For those who don't know, Polyandry is a marriage with one woman, and multiple men. Yes, Clary will be married to more than one guy. Sorry, Clace purists. This one will be smutty, there will be Clace, but there will be Clary with her other husbands as well. If you can't handle this, turn back now.
IMPORTANT: Keep an open mind, about this one. Polyandry is cultural, in some places. In Clary's "Nation" (the range she lives in) Polyandry is the culture. Before you tell me I'm sick, just remember that monogamy is a strange practice to some people, just like polygamy, polyandry and polyamory are strange for us.
Cultural Anthropology, motherfuckers. Yay for education!
WARNING: Smut, Polyandry, foul language, touchy subjects (for this Fandom, people have a fit if Clary's with anyone but Jace? Double standard, considering all the people Jace has been with, but I digress)
HUGE thank you to rippingbutterflywings and xXDustAngelXx for being amazing, and helping me out with this chapter. Plus, greygirl2358 and Katwood5 for being my pals, and listening to me rant all the time. You guys are so killer.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Mortal Instruments, I just like anthropology, and science and sex.
Today is the day.
Today, my entire life changes. Today, I'm shedding skin. Peeling back the layers of the child I used to be and becoming a woman. That's what my mother says, at least.
I'm choosing today. Traditionally, women in my Nation choose anywhere from two to five husbands. There are eight remaining Nations, and mine is called Domin. We are the Northern Nation. We're constantly at war with The Morbid in the South. They send people here annually, to try to persuade our people into their odd practices, like monogamy and contraceptives.
The Mals Nation in the East stays quiet, for the most part. Yendys in the West just really likes pudding. Iram is Southeast, and while I've never been there, I've seen the smoke rising. They are prone to arson before church each Sunday. Murder, repent, repeat. Ellimac is in the North West. They keep their focus on education, hatred of cookies and a love of sea turtles. I've rarely met anyone from the Southwest Nation of Eitak, but when they do come around, they walk with a sway to their step and a mischievous undertone in their eyes. Lastly, Nibor is to the Northeast. They… are the most sexually expressive people I have ever met. The Domin keep to themselves, and we don't talk about what happens behind closed doors, but the Nibor are not shy. Culturally, none of us are all that different. We just practice different types of marriages and religions. Some of us, the Domin included, don't practice religion at all.
In the house I'll be moving in to, my fathers tell me there is room for me to choose three husbands, just as my mother did when she was my age. She chose Valentine Morgenstern, Lucian Graymark, and another man she doesn't like to talk about. He died shortly after they got married, and no one has even told me his original name. They've all taken on the Fairchild name, just as my husbands will do.
The three of them have agreed that I should marry Sebastian Verlac, because he's strong and his family is respected by the Domin. His mother is the mayor, and she made the arrangements when we were just ten years old. What my parents have overlooked is the fact that I hate Sebastian. He's cocky and rude. I don't like the way he looks at me, or the tone of his voice. I don't like the way he mocks my brother, or the fact that he's hit him. If anyone is going to be punching my brother in the face, it's going to be me.
I've been told that the other two men will be my choice. The only other man I want to marry is Jordan Kyle. He's been my best friend since infancy, and I asked him to marry me when we were young. Five years later, and it's still the plan. My only concern is who the last man will be. There are many options, but none of them appeal to me in the slightest. I'm expected to choose a third, but there's no one I want. I've only ever had eyes for Jordan.
"Hey, Rissa." My brother bumps his shoulder into mine. He's the only person I allow to call me Rissa. To everyone else, my name is Clary Fairchild.
"Hi, Jonny," I say, just to annoy him.
"Jon," he corrects me. "Jon or Jonathan. You know I hate being called Jonny. It's not manly."
I shrug. "I like being called Clary, but that doesn't seem to faze you."
He rolls his eyes and smooths back his white hair. In our culture, we consider everyone married to our mother to be our fathers. Biologically, it's hard to tell who your father is. With Jonathan, it's obvious. He's Valentine's boy. The only difference in their features is his green eyes, which he and I both get from our mother.
When you look at me, it's hard to tell who my biological father is. I look like my mother, and no one else. If I were to hazard a guess, I would say Luke. Maybe that's just wishful thinking, though. Something about Valentine has always put me off. He's distant and cold, while Lucian is warm and friendly.
Jonathan throws a chunk of his toast at me after settling into the chair across the table. "I'll call you Clary when you start calling me Jon."
"Luke!" Luke interrupts, from across the breakfast table. He places his elbows casually on either side of his plate, wrinkling my mother's favorite beige table cloth.
My mother shakes her head. "Do you know who you're choosing today, Clarissa?"
As always, I internally cringe at her use of my full name. "Jordan," I answer immediately. I begin poking at my over-easy eggs with a fork. The yolk leaks out hurriedly when I stab it.
Valentine clears his throat. "And Sebastian."
I roll my eyes and dip my toast into the runny egg yolk. "I hate him."
"You've been promised to each other," my mother reminds me. As if I care about that…
"So, you'll choose him today," Valentine demands.
I shrink away from the intensity of his gaze. "Yes, father." Luke gives me a sympathetic smile. He's the only one who's okay with me not marrying Sebastian. I wish that counted for something.
"You're choosing three, though," Luke points out. He's trying to keep the peace, so he quickly changes the subject away from Sebastian. He's our neutralizer.
"Yeah, who's your third choice?" Jonathan asks. He's not really interested, but he hates Sebastian just as much as I do.
I shrug my shoulders, and mother frowns. She hates it when I shrug. "I don't know anyone else."
"What about Simon? You know Alec and Magnus as well," Valentine offers.
"Isabelle wants to marry Simon, and he wants to marry her. Alec and Magnus are…" I glance at Jonathan, who wears a sly smirk. He knows the truth. "Not my type." The truth is that they're gay. The younger generation is more accepting of homosexuality, but the adults still don't approve. It makes me sad that Magnus and Alec can't be together. If I had space for four husbands, I would take them both. That way, they could be together.
"Just choose the hottest one." Jonathan's advice is prime.
"You could always choose your brother," my mom says sweetly. Jonathan and I share a look, noses crinkled, and shake our heads ferociously. It's not unheard of for girls to marry their brothers in the Domin Nation. Other Nations would tell you that it's wrong, but the older people of the Domin do not think so. I'm not interested in marrying Jonathan, though. In school, we've learned the truth about incestuous relationships; your children coming out with genetic mutations and mental retardation. I am not interested in having that. While our parents refuse to listen to the answers that science can give, we have opened ourselves to the truth.
"No thanks, Mom," I say, gritting my teeth against the annoyance I feel. "I'm way out of his league."
Jonathan foot rams into my shin under the table, and I jerk away while biting back a cry of pain. "You wouldn't be able to handle all of this." He gestures toward his chest, and I wrinkle my nose again. I don't want to hear about all of that.
"That really hurt," I complain, bringing my foot up onto the chair and rubbing my shin.
"You will be."
There are roughly 75 of them, in an unorganized group. I glance nervously back at my mother, and she stands directly behind me with her hands on each of my shoulders. "It's okay, Clarissa," she whispers into my ear. "All you have to do is kiss the three you like, and you're officially married."
"I am aware," I tell her, and take a step forward. My eyes scan the crowd for Jordan. I pass over Sebastian, knowing I'll have to come back to him, but refusing to allow him to be first. Jordan is my priority.
I begin to panic after a moment of rolling my eyes over every face I see, because none of them are the one I'm looking for. I step into the crowd, pushing past the cluster of guys. I sigh in frustration. Is he even here? What if Jordan didn't show up?
I'm about to give up my search and go back to where I saw Sebastian when a low voice sounds in my ear. "Looking for me?"
I whirl around, my expression a mixture of relief and annoyance. "Jordan!"
"You're adorable when you're worried," he says, casually.
"Shut up." I growl. "I thought you didn't show up."
"Of course I showed up." Jordan steps closer to me. "I'm kind of hoping that you'll choose me."
I grin up at him. "Oh, you're kind of hoping that?"
Jordan nods enthusiastically. "A little bit." I reach up and grab him by the shoulder, the fabric of his t-shirt feeling like home against my palm. He leans forward, and for the first time in my life, I'm kissing a boy. I am kissing Jordan like I was made to do it. Our lips meshed together, as if they're meant to be connected.
Because they are.
We're more than best friends – more than husband and wife. We were made for this.
The second his hands press into my back, I am hooked. He holds me so tightly that distance no longer exists. I will never love anyone the way I love Jordan, and I wish we could be monogamist. I wish it was only going to be him.
His lip ring is cold against my lips in an inviting kind of way. I run my tongue across his lips, tasting the metallic flavor of the piercing. He is my first kiss – my first husband. He is my first kiss, and it is filled with worry and desperation to know what he tastes like. All I can think is the fact that there are very few layers of clothing between us.
"That's enough, kids." Valentine grabs my arm and yanks me roughly away from Jordan. "You still need to choose two more." He shoves me toward Sebastian, and I stumble before catching myself.
Sebastian smirks down at me. He's closer than I expected. You couldn't even imagine the sick twist of my stomach, before my heartbeat lodged itself in my throat. "Hello, Sebastian," I mutter through the thick layer of disgust in my throat.
"Clarissa." He tilts his chin inward, dark eyes gleaming with something that can only be described as hunger. I swallow back the correction that automatically follows his use of my full name and take a step toward him. He leans forward, and I try to kiss him quickly, but he thrusts his fingers into my hair, pulling my lips roughly against his. I gasp, and he doesn't waste any time shoving his tongue past my lips. I push against his chest, but he doesn't let me go.
He tastes citrusy, and I hate to admit that it isn't unpleasant at all. I still hate him, so I bite down on his tongue. Hard. However, this doesn't make him stop. If anything, it seems to encourage him, and he groans into my mouth.
Why is Valentine not stopping this? I'm not allowed to make out with Jordan, but this is just fine? What the fuck, Dad? I'm crossing him out…
By the time Sebastian finally steps away, I am out of breath. Not in a good way, either. In a way that says I've nearly been smothered to death. Not my favorite.
I shoot a glare at Valentine, but he's smiling in approval at Sebastian. He doesn't even see me. Motherfucker. Not cool, Valentine. Why is it okay for Sebastian to maul my face when I don't want him to, but I can't make out with Jordan? I'm mad.
"One more, Clarissa," he whispers. I nod, and scan the crowd.
I take a step closer to Jordan. There are too many people. "Jordan," I gasp. "I'm expected to choose three husbands, and I don't know any of these people. What do I do?"
Jordan chuckles and shifts his metal lip ring, using his tongue. Fuck. The sexual frustration is real... He points into the crowd. "He's a stud."
I spin on my heel to look at where he's pointing, and when I see him my heart leaps out of my body. My breath hitches, and Jordan chuckles again. There's a tall blonde with luminous golden eyes leaning against the stone wall. Jordan wasn't lying. Some beauty demands to be seen.
Hesitantly, I approach him. He doesn't move away from the wall when I stand in front of him, but he smiles at me. "What's your name?"
His eyes smolder into mine, and I shift my gaze before I allow myself to become intimidated by his stare. Guys that look like this aren't supposed to exist, but here he is, photoshopped and all. "Jace Herondale." I like his voice even more than his face, if that's possible.
I hold out my hand to him. "Clary Fairchild."
He lifts an eyebrow, hardly sparing a glance at my outstretched hand. "You want to shake my hand? Is that how this works?"
"Did you have something else in mind?"
"Well," he starts. "I had assumed you were talking to me because you're choosing today, and you need one more guy."
I step toward him. "You aren't wrong."
Jace pushes away from the wall and leans so his face is level with him. "Does this mean I can kiss you?"
I bite my lip, trying not to smile like a fucking idiot. Of course, I do. Every. Time. I slowly blink a few times as I process the situation. This really isn't the weirdest thing that has ever happened to me, but it's pretty close. I generally don't walk up to boys and marry them. "You'll be stuck with me if you do," I warn him.
He cocks his head to the side. "That's why we're both here, isn't it?"
I nod, and take one last step to close the distance. When our lips meet, I hear my mother sobbing from somewhere far away. My mother's cries fade, however. All I can do is taste and feel. My other senses have stopped working. All it took was one kiss, and I am lost to the world. Just like when I kissed Jordan, this feels right. It feels like I was made for this.
Silently, he asks for my lips, my arms, and my breath. Even the air in my lungs is his. His teeth tear galaxies into my quivering lips as my nails drag comet trails down the curvature of his spine.
Alright… That's it… (So nervous about this story…)