A/N – AU: Clary has been sent from institute to institute her whole life to keep her away from Valentine. The newest institute is in New York City and she is happy to be re-united with the Lightwoods and another familiar face that she'd never thought she'd see again.
**WARNING: City of Glass spoilers and possible City of Heavenly Fire spoilers**

Hello and welcome to We Could Love! This is my newest Mortal Instruments fanfic, and my first with chapters! Also some great news: it's already complete, I just have to edit and pick chapters! I hope you enjoy this alternate story.

Disclaimer 1:

- Some background histories have changed

- Ages ranging 17-19 instead of 15-18

- I may have changed some shadow-hunter history and rules as well to make everything flow

Disclaimer 2:

The Mortal Instruments belongs only to the Queen, Ms. Cassandra Clare!

It's all just embarrassing; shipping your own daughter off to a city she's never been to in order to keep her away from your kind's greatest threat… who is also her dad. However, I didn't want to sound like some spoiled, ungrateful brat, so I've gone willingly to the New York Institute. They were kind enough to let me stay there until I'm re-located again.

Brother Zachariah met me outside the airport and took me to the New York Institute; Silent Brothers style. I could've gone through a portal, but I like to drag out my alone time as much as I can.

I wish that my mom could have come too. We both worry about each other, and our safety against Valentine while we're apart. But I was ensured this was the best way to do it – keep us apart and without contact.

The people around me are only there to ensure my safety; I'm not to leave the institute without Silent Brother Permission – although it's quite unlikely I'll ever bother with that. The Clave knows the least of all; they never know which institute I might be in at any given time. I've had too many near-death experiences because of The Clave somehow giving away my location to Valentine, so The Silent Brothers are my highest authority instead.

Plus, The Clave doesn't actually know why Valentine wants me in his ranks.

I know why, but I don't know how I got to be like I am.

I'm not all that frightened by it. I'm a shadow-hunter. I'm brave. My tutors have been telling me just that my whole life. I don't really see what the whole fuss is really about.

The ride to the Institute is smooth and easy. Brother Zachariah has always been the easiest Silent Brother to be around, I've noticed. Although, he still gives me the creeps like the rest of them.

"What's the next step from here?" I ask him, already knowing the answer.

You already know that, Clarissa, he replies in my head.

I smirk at him. "Alright, fine, I was just making conversation. It's not every day you get to sit in the presence of Brother Zachariah."

Clarissa. It sounds scolding.

I reply, "its Clary," and then shut up.

We pull up to the gates and I jump off the carriage. Suddenly, Brother Zachariah is beside me, reaching for the gate.

"What are you doing?"

Showing you in.

"Why?"

To introduce you to the shadow-hunters in residence. It almost sounds like a question.

I snort. "Don't worry, I'm fully capable. Thanks for the lift."

But your safety-

"Tell me, Silent Brother, do you foresee anything bad happening inside the New York Institute?" I ask in a mocking tone.

Clarissa, it is my job to deliver you safely… and you know that is not how the Silent Brothers work.

I roll my eyes. "Then wait out here and if something's up, I'll scream."

I don't wait for a reply; I simply walk through the gates up to the large church doors. When the doors open for me I walk in and realize as I'm shutting them that I have not been followed. Good, I think, I don't need anyone to babysit me.

I make my way to the elevator and cringe at how rickety it feels when I get on. When the doors open again, I find a welcoming committee.

A woman and a man stand in the front. They don't look very pleased, but the four kids behind them look giddy. I already know all their names; they're like my second family.

Wait, four kids?

I don't have enough time to think it through.

"Clary!" Isabelle shouts. She pushes around her parents, Robert and Maryse, and envelops me in a hug.

"Izzy!" I exclaim back, dropping my bags on the floor and embrace her back. "I missed you!"

"Diddo," she says, pulling away, still smiling.

"Maryse, Robert," I greet the Lightwoods with a nod. They still don't look very pleased to see me so I break off my smugness for a minute. "Thank you, both, for taking me in."

Maryse only gives a slight grimace. "You're welcome. How's Jocelyn been?"

I try my hardest to keep from rolling my eyes but it still happens. Maryse and my mother don't have the best friendship anymore. "She's fine. Safe and sound in Idris."

Maryse abruptly turns and walks away, Robert trailing behind her.

Izzy smacks my shoulder. "You always have to roll your eyes don't you?"

I pretend to be offended and look at her seriously. She looks back at me until we both start laughing. Then she hugs me again and I squeeze her back.

"It's been too long," she says.

"I know," I say. I pull away to find Alec beside me.

"Alec!" I say looking him up and down. He's grown a lot taller and muscular since I last saw the Lightwoods. It's been six years since, and we were in Idris; Max was only three. Of course I've talked to them, but I haven't seen them. "Wow, you've gotten tall."

"And you haven't grown at all," he says.

I hold my hands up in front of my face in fists. "Bring it, Lightwood. When did you last go demon hunting? I caught one just outside the airport."

"Don't talk about demons like they're frogs, Clary," Alec says.

I ignore the remark and get up on my toes to hug Alec. "Don't worry, I missed you too."

When I pull away I feel arms wrap around my waist. When I look down it's Max.

"Max!" I exclaim, milking it for the kid's sake. It's not that hard. "Look at you!"

"Hi Clary," he says, letting go and suddenly shy.

When I look up from him two familiar eyes meet mine and my heart stutters for a second. I had no idea he would be here, staying with the Lightwoods. This detail seems to have been left out, for who's sake, I'm not sure.

"If it isn't Jace Herondale," I say.

"Clarissa Morgenstern," he replies with a smirk on his face. "It's been a while."

I smirk back, not bothering to correct him. "Not that long."

"Wait, you two know each other?" Izzy asks from behind me.

"We go way back," Jace says, not taking his eyes off mine.

I step towards him and cross my arms over my chest. "Almost two years ago to be exact. It was quite the party."

"Good to see you." He looks me up and down and I feel the blush threatening on my face.

Now I look him up and down. "You too." And then I turn away to find Izzy and Alec gaping at us.

I grab one of my bags and look at Isabelle. "Help me take these to my room."

She grabs my other bag and quickly follows me down the hallway.

When we get inside Izzy quickly shuts the door behind her and throws the bag on the bed. I start opening them up and putting things away when she bursts.

"When did you hook up with Jace Herondale?!"

"The whole world didn't hear you, Iz, say that a little louder," I reply, her question leaving me unfazed.

"Seriously, Clary, when were you going to tell me? You know he's Alec's parabatai, right?"

"I wasn't going to tell you cause it's not a big deal. I knew Alec had a parabatai, but I didn't know it was Jace Herondale."

"When?" she asks again.

"About two years ago at some banquet for skilled shadow-hunters. I recall the Lightwoods not being able to attend. My mom couldn't go either. Next thing you know, you hit it off with Jace Herondale," I reply like it was nothing. But it wasn't nothing; it was one good night.

Izzy is pouting when I look up after speaking. "I can't believe you didn't tell me."

I roll my eyes. "I told you I didn't think it was important."

I keep putting my clothes away and then come across my stack of shadow-hunter wear. "Hey, your training room here is huge right?"

Izzy nods.

"You up for a little action? I haven't been in a training room in forever."

I was right. The New York Institute does have a huge training room. Not as big as the one I grew up with in Idris, but close enough.

"Max is really the only one using this thing now," Iz says. "The other three of us are always out."

I nod. "Heard New York was getting over populated."

"What don't you hear? They tell you everything." Her voice sounds irritated.

"I don't ask them to, it just happens. They think telling me everything will keep me safe or something. Stupid if you ask me." I walk over the targets and grab five daggers off the wall. They all have a thick layer of dust on them. "Has Max not gotten to daggers yet?" I ask.

Izzy shakes her head slowly, and worry creeps onto her face.

My eyes widen in shock. Daggers are early in shadow-hunter training. I can't believe Max hasn't gotten to them yet. "What level is he?" I ask quietly.

Izzy sighs. "Five."

I jog to the edge of the big mat on the floor. It's a good fifteen feet away from the targets. I plant my feet in line with my shoulders, grip the dagger in my hand without too much pressure, aim, and then let my wrist flick. The dagger lands in the center dot on the target. "Why is he so behind?"

Izzy shrugs. "He's not picking it up, I guess. Dad's trying his best."

I shoot the rest of the daggers at the target quickly and then turn to her. "Has anyone else tried training him?"

Izzy laughs. "No. No one else here is qualified and Mom's always busy, so…"

"Jace is qualified."

When I say it, her eyebrows rise smugly and I regret saying it. "And how do you know that?"

"Because I'm qualified, so he probably is too."

"Is that a challenge?" a voice comes from behind me – Jace.

I turn to see him at the door. He's wearing track pants and a muscle shirt; typical training outfit. "It was just a guess. Maybe you're not qualified; it requires a lot of skill to train someone without hurting them."

"Fine." He steps onto the mat. "You tell me if I'm qualified to train."

"By the Angel, how did I know this would happen?" I hear Izzy mutter behind me. "You are aware of what will happen if you get hurt, right? Clary?"

I shrug as I step onto the mat, across from Jace. "Don't worry I have my stele."

"You're both impossible, you know that? I'm getting Alec."

Jace just laughs. "Impossible?"

I shrug at him. "She thinks I'm too reckless for my own good."

"Then that would make two of us. You know, I've wondered since the banquet which of us would win in a fight," he says.

I raise my eyebrows. The whole thing throws me off just long enough for him to punch me in the jaw. But I retaliate more quickly then he expects and kick his stomach, making him double over. Bad idea. It gives him the chance to grab leg and suddenly I'm not my back with no runes on my body to help my lungs gain the air knocked out of them.

I quickly use my knees to knock his legs out from under him and then he's in my previous situation. I roll over to him, still gasping and dig into his wrist with the heel of my hand, he cries in pain. He has obviously forgotten runes as well.

Then I'm on top of him, his arms pinned and my knees tight on either side of his waist. "This is oddly familiar," I remark smugly.

But then his legs are suddenly around my waist pushing me to the floor. I was smug too soon.

"Really?" he asks. His heels are digging into my rib cage painfully and I can hardly breathe. I'm sure they'll at least be bruised.

He's not being careful enough, my limbs are all free. My arms aren't long enough to do much damage, so I knee him in the back just as I hear the doors to the training room open. I don't bother to pay attention. As he's distracted by the pain in his back, I use my legs and feet to fling him off of me. He lands dangerously close to the hardwood floor off the mat.

"By the Angel, are you two crazy?" I hear Alec's voice, sharp and displeased.

We both don't respond as we're both gasping for air. I cough as though I was choking before and my hand flies to my ribs; they're definitely bruised.

"Clary, I thought you had your stele?"Isabelle says.

"I do-" I gasp.

"It's just – bruising," Jace finishes and I see him get up in the corner of my eye.

I straighten into a sitting position painfully and can't help but groan at the protest in my ribs. My mouth tastes funny and sour and I realize there is blood in my mouth. I quickly spit it out – it's from the punch I earned to my jaw.

Jace looks almost completely unscathed.

"What the hell Jace?" Alec says, and then he's beside me.

"Nothing's broken," I assure him. He's always worried too much.

"No but something's wrong. Lie back down, what's up with your ribs?" He pushes me back down so I'm on my back. I oblige because it really hurts sitting hunched over. Alec lifts my shirt to look at my ribs.

Izzy's voice sounds shrill. "And how are you barely hurt, Jace?"

"I said I was more qualified, didn't I?" I say and despite the pain of Alec currently prodding at my rib,s I smirk.

Jace's eyes widen. Obviously he didn't realize what the whole thing meant. It requires a lot of skill to train someone without hurting them, I had said.

"You need to pay more attention to limbs, by the way," I say. Then Alec hits something – no harder then what he was prodding at before, but it hurts more. I shout and impulsively twist his wrist away.

"Clary – ow."

I jerk my hand off his wrist quickly.

"Sorry, but you've got a break," Alec says. I hear Izzy sigh; I can't see where she and Jace are standing. "Where's your stele?"

I scoff. "You're lying, that is not broken." I go to get up again and I can feel the pain Alec hit even more now as I try to sit up. I groan.

"How many times have you broken a rib?" Alec asks.

I roll my eyes. "… seven."

"And what does it feel like?" He's being smug and he knows it.

It feels exactly how it feels now, but I don't answer him. I tug my stele out of my pocket and thrust it at Alec before lying back down on the ground.

I feel the tingling on my torso of the rune and when it stops Alec helps me up. "You should tape it up, too. It'll still take a while," he says.

I look over at Jace and his eyebrows are crinkled together. Suddenly he's walking towards Alec and I. "I'll do it," he says. "I'm the one who put the damage there."

He reaches for my arm, but I step back. "It's a broken rib, not a broken arm, Jace."

He sighs and starts out of the room. I follow behind through the halls of the institute and to the infirmary.

I wonder how long he's been living with the Lightwoods and I wonder how I never knew that he and Alec were parabatai.

Izzy and I had always said we would become parabatai, but things had gotten in the way. Namely, Valentine coming back from the dead. For a while, no one was to know where I was, not even the Silent Brothers; it would put them in danger of Valentine hunting them down. I've known Isabelle my whole life and soon we'll both be eighteen and it'll all be too late.

I don't see the point in not asking, so when we reach the infirmary and he starts rummaging around, I ask, "How long have you lived with the Lightwoods?" I lean against the footboard of one of the beds.

"About five years," he responds. "I think – yeah, after my parents died. I've known them for a while, so they took me in without question." He stops rummaging and comes up with tape. He gestures to my shirt awkwardly.

I roll my eyes. "It's not like you haven't done it yourself, Jace," I say, then realize it probably wasn't the best choice of words as I pull my shirt over my head to reveal the sports bra underneath.

"This is serious. Pull up your arm."

It hurts but I pull my arm around my head so he can see my ribs. He rips off a piece of tape before crouching down beside me; necessary since he's a whole foot taller. I wait for him to put the tape on but I feel the coolness of his fingertips glide across my side.

"It's really bruised… I'm sorry, Clary."

"Not a big deal," I reply. "It happens a lot."

I suck in a breath as he puts the tape on and when he's done I pull my tank top back on. There's suddenly awkwardness between us.

"Thanks."

Jace shoves his hands into the pockets of his track pants. "Don't mention it."

"Actually, good idea," I say. "I'd be sent back if Maryse or Robert find out I've gotten hurt."

"Why?"

"Because everyone in the god forsaken Clave thinks I need to be protected," I reply.

Jace smirks. "If it's any value, it doesn't seem like you need to be protected to me." Then he walks away, having no idea how much a small sentence could mean.

A/N - what'd ya think? Let me know by reviewing and if you want to read on, follow the story so you know when I post chapter 2! Thanks! 3