Monday, 18 February 2013

City of Lost Souls - Chapter 7

Clary was on her third cup of coffee at Taki’s when Simon finally walked in. He was in
jeans, a red zip-up sweatshirt (why bother with wool coats when you didn’t feel the
cold?), and engineer boots. People turned to look at him as he wove his way through the
tables toward her. Simon had cleaned up nicely since Isabelle had started getting on his
case about his clothes, Clary thought as he headed toward her among the tables. There
were flakes of snow caught in his dark hair, but where Alec’s cheeks had been scarlet
from the cold, Simon’s remained colorless and pale. He slid into the booth across from her
and looked at her, his dark eyes reflective and shining.
“You called?” he asked, making his voice deep and resonant so that he sounded like
Count Dracula.
“Technically, I texted.” She slid the menu across the table toward him, flipping it to the
page for vampires. She’d glanced at it before, but the thought of blood pudding and blood
milk shakes made her shudder. “I hope I didn’t wake you up.”
“Oh, no,” he said. “You wouldn’t believe where I was…” His voice trailed off as he saw
the expression on her face. “Hey.” His fingers were suddenly under her chin, lifting her
head. The laughter was gone from his eyes, replaced by concern. “What happened? Is
there more news about Jace?”
“Do you know what you want?” It was Kaelie, the blue-eyed faerie waitress who had
given Clary the Queen’s bell. She looked at Clary now and grinned, a superior grin that
made Clary grit her teeth.
Clary ordered a piece of apple pie; Simon ordered a mix of hot chocolate and blood.
Kaelie took the menus away, and Simon looked at Clary with concern. She took a deep
breath and told him about the night, every gritty detail—Jace’s appearance, what he had
said to her, the confrontation in the living room, and what had happened to Luke. She
told him what Magnus had said about dimensional pockets and other worlds, and how
there was no way to track someone hidden in a dimensional pocket or get a message
through to them. Simon’s eyes grew darker as she spoke, and by the end of the story, he
had his head in his hands.
“Simon?” Kaelie had come and gone, leaving their food, which was untouched. Clary
touched his shoulder. “What is it? Is it Luke—”
“It’s my fault.” He looked up at her, eyes dry. Vampires cried tears mixed with blood,
she thought; she had read that somewhere. “If I hadn’t bitten Sebastian…”
“You did it for me. So I’d live.” Her voice was gentle. “You saved my life.”
“You’ve saved mine six or seven times. It seemed fair.” His voice cracked; she recalled
him retching up Sebastian’s black blood, on his knees in the roof garden.
“Assigning blame doesn’t get us anywhere,” Clary said. “And this isn’t why I dragged
you here, just to tell you what happened. I mean, I would have told you anyway, but I
would have waited for tomorrow if it weren’t that…”
He looked at her warily and took a sip from his mug. “Weren’t that what?”
“I have a plan.”
He groaned. “I was afraid of that.”
“My plans are not terrible.”
“Isabelle’s plans are terrible.” He pointed a finger at her. “ Your plans are suicidal. At
She sat back, her arms crossed over her chest. “Do you want to hear it or not? You
have to keep it a secret.”
“I would pluck out my own eyes with a fork before I would give away your secrets,”
Simon said, then looked anxious. “Wait a second. Do you think that’s likely to be
“I don’t know.” Clary covered her face with her hands.
“Just tell me.” He sounded resigned.
With a sigh she reached into her pocket and drew out a small velvet bag, which she
upended on the table. Two gold rings fell out, landing with a soft clink.
Simon looked at them, puzzled. “You want to get married?”
“Don’t be an idiot.” She leaned forward, dropping her voice. “Simon, these are the
rings. The ones the Seelie Queen wanted.”
“I thought you said you never got them—” He broke off, raising his eyes to her face.
“I lied. I did take them. But after I saw Jace in the library, I didn’t want to give them to
the Queen anymore. I had a feeling we might need them sometime. And I realized she
was never going to give us any useful information. The rings seemed more valuable than
another round with the Queen.”
Simon caught them up in his hand, hiding them from sight as Kaelie passed by. “Clary,
you can’t just take things the Seelie Queen wants and keep them for yourself. She’s a
very dangerous enemy to have.”
She looked at him pleadingly. “Can we at least see if they work?”
He sighed and handed her one of the rings; it felt light but was as soft as real gold. She
worried for a moment that it wouldn’t fit, but as soon as she slipped it onto her right
index finger, it seemed to mold to the shape of her finger, until it sat perfectly in the
space below her knuckle. She saw Simon glancing down at his right hand, and realized
the same thing had happened to him.
“Now we talk, I guess,” he said. “Say something to me. You know, mentally.”
Clary turned to Simon, feeling absurdly as if she were being asked to perform in a play
whose lines she hadn’t memorized. Simon?
Simon blinked. “I think—Could you do that again?”
This time Clary concentrated, trying to focus her mind on Simon—the Simon-ness of
him, the shape of the way he thought, the feeling of hearing his voice, the sense of him
close. His whispers, his secrets, the way he made her laugh. So, she thought
conversationally, now that I’m in your mind, want to see some naked mental pictures of
Simon jumped. “I heard that! And, no.”
Excitement fizzed in Clary’s veins; it was working. “Think something back to me.”
It took less than a second. She heard Simon, the way she heard Brother Zachariah, a
voice without sound inside her mind. You’ve seen him naked?
Well, not entirely. But I—
“Enough,” he said out loud, and though his voice was caught between amusement and
anxiety, his eyes sparked. “They work. Holy crap. They really work.”
She leaned forward. “So can I tell you my idea?”
He touched the ring on his finger, feeling its delicate tracery, the leaf-veins carved
under his fingertips. Sure.
She began to explain, but she hadn’t yet reached the end of her description when
Simon interrupted, out loud this time. “No. Absolutely not.”
“Simon,” she said. “It’s a perfectly fine plan.”
“The plan where you follow Jace and Sebastian off to some unknown dimensional
pocket and we use these rings to communicate so those of us over here in the regular
dimension of Earth can track you down? That plan?”
“No,” he said. “No, it isn’t.”
Clary sat back. “You don’t just get to say no.”
“This plan involves me! I get to say no! No.”
Simon patted the seat beside him as if someone were sitting there. “Let me introduce
you to my good friend No.”
“Maybe we can compromise,” she suggested, taking a bite of pie.
“‘No’ is a magical word,” he told her. “Here’s how it goes. You say, ‘Simon, I have an
insane, suicidal plan. Would you like to help me carry it out?’ And I say, ‘Why, no.’”
“I’ll do it anyway,” she said.
He stared at her across the table. “What?”
“I’ll do it whether you help me or not,” she said. “If I can’t use the rings, I’ll still follow
Jace to wherever he is and try to get word back to you guys by sneaking away, finding
telephones, whatever. If it’s possible. I’m going to do it, Simon. I just have a better
chance of surviving if you help me. And there’s no risk to you.”
“ I don’t care about risk to me,” he hissed, leaning forward across the table. “I care
about what happens to you! Dammit, I’m practically indestructible. Let me go. You stay
“Yes,” Clary said, “Jace won’t find that odd at all. You can just tell him you’ve always
been secretly in love with him and you can’t stand being parted.”
“I could tell him I’ve given it thought and I completely agree with his and Sebastian’s
philosophy and decided to throw in my lot with theirs.”
“You don’t even know what their philosophy is.”
“There is that. I might have better luck telling him I’m in love with him. Jace thinks
everyone’s in love with him anyway.”
“But I,” said Clary, “actually am.”
Simon looked at her for a long time over the table, silently. “You’re serious,” he said
finally. “You’d actually do this. Without me—without any safety net.”
“There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for Jace.”
Simon leaned his head back against the plastic booth seat. The Mark of Cain glowed a
gentle silver against his skin. “Don’t say that,” he said.
“Wouldn’t you do anything for the people you love?”
“I’d do almost anything for you,” Simon said quietly. “I’d die for you. You know that. But
would I kill someone else, someone innocent? What about a lot of innocent lives? What
about the whole world? Is it really love to tell someone that if it came down to picking
between them and every other life on the planet, you’d pick them? Is that—I don’t know,
is that a moral sort of love at all?”
“Love isn’t moral or immoral,” said Clary. “It just is.”
“I know,” Simon said. “But the actions we take in the name of love, those are moral or
immoral. And normally it wouldn’t matter. Normally—whatever I think of Jace being
annoying—he’d never ask you to do anything that went against your nature. Not for him,
not for anyone. But he isn’t exactly Jace anymore, is he? And I just don’t know, Clary. I
don’t know what he might ask you to do.”
Clary leaned her elbow on the table, suddenly very tired. “Maybe he isn’t Jace. But he’s
the closest thing to Jace I’ve got. There’s no way back to Jace without him.” She raised
her eyes to Simon’s. “Or are you telling me it’s hopeless?”
There was a long silence. Clary could see Simon’s innate honesty warring with his
desire to protect his best friend. Finally he said, “I’d never say that. I’m still Jewish, you
know, even if I am a vampire. In my heart I remember and believe, even the words I
can’t say. G—” He choked and swallowed. “He made a covenant with us, just like the
Shadowhunters believe Raziel made a covenant with them. And we believe in his
promises. Therefore you can never lose hope—hatikva—because if you keep hope alive, it
will keep you alive.” He looked faintly embarrassed. “My rabbi used to say that.”
Clary slid her hand across the table and laid it atop Simon’s. He rarely talked about his
religion with her or anyone, though she knew he believed. “Does that mean you agree?”
He groaned. “I think it means you crushed my spirit and beat me down.”
“Of course you realize you’re leaving me in the position of being the one to tell
everyone—your mother, Luke, Alec, Izzy, Magnus…”
“I guess I shouldn’t have said there would be no risk to you,” Clary said meekly.
“That’s right,” said Simon. “Just remember, when your mother’s gnawing my ankle like
a furious mama bear separated from her cub, I did it for you.”
Jordan had only just fallen back asleep when the banging on the front door came again.
He rolled over and groaned. The clock by the bed said 4:00 a.m. in blinking yellow
More banging. Jordan rolled reluctantly to his feet, dragged on his jeans, and staggered
out into the hallway. Blearily he jerked the door open. “Look—”
The words died on his lips. Standing in the hallway was Maia. She was wearing jeans
and a caramel-colored leather jacket, and her hair was pulled up behind her head with
bronze chopsticks. A single loose curl fell against her temple. Jordan’s fingers itched to
reach out and tuck it behind her ear. Instead he jammed his hands into the pockets of his
“Nice shirt,” she said with a dry glance at his bare chest. There was a backpack slung
over one of her shoulders. For a moment his heart jumped. Was she leaving town? Was
she leaving town to get away from him? “Look, Jordan—”
“Who is it?” The voice behind Jordan was husky, as rumpled as the bed she’d probably
just climbed out of. He saw Maia’s mouth drop open, and he looked back over his
shoulder to see Isabelle, wearing only one of Simon’s T-shirts, standing behind him and
rubbing at her eyes.
Maia’s mouth snapped shut. “It’s me,” she said in a not particularly friendly tone. “Are
you… visiting Simon?”
“What? No, Simon’s not here.” Shut up, Isabelle, Jordan thought frantically. “He’s…”
She gestured vaguely. “Out.”
Maia’s cheeks reddened. “It smells like a bar in here.”
“Jordan’s cheap tequila,” said Isabelle with a wave of her hand. “You know…”
“Is that his shirt, too?” Maia inquired.
Isabelle glanced down at herself, and then back up at Maia. Belatedly she seemed to
realize what the other girl was thinking. “Oh. No. Maia—”
“So first Simon cheated on me with you, and now you and Jordan—”
“Simon,” Isabelle said, “also cheated on me with you. Anyway, nothing’s going on with
me and Jordan. I came over to see Simon, but he wasn’t here so I decided to crash in his
room. And I’m going back in there now.”
“No,” Maia said sharply. “Don’t. Forget about Simon and Jordan. What I have to say, it’s
something you need to hear too.”
Isabelle froze, one hand on Simon’s door, her sleep-flushed face slowly paling. “Jace,”
she said. “Is that why you’re here?”
Maia nodded.
Isabelle sagged against the door. “Is he—” Her voice cracked. She started again. “Have
they found—”
“He came back,” said Maia. “For Clary.” She paused. “He had Sebastian with him. There
was a fight, and Luke was injured. He’s dying.”
Isabelle made a dry little sound in her throat. “Jace? Jace hurt Luke?”
Maia avoided her eyes. “I don’t know what happened exactly. Only that Jace and
Sebastian came for Clary, and there was a fight. Luke was hurt.”
“Is all right. She’s at Magnus’s with her mother.” Maia turned to Jordan. “Magnus called
me and asked me to come and see you. He tried to reach you, but he couldn’t. He wants
you to put him in touch with the Praetor Lupus.”
“Put him in touch with…” Jordan shook his head. “You can’t just call the Praetor. It’s not
like 1-800-WEREWOLF.”
Maia crossed her arms. “Well, how do you reach them, then?”
“I have a supervisor. He reaches me when he wants to, or I can call on him in an
“This is an emergency.” Maia hooked her thumbs through the belt loops on her jeans.
“Luke could die, and Magnus says the Praetor might have information that could help.”
She looked at Jordan, her eyes big and dark. He ought to tell her, he thought. That the
Praetor didn’t like getting mixed up in affairs of the Clave; that they kept to themselves
and their mission—to help new Downworlders. That there was no guarantee they would
agree to help, and every likelihood that they would resent the request.
But Maia was asking him. This was something he could do for her that might be a step
down the long road of making it up to her for what he’d done before.
“Okay,” he said. “Then, we go to their headquarters and present ourselves in person.
They’re out on the North Fork of Long Island. Pretty far from anywhere. We can take my
“Fine.” Maia hoisted her backpack higher. “I thought we might have to go somewhere;
that’s why I brought my stuff.”
“Maia.” It was Isabelle. She hadn’t said anything in so long that Jordan had almost
forgotten she was there; he turned and saw her leaning against the wall by Simon’s door.
She was hugging herself as if she were cold. “Is he all right?”
Maia winced. “Luke? No, he—”
“Jace.” Isabelle’s voice was an indrawn breath. “Is Jace all right? Did they hurt him or
catch him or—”
“He’s fine,” Maia said flatly. “And he’s gone. He disappeared with Sebastian.”
“And Simon?” Isabelle’s gaze flicked to Jordan. “You said he was with Clary—”
Maia shook her head. “He wasn’t. He wasn’t there.” Her hand was tight on the strap of
her backpack. “But there’s one thing we know now, and you’re not going to like it. Jace
and Sebastian are connected somehow. Hurt Jace, you hurt Sebastian. Kill him, and
Sebastian dies. And vice versa. Straight from Magnus.”
“Does the Clave know?” Isabelle demanded instantly. “They didn’t tell the Clave, did
Maia shook her head. “Not yet.”
“They’ll find out,” said Isabelle. “The whole pack knows. Someone will tell. Then it’ll be
a manhunt. They’ll kill him just to kill Sebastian. They’ll kill him anyway.” She reached up
and pushed her hands through her thick black hair. “I want my brother,” she said. “I want
to see Alec.”
“Well, that’s good,” Maia said. “Because after Magnus called me, he sent a follow-up
text. He said he had a feeling you’d be here, and he had a message for you. He wants
you to go to his apartment in Brooklyn, right away.”
It was freezing out, so cold that even the thermis rune she’d put on herself—and the thin
parka she’d swiped from Simon’s closet—weren’t doing much to keep Isabelle from
shivering as she pushed open the door of Magnus’s apartment building and ducked inside.
After being buzzed up, she headed up the stairs, trailing her hand along the splintering
banister. Part of her wanted to rush up the steps, knowing Alec was there and would
understand what she was feeling. The other part of her, the part that had hidden her
parents’ secret from her brothers all her life, wanted to curl up on the landing and be
alone with her misery. The part that hated relying on anyone else—because wouldn’t they
just let you down?—and was proud to say that Isabelle Lightwood didn’t need anyone
reminded herself that she was here because they had asked for her. They needed her.
Isabelle didn’t mind being needed. Liked it, in fact. It was why it had taken her longer
to warm up to Jace when he had first stepped through the Portal from Idris, a thin tenyear-
old boy with haunted pale gold eyes. Alec had been delighted with him immediately,
but Isabelle had resented his self-possession. When her mother had told her that Jace’s
father had been murdered in front of him, she’d imagined him coming to her tearfully, for
comfort and even advice. But he hadn’t seemed to need anyone. Even at ten years old
he’d had a sharp, defensive wit and an acidic temperament. In fact, Isabelle had thought,
dismayed, that he was just like her.
In the end it was Shadowhunting they had bonded over—a shared love of sharp-edged
weapons, gleaming seraph blades, the painful pleasure of burning Marks, the thoughtnumbing
swiftness of battle. When Alec had wanted to go out hunting alone with Jace,
leaving Izzy behind, Jace had spoken up for her: “We need her with us; she’s the best
there is. Aside from me, of course.”
She had loved him just for that.
She was at the front door of Magnus’s apartment now. Light poured through the crack
under the door, and she heard murmuring voices. She pushed the door open, and a wave
of warmth enveloped her. She stepped gratefully forward.
The warmth came from a fire leaping in the grated fireplace—though there were no
chimneys in the building, and the fire had the blue-green tinge of enchanted flame.
Magnus and Alec sat on one of the couches grouped near the fireplace. As she came in,
Alec looked up and saw her, and sprang to his feet, hurrying barefoot across the room—
he was wearing black sweatpants and a white T-shirt with a torn collar—to put his arms
around her.
For a moment she stood still in the circle of his arms, hearing his heartbeat, his hands
patting half-awkwardly up and down her back, her hair. “Iz,” he said. “It’s going to be
okay, Izzy.”
She pushed away from him, wiping at her eyes. God, she hated crying. “How can you
say that?” she snapped. “How can anything possibly be okay after this?”
“Izzy.” Alec drew his sister’s hair over one shoulder and tugged gently at it. It reminded
her of the years when she used to wear her hair in braids and Alec would yank on them,
with considerably less gentleness than he was showing now. “Don’t go to pieces. We
need you.” He dropped his voice. “Also, did you know you smell like tequila?”
She looked over at Magnus, who was watching them from the sofa with his unreadable
cat’s eyes. “Where’s Clary?” she said. “And her mother? I thought they were here.”
“Asleep,” said Alec. “We thought they needed a rest.”
“And I don’t?”
“Did you just see your fiancé or your stepfather nearly murdered in front of your eyes?”
Magnus inquired dryly. He was wearing striped pajamas with a black silk dressing gown
thrown over them. “Isabelle Lightwood,” he said, sitting up and loosely clasping his hands
in front of him. “As Alec said, we need you.”
Isabelle straightened up, putting her shoulders back. “Need me for what?”
“To go to the Iron Sisters,” said Alec. “We need a weapon that will divide Jace and
Sebastian so that they can be hurt separately—Well, you know what I mean. So
Sebastian can be killed without hurting Jace. And it’s a matter of time before the Clave
knows that Jace isn’t Sebastian’s prisoner, that he’s working with him—”
“It’s not Jace,” Isabelle protested.
“It may not be Jace,” said Magnus, “but if he dies, your Jace dies right along with him.”
“As you know, the Iron Sisters will speak only to women,” said Alec. “And Jocelyn can’t
go alone because she isn’t a Shadowhunter anymore.”
“What about Clary?”
“She’s still in training. She won’t know the right questions to ask or the way to address
them. But you and Jocelyn will. And Jocelyn says she’s been there before; she can help
guide you once we Portal you to the edge of the wards around the Adamant Citadel.
You’ll be going, both of you, in the morning.”
Isabelle considered it. The idea of finally having something to do, something definite
and active and important, was a relief. She would have preferred a task that had
something to do with killing demons or chopping off Sebastian’s legs, but this was better
than nothing. The legends surrounding the Adamant Citadel made it sound like a
forbidding, distant place, and the Iron Sisters were seen far more rarely than the Silent
Brothers. Isabelle had never met one.
“When do we leave?” she said.
Alec smiled for the first time since she’d arrived, and reached to ruffle her hair. “That’s
my Isabelle.”
“Quit it.” She ducked out from his reach and saw Magnus grinning at them from the
sofa. He levered himself up and ran a hand through his already explosively spiky black
“I’ve got three spare rooms,” he said. “Clary’s in one; her mother’s in the other. I’ll
show you the third.”
The rooms all branched off a narrow, windowless hallway that led from the living room.
Two of the doors were closed; Magnus drew Isabelle through the third, into a room
whose walls were painted hot-pink. Black curtains hung from silver bars over the
windows, secured by handcuffs. The bedspread had a print of dark red hearts on it.
Isabelle glanced around. She felt jittery and nervous and not in the least like going to
sleep. “Nice handcuffs. I can see why you didn’t put Jocelyn in here.”
“I needed something to hold the curtains back.” Magnus shrugged. “Do you have
anything to sleep in?”
Isabelle just nodded, not wanting to admit she’d brought Simon’s shirt with her from his
apartment. Vampires didn’t really smell like anything, but the shirt still carried with it the
faint, reassuring scent of his laundry soap. “It’s kind of weird,” she said. “You demanding I
come over right away, only to put me to bed and tell me we’re getting started tomorrow.”
Magnus leaned against the wall by the door, his arms over his chest, and looked at her
through slitted cat eyes. For a moment he reminded her of Church, only less likely to bite.
“I love your brother,” he said. “You know that, right?”
“If you want my permission to marry him, go right ahead,” said Isabelle. “Autumn’s a
nice time for it too. You could wear an orange tux.”
“He isn’t happy,” said Magnus, as if she hadn’t spoken.
“Of course he isn’t,” Isabelle snapped. “Jace—”
“Jace,” said Magnus, and his hands made fists at his sides. Isabelle stared at him. She
had always thought that he didn’t mind Jace; liked him, even, once the question of Alec’s
affections had been settled.
Out loud, she said, “I thought you and Jace were friends.”
“It’s not that,” said Magnus. “There are some people—people the universe seems to
have singled out for special destinies. Special favors and special torments. God knows
we’re all drawn toward what’s beautiful and broken; I have been, but some people cannot
be fixed. Or if they can be, it’s only by love and sacrifice so great that it destroys the
Isabelle shook her head slowly. “You’ve lost me. Jace is our brother, but for Alec—He’s
Jace’s parabatai, too.”
“I know about parabatai,” said Magnus. “I’ve known parabatai so close they were
almost the same person. Do you know what happens, when one of them dies, to the one
who’s left—”
“Stop it!” Isabelle clapped her hands over her ears, then lowered them slowly. “How
dare you, Magnus Bane?” she said. “How dare you make this worse than it is.”
“Isabelle.” Magnus’s hands loosened; he looked a little wide-eyed, as if his outburst had
startled even him. “I am sorry. I forget, sometimes… that with all your self-control and
strength, you possess the same vulnerability that Alec does.”
“There is nothing weak about Alec,” said Isabelle.
“No,” said Magnus. “To love as you choose, that takes strength. The thing is, I wanted
you here for him. There are things I can’t do for him, can’t give him.” For a moment
Magnus looked oddly vulnerable himself. “You have known Jace as long as he has. You
can give him understanding I can’t. And he loves you.”
“Of course he loves me. I’m his sister.”
“Blood isn’t love,” said Magnus, and his voice was bitter. “Just ask Clary.”
Clary shot through the Portal as if through the barrel of a rifle and flew out the other end.
She tumbled toward the ground and struck hard on her feet, sticking the landing at first.
The pose lasted only a moment before, too dizzy from the Portal to concentrate, she
overbalanced and hit the ground, her backpack cushioning her fall. She sighed—someday
all the training really would kick in—and got to her feet, brushing dust from the seat of
her jeans.
She was standing in front of Luke’s house. The river sparkled over her shoulder, the city
rising behind it like a forest of lights. Luke’s house was just as they had left it, hours ago,
locked and dark. Clary, standing on the dirt and stone path that led up to the front steps,
swallowed hard.
Slowly she touched the ring on her right hand with the fingers of her left. Simon?
The reply came immediately. Yeah?
Where are you?
Walking toward the subway. Did you Portal home?
Luke’s. If Jace comes like I think he will, this is where he’ll come to.
A silence. Then, Well, I guess you know how to get me if you need me.
I guess I do. Clary took a deep breath. Simon?
I love you.
A pause. I love you, too.
And that was all. There was no click, as when you hung up a phone; Clary just sensed a
severing of their connection, as if a cord had been cut inside her head. She wondered if
this was what Alec meant when he talked about the breaking of the parabatai bond.
She moved toward Luke’s house and slowly mounted the stairs. This was her home. If
Jace was going to come back for her, as he had mouthed to her that he would, this is
where he would come. She sat down on the top step, pulled her backpack onto her lap,
and waited.
Simon stood in front of the refrigerator in his apartment and took a last swallow of cold
blood as the memory of Clary’s silent voice faded out of his mind. He had just gotten
home, and the apartment was dark, the hum of the refrigerator loud, and the place
smelled oddly of—tequila? Maybe Jordan had been drinking. His bedroom door was
closed, anyway, not that Simon blamed him for being asleep; it was after four in the
He shoved the bottle back into the fridge and headed for his room. It would be the first
night he’d slept at home in a week. He’d grown used to having someone to share a bed
with, a body to roll against in the middle of the night. He liked the way Clary fit against
him, curled asleep with her head on her hand; and, if he had to admit it to himself, he
liked that she couldn’t sleep unless he was with her. It made him feel indispensable and
needed—even if the fact that Jocelyn didn’t appear to care whether he slept in her
daughter’s bed or not did underscore that Clary’s mother apparently regarded him as
about as sexually threatening as a goldfish.
Of course, he and Clary had shared beds often, from the time they were five until they
were about twelve. That might have had something to do with it, he mused, pushing his
bedroom door open. Most of those nights they’d spent engaged in torrid activities, like
having contests to see who could take the longest to eat a single Reese’s Peanut Butter
Cup. Or they’d sneaked in a portable DVD player and—
He blinked. His room looked the same—bare walls, stacked plastic shelves with his
clothes on them, his guitar hanging on the wall, and a mattress on the floor. But on the
bed was a single piece of paper—a white square against the frayed black blanket. The
scrawled, looping hand was familiar. Isabelle’s.
He picked it up and read:
Simon, I’ve been trying to call you, but it seems like your phone is turned off. I
don’t know where you are right now. I don’t know if Clary’s already told you what
happened tonight. But I have to go to Magnus’s and I’d really like you to be there.
I’m never scared, but I’m scared for Jace. I’m scared for my brother. I never ask
you for anything, Simon, but I’m asking you now. Please come.
Simon let the letter fall from his hand. He was out of the apartment and on his way
down the steps before it had even hit the floor.
When Simon came into Magnus’s apartment, it was quiet. There was a fire flickering in
the grate, and Magnus sat in front of it on an overstuffed sofa, his feet up on the coffee
table. Alec was asleep, his head in Magnus’s lap, and Magnus was twirling strands of
Alec’s black hair between his fingers. The warlock’s gaze, on the flames, was remote and
distant, as if he were looking back into the past. Simon couldn’t help but remember what
Magnus had said to him once, about living forever:
Someday you and I will be the only two left.
Simon shuddered, and Magnus looked up. “Isabelle called you over, I know.” he said,
speaking in a low voice so as not to wake Alec. “She’s down the hall that way—the first
bedroom on the left.”
Simon nodded and, with a salute in Magnus’s direction, headed off down the hall. He
felt unusually nervous, as if he were prepping for a first date. Isabelle, to his recollection,
had never demanded his help or his presence before, had never acknowledged that she
needed him in any way.
He pushed open the door to the first bedroom on the left and stepped inside. It was
dark, the lights off; if Simon hadn’t had vampire sight, he probably would have seen only
blackness. As it was, he saw the outlines of a wardrobe, chairs with clothes thrown over
them, and a bed, covers thrown back. Isabelle was asleep on her side, her black hair
fanning out across the pillow.
Simon stared. He’d never seen Isabelle sleeping before. She looked younger than she
usually did, her face relaxed, her long eyelashes brushing the tops of her cheekbones. Her
mouth was slightly open, her feet curled up under her. She was wearing only a T-shirt
—his T-shirt, a worn blue tee that said THE LOCH NESS MONSTER ADVENTURE CLUB: FINDING
ANSWERS, IGNORING FACTS across the front.
Simon closed the door behind him, feeling more disappointed than he had expected. It
hadn’t occurred to him that she’d already be asleep. He’d been wanting to talk to her, to
hear her voice. He kicked his shoes off and lay down beside her. She certainly took up
more real estate on the bed than Clary did. Isabelle was tall, almost his height, although
when he put his hand on her shoulder, her bones felt delicate under his touch. He ran his
hand down her arm. “Iz?” he said. “Isabelle?”
She murmured and turned her face into the pillow. He leaned closer—she smelled like
alcohol and rose perfume. Well, that answered that. He had been thinking about pulling
her into his arms and kissing her gently, but “Simon Lewis, Molester of Passed-Out
Women” wasn’t really the epitaph by which he wanted to be remembered.
He lay down flat on his back and stared at the ceiling. Cracked plaster, marked by
water stains. Magnus really ought to get someone in here to do something about that. As
if sensing his presence, Isabelle rolled sideways against him, her soft cheek against his
shoulder. “Simon?” she said groggily.
“Yeah.” He touched her face lightly.
“You came.” She stretched her arm across his chest, moving so that her head fit
against his shoulder. “I didn’t think you would.”
His fingers traced patterns on her arm. “Of course I came.”
Her next words were muffled against his neck. “Sorry I’m asleep.”
He smiled to himself, a little, in the dark. “It’s okay. Even if all you wanted was for me
to come here and hold you while you sleep, I would have done it.”
He felt her stiffen, and then relax. “Simon?”
“Can you tell me a story?”
He blinked. “What kind of story?”
“Something where the good guys win and the bad guys lose. And stay dead.”
“So, like a fairy tale?” he said. He racked his brain. He knew only the Disney versions of
fairy tales, and the first image that came to mind was Ariel in her seashell bra. He’d had a
crush on her when he was eight. Not that this seemed like the time to mention it.
“No.” The word was an exhaled breath. “We study fairy tales in school. A lot of that
magic is real—but, anyway. No, I want something I haven’t heard yet.”
“Okay. I’ve got a good one.” Simon stroked Isabelle’s hair, feeling her lashes flutter
against his neck as she closed her eyes. “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”
Clary didn’t know how long she’d been sitting on Luke’s front steps when the sun began to
come up. It rose behind his house, the sky turning a dark pinkish-rose, the river a strip of
steely blue. She was shivering, had been shivering so long that her whole body seemed
to have contracted into a single hard shudder of cold. She had used two warming runes,
but they hadn’t helped; she had a feeling the shivering was psychological as much as
anything else.
Would he come? If he was still as much Jace inside as she thought he was, he would;
when he had mouthed that he would come back for her, she had known that he had
meant as soon as possible. Jace was not patient. And he didn’t play games.
But there was only so long she could wait. Eventually the sun would rise. The next day
would begin, and her mother would be watching her again. She would have to give up on
Jace, for at least another day, if not longer.
She shut her eyes against the brightness of the sunrise, resting her elbows on the step
above and behind her. For just a moment she let herself float in the fantasy that
everything was as it had been, that nothing had changed, that she would meet Jace this
afternoon for practice, or tonight for dinner, and he would hold her and make her laugh
the way he always did.
Warm tendrils of sunlight touched her face. Reluctantly her eyes fluttered open.
And he was there, walking toward her up the steps, as soundless as a cat, as always.
He wore a dark blue sweater that made his hair look like sunlight. She sat up straight, her
heart pounding. The brilliant sunshine seemed to outline him in light. She thought of that
night in Idris, how the fireworks had streaked across the sky and she had thought of
angels, falling in fire.
He reached her and held his hands out; she took them, and let him pull her to her feet.
His pale gold eyes searched her face. “I wasn’t sure you’d be here.”
“Since when have you not been sure of me?”
“You were pretty angry before.” He cupped the side of her face in his hand. There was
a rough scar across his palm; she could feel it against her skin.
“So if I hadn’t been here, what would you have done?”
He drew her close. He was shivering too, and the wind was blowing his curling hair,
messy and bright. “How is Luke?”
At the sound of Luke’s name, another shudder went through her. Jace, thinking she was
cold, pulled her more tightly against him. “He’ll be all right,” she said guardedly. It’s your
fault, your fault, your fault.
“I never meant for him to get hurt.” Jace’s arms were around her, his fingers tracing a
slow line up and down her spine. “Do you believe me?”
“Jace… ,” Clary said. “Why are you here?”
“To ask you again. To come with me.”
She closed her eyes. “And you won’t tell me where that is?”
“Faith,” he said softly. “You have to have faith. But you also have to know—once you
come with me, there’s no going back. Not for a long time.”
She thought of the moment when she’d stepped outside of Java Jones and seen him
waiting for her there. Her life had changed in that moment in a way that could never be
“There never has been any going back,” she said. “Not with you.” She opened her eyes.
“We should go.”
He smiled, as brilliant as the sun coming out from behind the clouds, and she felt his
body relax. “You’re sure?”
“I’m sure.”
He leaned forward and kissed her. Reaching up to hold him, she tasted something
bitter on his lips; then darkness came down like a curtain signaling the end of the act of a


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