A/N: And here we have, folks, the very last chapter. Please enjoy.
Three months later, Simon and Isabelle married. For the next year or so, their lives continued much as before, with Isabelle jetting off to some far-flung corner of the Earth every few weeks, and Simon waiting patiently behind. She made an effort to keep the trips as short and as infrequent as possible, and Simon always made sure to make a big deal of welcoming her home.
Then, less than two years into their marriage, Isabelle gave birth to a son. He had brown eyes, and a mop of dark hair. They called him Max, of course, and Isabelle never went away again. Her life revolved around him. She lived and breathed her child, and surprised everyone by turning overnight into supermom- although she still wore heels as she ran around the house.
Despite Clary's instance that Jace never, ever get her pregnant again -a request perhaps born in fear of what other powers their children could possess- two months after Max was born came his cousin, Henry, a beautiful boy with Clary's bright green eyes and Jace's hair. From an early age, he was much quieter than his sister, but he learnt to walk as soon as possible just to run around after her. They were rarely apart before one would seek out the other, Henry following Adie into mischief.
She drew runes from the moment she could hold a crayon. For a long time, Clary would freak every time she saw one, folding it away and sending it to Magnus and Tessa for analysis, but they were never decipherable. Eventually, she stopped worrying. Adie's powers -and Henry's- would become clear in time. She wasn't going to miss them growing up in the meanwhile.
Max fit in perfectly with the two of them, and whenever they were all in the same room -frequently- they would play around like puppies. Adie always got into less trouble when Max was around, as if her rumbustious behaviour was finally balanced by the two precocious toddlers that followed her everywhere.
Time passed. Alec and Magnus married, which surprised no one, and there was even talk of them adopting a warlock child together. "As soon as an attractive one presents itself" Magnus would say. "Somebody really ought to set up an agency." Adie, Max and Henry were soon joined by Liora. Isabelle and Simon's daughter, who looked so much like her brother that in a few years, people would be thinking they were twins.
There were times when Isabelle made one of her rare trips out of Idris, and Jace was off as well, that Simon would bring the children over to the Manor and let them play until they literally fell asleep in a pile. He and Clary would move the older ones upstairs to the nursery, and then tip-toe back down to watch sci-fi and chat about old times, nothing changed but the sleeping infant in Simon's arms. For years, Clary rarely saw him without a baby nestled about his person, hers or his. Then again, Jace wasn't much better. No matter how much they cried, or how tired he was, he never lost his temper, even if he came to bed to exhausted to pull of his clothes. Clary always had to be bad cop. If he ever referred to them as "little terrors" he was being untruthful. Jace adored those children.
"This is the nearest I come to remembering what life was like before I had them," she admitted to Simon one evening, while he was bottle-feeding Liora, the others asleep upstairs.
Simon grinned wearily. "Parenthood is weird," he said.
"You can say that again. All that stuff before -that really serious, life-threatening stuff-"
"Doesn't seem to matter any more?"
"Yup." Clary wished she had both her babies sleeping in her arms at that moment. "It's like my life began when I had them. I'm a walking ball of parental clichés."
"And you wouldn't change it for the world."
A few minutes later, the other children appeared at the foot of the stars. They toddled over towards the couch, squeezing in between the adults, utterly uncaring as to where their limbs were going or which person they were clinging to. Clary ended up with Adie and Max, while Henry was crammed into the tiny space between Simon's legs and Max's.
Simon leaned across at Clary and beamed. "Life is weird," he said.
Five years later, Tessa and Jem stood outside the Herondale Manor. It was Adeline Herondale's fifth birthday. Clary and Jace were having a party for her. Jocelyn and Fleecy were setting up the table, Jace and Luke stringing banners on the trees, while Adie ran around the garden in paint-splattered dungarees, following by her brother and little Max Lightwood. Isabelle was sitting in the shade with Liora bouncing on her lap, her dark hair being pulled into pigtails. Alec and Magnus arrived, carrying the largest birthday present imaginable.
There was a tug on Tessa's skirt.
"Why are we waiting, Mommy?"
William Carstairs, four years old, scowled at her with slanted eyes. His father grinned, picked him up, and took Tessa's hand.
"Yes, why are we waiting, Mommy?"
"I'm having a strange sense of deja vu," she said, "I've been here before, among Lightwoods and Fairchilds and Herondales. I didn't think to be here again."
She had been there, through the years, in the background at each wedding, quietly in the corner at each naming. She did not like to wander long. If she stayed too long, it felt like she would stick, and it would hurt to pull away.
True to her word, she had told Jace her past, about his family. Her family. She had seen them more often. Just not too often. Not too often to feel like a fixture. Not until she was sure she could handle it, staying with them till the end.
Tessa's eyes wandered to Adie and her brother, who were scribbling things in the sand pit. She had kept her eye on Adie in particular, through the years. Keeping her safe from others who had heard what Malock had, and keeping her close just in case... in case she held something that could help Tessa.
She could be patient. She could wait until the end of time, but one day she was going to follow Jem and Will, and all the others. One day she would not be left behind.
But that was the future, and Tessa's present was bright and warm, and worth whatever price she'd have to pay. She was a mother again -well, she'd always been a mother, although having a child made a beautiful difference- and that was worth everything.
"Come on," said Jem, squeezing her hand tightly, "everyone's here."
A still summer breeze passed through the garden. This had been her son's home, once upon a time. She watched her grandchildren play in the garden, Will by her side. Her nieces and nephews had been here, their children too.
A breeze turned to a wind.
"Mommy!" Will said indignantly.
With Will by her side.
Tessa smiled as the sun came out again, watching Jace Herondale swing both children into his arms, watching Isabelle Lightwood fuss with her toddler's hair, Alec and Magnus smiling fondly at them. She watched this new generation unfold, listen to the soft chant of the wind, and realised Jem was right.
A/N: ...and that was all she wrote.
Thank you all for your fabulous reviews during the writing of this story. It's meant a lot to me! I hope you enjoyed it.
The name "Liora" if anyone is interested, means "gift of light" and is Hebrew in origin. It seemed to fit. Henry is named after Henry Branwell; in my headcanon Tessa was telling Clary about her ancestors when Clary was pregnant with her second child, and the name clicked.
Please, if you've enjoyed reading this, head over to fictionpress and review my original work! Same name- just search Kitty Thomas!
Over and out.