the room began to shimmer and a figure appeared, slowly
developing—it was like watching images appear on film in a darkroom—and the figure of
a young boy took shape. His hair was dark brown, short and straight, and a gold necklace
gleamed against the brown skin of his throat. He looked slight and ethereal, like a
choirboy, but there was something in his eyes that made him seem much older than that.
“Raphael,” she said, recognizing him. He was ever so slightly transparent—a Projection,
she realized. She’d heard of them but had never seen one up close.
Praetor Scott looked at her in surprise. “You know the head of the New York vampire
“We met once, in Brocelind Woods,” said Raphael, looking her over without much
interest. “She is a friend of the Daylighter, Simon.”
“Your assignment,” Praetor Scott said to Jordan, as if Jordan could have forgotten.
Jordan’s forehead creased. “Has something happened to him?” he asked. “Is he all
“This is not about him,” said Raphael. “It is about the rogue vampire, Maureen Brown.”
“Maureen?” Maia exclaimed. “But she’s only, what, thirteen?”
“A rogue vampire is a rogue vampire,” said Raphael. “And Maureen has been cutting
quite a swath for herself through TriBeCa and the Lower East Side. Multiple injured and at
least six kills. We’ve managed to cover them up, but…”
“She’s Nick’s assignment,” said Praetor Scott with a frown. “But he hasn’t been able to
find a trace of her. We may need to send in someone with more experience.”
“I urge you to do so,” said Raphael. “If the Shadowhunters were not so concerned with
their own… emergency at this juncture, they would surely have involved themselves by
now. And the last thing the clan needs after the affair with Camille is a censuring by the
“I take it Camille is still missing as well?” said Jordan. “Simon told us everything that
happened the night Jace disappeared, and Maureen seemed to be doing Camille’s
“Camille is not new-made and is therefore not our concern,” said Scott.
“I know, but—find her, and you may find Maureen, that’s all I’m saying,” said Jordan.
“If she were with Camille, she would not be killing at the rate she is,” said Raphael.
“Camille would prevent her. She is bloodthirsty but she knows the Conclave, and the Law.
She would keep Maureen and her activities out of their line of sight. No, Maureen’s
behavior has all the hallmarks of a vampire gone feral.”
“Then, I think you’re right.” Jordan sat back. “Nick should have backup in dealing with
her, or—”
“Or something might happen to him? If it does, perhaps it will help you focus more in
future,” said Praetor Scott. “On your own assignment.”
Jordan’s mouth opened. “Simon wasn’t responsible for Turning Maureen,” he said. “I
told you—”
Praetor Scott waved away his words. “Yes, I know,” he said, “or you would have been
pulled from your assignment, Kyle. But your subject did bite her, and under your watch as
well. And it was her association with the Daylighter, however distant, that led to her
eventual Turning.”
“The Daylighter is dangerous,” said Raphael, his eyes shining. “It is what I have been
saying all along.”
“He is not dangerous,” Maia said fiercely. “He has a good heart.” She saw Jordan
glance at her a little, sidelong, so quickly that she wondered if she’d imagined it.
“Yap, yap, yap,” said Raphael dismissively. “You werewolves cannot focus on the
matter at hand. I trusted you, Praetor, for new-fledged Downworlders are your
department. But allowing Maureen to run wild reflects badly on my clan. If you do not find
her soon, I will call up every vampire at my disposal. After all”—he smiled, and his
delicate incisors shone—“in the end she is ours to kill.”
When the meal was over, Clary and Jace walked back to the apartment through a mistshrouded
evening. The streets were deserted and the canal water shone like glass.
Rounding a corner, they found themselves beside a quiet canal, lined with shuttered
houses. Boats bobbed gently on the curving water, each a half-moon of black.
Jace laughed softly and moved forward, his hand pulling out of Clary’s. His eyes were
wide and golden in the lamplight. He knelt by the side of the canal, and she saw a flash
of white-silver—a stele—and then one of the boats sprang free of its mooring chain and
began to drift toward the center of the canal. Jace slid the stele back into his belt and
leaped, landing lightly on the wooden seat at the front of the boat. He held his hand out
to Clary. “Come on.”
She looked from him to the boat and shook her head. It was only a little bigger than a
canoe, painted black, though the paint was damp and splintering. It looked as light and
fragile as a toy. She imagined upending it and both of them being dumped into the icegreen
canal. “I can’t. I’ll knock it over.”
Jace shook his head impatiently. “You can do it,” he said. “I trained you.” To
demonstrate he took a step back. Now he was standing on the thin edge of the boat, just
beside the oarlock. He looked at her, his mouth crooked in a half smile. By all the laws of
physics, she thought, the boat, unbalanced, ought to have been toppling sideways into
the water. But Jace balanced lightly there, back straight, as if he were made of nothing
more than smoke. Behind him was the backdrop of water and stone, canal and bridges,
not a single modern edifice in sight. With his bright hair and the way he carried himself,
he could have been some Renaissance prince.
He held out a hand to her again. “Remember. You’re as light as you want to be.”
She remembered. Hours of training in how to fall, to balance, how to land like Jace did,
as if you were a piece of ash sifting gently downward. She sucked her breath in and
leaped, the green water flying by beneath her. She alighted in the bow of the boat,
wobbling on the wooden seat, but steady.
She let out her breath in a whoosh of relief and heard Jace laugh as he leaped down to
the flat bottom of the boat. It was leaky. A thin layer of water covered the wood. He was
also nine inches taller than she was, so that with her standing on the seat in the bow,
their heads were on a level.
He put his hands on her waist. “So,” he said. “Where do you want to go now?”
She looked around. They had drifted far away from the bank of the canal. “Are we
stealing this boat?”
“‘Stealing’ is such an ugly word,” he mused.
“What do you want to call it?”
He picked her up and swung her around before putting her down. “An extreme case of
He pulled her closer, and she stiffened. Her feet skidded out from under her, and the
two of them slid to the curved floor of the boat, which was flat and damp and smelled like
water and wet wood.
Clary found herself resting on top of Jace, her knees on either side of his hips. Water
was soaking into his shirt, but he didn’t seem to mind. He threw his hands behind his
head, folding them, his shirt pulling up. “You literally knocked me down with the strength
of your passion,” he observed. “Nice work, Fray.”
“You only fell because you wanted to. I know you,” she said. The moon shone down on
them like a spotlight, like they were the only people under it. “You never slip.”
He touched her face. “I may not slip,” he said, “but I fall.”
Her heart pounded, and she had to swallow before she could reply lightly, as if he were
joking. “That may be your worst line of all time.”
“Who says it’s a line?”
The boat rocked, and she leaned forward, balancing her hands on his chest. Her hips
pressed against his, and she watched his eyes as they widened, going from wickedly
sparkling gold to dark, the pupil swallowing the iris. She could see herself and the night
sky in them.
He propped himself up on one elbow, and slipped a hand around the back of her neck.
She felt him arch up against her, lips brushing hers, but she drew back, not quite allowing
the kiss. She wanted him, wanted him so much she felt hollow on the inside, as if desire
had burned her clean through. No matter what her mind said—that this was not Jace, not
her Jace, still her body remembered him, the shape and feel of him, the scent of his skin
and hair, and wanted him back.
She smiled against his mouth as if she were teasing him, and rolled to the side, curling
next to him in the wet bottom of the boat. He didn’t protest. His arm curved around her,
and the rocking of the boat beneath them was gentle and lulling. She wanted to put her
head on his shoulder, but didn’t.
“We’re drifting,” she said.
“I know. There’s something I want you to see.” Jace was looking up at the sky. The
moon was a great white billow, like a sail; Jace’s chest rose and fell steadily. His fingers
tangled in her hair. She lay still beside him, waiting and watching as the stars ticked by
like an astrological clock, and she wondered what they were waiting for. At last she heard
it, a long slow rushing noise, like water pouring through a broken dam. The sky darkened
and churned as figures rushed across it. She could barely make them out through the
clouds and the distance, but they seemed to be men, with long hair like cirrus clouds,
riding horses whose hooves gleamed the color of blood. The sound of a hunting horn
echoed across the night, and the stars shivered and the night folded in on itself as the
men vanished behind the moon.
She let her breath out in a slow exhalation. “What was that?”
“The Wild Hunt,” said Jace. His voice sounded distant and dreamlike. “Gabriel’s
Hounds. The Wild Host. They have many names. They are faeries who disdain the earthly
Courts. They ride across the sky, pursuing an eternal hunt. On one night a year a mortal
can join them—but once you’ve joined the Hunt, you can never leave it.”
“Why would anyone want to do that?”
Jace rolled and was suddenly on top of Clary, pressing her down into the bottom of the
boat. She hardly noticed the damp; she could feel heat rolling off him in waves, and his
eyes burned. He had a way of propping himself over her so that she wasn’t crushed but
she could feel every part of him against her—the shape of his hips, the rivets in his jeans,
the tracings of his scars. “There’s something appealing about the idea,” he said. “Of
losing all your control. Don’t you think?”
She opened her mouth to answer, but he was already kissing her. She had kissed him
so many times—soft gentle kisses, hard and desperate ones, brief brushes of the lips that
said good-bye, and kisses that seemed to go on for hours—and this was no different. The
way the memory of someone who had once lived in a house might linger even after they
were gone, like a sort of psychic imprint, her body remembered Jace. Remembered the
way he tasted, the slant of his mouth over hers, his scars under her fingers, the shape of
his body under her hands. She let go of her doubts and reached up to pull him toward
He rolled sideways, holding her, the boat rocking underneath them. Clary could hear
the splash of water as his hands drifted down her side to her waist, his fingers lightly
stroking the sensitive skin at the small of her back. She slid her hands into his hair and
closed her eyes, wrapped in mist, the sound and smell of water. Endless ages went by,
and there was only Jace’s mouth on hers, the lulling motion of the boat, his hands on her
skin. Finally, after what could have been hours or minutes, she heard the sound of
someone shouting, an angry Italian voice, rising and cutting through the night.
Jace drew back, his look lazy and regretful. “We’d better go.”
Clary looked up at him, dazed. “Why?”
“Because that’s the guy whose boat we stole.” Jace sat up, tugging his shirt down. “And
he’s about to call the police.”


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