WARNING: This chapter is utter crap.

Ok, no, really it's not, but I think it is kinda wonky.

In other news...I'M BACK WITH ANOTHER UPDATE! Thank you all for your lovely lovely lovely reviews.

And now, what you've all been waiting for...


"I totally knew it," Isabelle was telling Simon. "I knew there was something fishy about them from the start. Pardon the pun," she added. She turned her gaze toward Simon, an unrelenting irritation behind her mostly-deadly-but-sometimes-sweet dark brown eyes. "However, you didn't deem it wise to actually tell me I wasn't crazy. No, you just kept your little secret without even letting on that you had one. Glad to know you trust me."

At this, Simon sighed. "No, Izzy, I do trust you. It just wasn't my secret to tell."

It had been a few hours since Clary and Magnus's big revelation to Isabelle, and now she and Simon were sitting in her room. She was on her bed looking at her phone, probably on Instagram or SnapChat or whatever else she was always talking about, and Simon was sitting on a beanbag chair that was very close to the ground, his knees drawn up to his chest (not by his choice), and staring at the clock above her bed as it ticked nearer to his curfew – not that he would ever admit that he had a curfew to anyone. It was under a mental list titled Things to Never Tell Anyone Ever. Also on that list was the fact that Simon sometimes chose to tune Isabelle out when she talked about…whatever it was that she talked about because Simon never really listened. He would only occasionally nod when the time felt right, and that seemed to be enough to please her. It was a shitty thing for a boyfriend to do, he knew, but he just couldn't bring himself to listen when she prattled on about fashion and hair and what her latest favorite celebrity posted on her latest favorite social media site.

She looked up from her phone, her eyes taking on their sweet persona. "It's okay, I believe you. This time."

He only hummed in response and kept his gaze on the slow and sinister second hand as it counted on methodically, inching ever closer to the twelve, marking the tenth hour of the night and his departure for his doom – and by doom he meant curfew. When eventually the hand reached the twelve, Simon blinked and shook his head. He really, really, needed to stop doing whatever it was that was altering his mind like that. He wasn't sure what it was… It could've been all those Bram Stoker novels he's been reading lately. Yeah, that was it. Or a good enough excuse, anyway.

Simon sighed and got up from the quicksand trap Isabelle called a beanbag chair, almost falling back in it a few times. After reclaiming his balance, he leaned over the bed, kissed Isabelle on the cheek, and went to the door.

"Wait," Izzy called behind him, "are you going to see Clary and Magnus tomorrow?"

"Probably," he answered, turning back and leaning against the doorframe. "We're going to start a town-wide search for Prince Jack, or whatever he's called. Hodge has some contacts that we can call, maybe get some information."

"Okay. See you tomorrow."

Simon gave a nod and continued on his way out the door. He paused in the rather large living room and watched Alec and Jace play Halo on their rather large television. So far, Jace was kicking Alec's ass. Simon was about to go and help Alec out, maybe show him a few tips, having played the game about a million times before. Then he remembered that neither Alec nor Jace were really that friendly with him, and thus decided that he probably should just continue on his way.

He took one last look at the huge Victorian house on his way down the sidewalk. The house was a mansion compared to his house (and every house in the neighborhood, and quite possibly every house in town). When Simon had first met the Lightwoods, he'd heard rumors of their family having the most money in the whole town, and it made Simon jealous immediately. But Simon had been a kid when they moved here, so he's much more mature now, and doesn't let their fortune, or the fact that their living room was bigger than his entire apartment, get to him.

Looking up at the house now, he wondered if it was haunted. Big ominous house like that, one tends to wonder when it was built, or by whom, or if there are any demons in it. He risked a glance up at the second story, and thought he saw someone looking down at him as he walked away. Simon blinked again and shook his head. "Nope," he said aloud. "No more Bram Stoker. Ever."

As Simon walked on, he noticed that barely any lights were on in the neighborhood, and that the streetlights even looked a little dull. He pushed his glasses up and crammed his hands in his pockets, feeling his cellphone in his right pocket. Good, he thought, because he probably shouldn't speak aloud to himself anymore lest someone else walking by think he's crazy. At least if I'm taken by demons, I'll have my phone to call someone.

He didn't, however, notice the footsteps behind him, until it was too late and he was slammed into the streetlight post, making it wobble even though it was rooted in the ground. He cringed as his head hit, hoping he didn't have a concussion.

Large fists were knotted up in the collar of his favorite Star Wars t-shirt, and a face (a very handsome, chiseled face, that Simon would never admit to discerning) was snarled up inches from his. It was a boy about his age, possibly older, with the darkest eyes Simon had ever seen. They were almost black, accompanied by dark hair. Of course, everything looked dark, because it was ten o'clock at night.

Simon thought he'd seen this guy before, but couldn't place him now. That could be because of the possible concussion.

"How much do you know about her?" The guy growled out to Simon.

"Wha- who?" Simon asked, his voice slightly shaking. "Look man, if you want my wallet, I can get it for – "

"No, I don't want your money! I want to know what you know! How much do you know about Clarissa?" Simon blinked at him. The guy picked him up and slammed him against the pole again. "Don't play dumb with me! I have seen you with her. Do you know what she is? How she got here? How much do you know about her?"

Simon blinked again, thoughts slowly coming back to him. "Wait…do you mean Clary?"

The guy's dark eyebrows rose. Simon noted his face was now pale, or more so than it had been. "Clary," he repeated. Something had changed behind his eyes, and now they were softer. Simon was a little nervous at the amount of emotion his tone conveyed in that one word. One minute he's being all snarly and menacing, and the next he sounds like he could have tea with a kitten. "And the other one?"

"Uhm, by 'other one' I assume you mean Magnus…"

The guy shook his head. "Yes," he said softly. Then, the switch flipped again, and his cold and intimidating snarl was back. "You will tell me how much you know about them. Everything."

Simon risked a glance down to see if he could reach his cellphone, and caught a glimpse of the conch shell hanging around the guy's neck. He suppressed a gasp, instead opting for "You – you're one of the Endarkened?" The merman's grip tightened on his shirt, and Simon gulped. "Okay, okay. I never said there was anything necessarily wrong with being Endarkened, just that – "

The Endarkened slammed him against the pole again. "You talk too much." He paused a moment. "So, you know what happens to a mermaid if he or she has walked on land too long. I assume you also know of Clary's royal status?" Simon managed to give a nod. The Endarkened laughed. "Doesn't she know what the consequences are for giving away too many secrets to a human?"

"I, uh, don't know."

"What do you know?" His face grew closer, and Simon desperately wished he could lean away from him, but the guy didn't allow that much space between Simon and the post. "I do not like to be kept waiting, human. Answer my question, and do not make me repeat myself again."

"Uh…" At this point, Simon had a choice to make. It was either his life, or spill pretty much everything Clary and Magnus had ever told him and hope for forgiveness later. Clary was a pretty compassionate person, for the most part, and it wasn't like he was telling everyone. It was just this large, Endarkened, crazy mermaid.

So, Simon told him. And he felt like a dirty rotten snitch afterwards, or like the kid on the playground you think you can trust who happened to witness you accidently push someone off the swing, and then he turns around and tells the teacher everything that happened, effectively blaming you. Simon really didn't like kids like that, and as a result he avoided other kids altogether during his childhood.

Now, he was that kid.

When he was finished, they stood there staring at each other for the longest time. The merman narrowed his eyes at him, thinking. He seemed to look Simon up and down. "So," he said at last. "They are on a search for the lost Prince Jonathon. They have remembered him." Another pause, one in which he looked very pensive and might've let his guard down so that maybe Simon could escape with all his limbs intact. But then he asked, very cautiously, "Have they found their cymars yet?"

Simon didn't know what that was. He might've heard them mention it once or twice, but he's never had it explained to him.

When he expressed his confusion, the merman scoffed. He thought a moment, and then explained. "They have conch shells. One is green, a most beautiful green, and one is purple. Have you seen them?" His tone was slow, as though he were talking to a toddler.

"Yes," Simon said, equally as slow so as to show his displeasure with his tone. "I mean, I haven't seen a purple one, other than the one Alec wears all the time, but Clary was wearing a green conch shell when she got here."

"And?" The merman seemed impatient. "Is she still wearing it?"

Simon furrowed his eyes. "Funny you should ask, because I think she actually gave it to Jace. I saw him wearing it, or something like it, earlier."

And then the Endarkened did something that Simon thought bizarre: he let go of Simon.

They both stood, stunned. The Endarkened's gaze was cast towards the ground, his black eyes wide and unbelieving. His lips were moving, but Simon couldn't hear anything coming out of them. He didn't know whether to run, or to just stand there, maybe even help the guy out a little bit. (Before you call him a hypocrite, let him point out that the crazy Endarkened mermaid did look like he was a bit lost, and a little pathetic.)

Wordlessly, and without even looking at Simon, the Endarkened's arm rose and pointed out, the way Simon was heading before he was attacked. Simon took that as his cue to leave.

Alec wondered the beach for the second time in a month, aimlessly kicking sand under his bare feet, his hands stuffed in his pockets. It was pretty late, but there was really nothing to do. Jace had already kicked his butt at Halo, twice, and then he'd retired to his own home for the night, after, of course, showing off his newly acquired conch shell that Clary gave him earlier that day. Alec simply rolled his eyes, not letting his best friend's uncharacteristic giddiness or the fact that his necklace looked a shocking amount like Alec's own conch bother him. When Alec went to his room without really being tired and realized he'd read all of his books, he decided to take a walk on the beach under the pretense of "nothing to do."

Really, Alec admitted to himself, he'd come out here to see if he could spot the swimmer from last night.

Alec hadn't been able to get him out of his head since he'd seen him, splashing carefree in the water. There had been something about him, something that made Alec grow all warm and fuzzy inside (and it wasn't the fact that the swimmer was nearly naked; though, that is a rather nice factor). And then there was the conch, the way it glowed at the sight of him, something it had only ever really done in Magnus's presence.


Alec paused mid-step; realizing that his hand had made it's way up and was now clutching at his conch shell. Was this cheating, having thoughts about another boy when he was (kind of) dating Magnus? Well, they had only been out on one official date, and who's to say it was really going anywhere?

"It's late," a voice cut into Alec's thoughts, making him jump and turn around to see the very man he'd been thinking about standing a few feet before him, his head cocked to the side like a curious puppy. At the sight of Magnus, Alec felt his conch shell give a vibration, and one quick glance down told him it was glowing, but the glow was mostly masked by his hand. "What are you doing out here by yourself? I thought you didn't like the water."

"I should ask you the same question," Alec retorted, and realizing he'd said something else, added, "And I don't hate the water. It's just… I don't know; I've never been a big fan. That doesn't mean I can't enjoy leisurely stroll along the beach every now and then." Smooth, Lightwood.

"But…it's nearly midnight," Magnus replied, taking a few more steps towards him. He threw his hands up. "Hey, who am I to judge? I'm out here, too. Same as you."

And there, the conversation relaxed into a somewhat uncomfortable silence, with Alec gripping his conch shell and dragging his toe in the sand like an awkward child. He turned his head towards the dark tidal waves washing up around his feet, having a cold feel at first, then growing warm before it was drawn away again, leaving Alec's feet sunk into the wet sand up to his ankles. He grudgingly picked his feet up again, the sand clinging to him. He made a face, and Magnus laughed.

Alec looked up when he heard the sound, a deep chuckle that left him warm inside. He smiled at Magnus, and then noticed that Magnus's hair was wet and hanging in his eyes. Alec had the strong urge to sweep it out of his eyes and around his ear.

Magnus breathed in deep, closing his eyes and tipping his head up. "It's a nice night, isn't it?" he asked. "Quiet, serene."

"Yeah," Alec agreed. It was serene, with the sound of the waves washing up around them, the wind from the ocean blowing gently, making everything seem calm and relaxed.

When Alec brought his eyes back to Magnus, he found that Magnus was closer than he had been before. Now they were nearly toe-to-toe, and Alec hoped beyond hope that Magnus couldn't hear his heart beating so wildly in his chest that he thought it might jump out and fly away. He swallowed as Magnus lifted a hand and brought it to his collarbone where Alec was nervously gripping the conch to suppress its glow. Magnus gently pried his hand away and examined the strange shell. Alec couldn't help but notice Magnus's eyes with the purple light reflecting in them, turning them an extraordinary mixture of green and gold and purple. Alec didn't know if he could tear his gaze away from them.

Magnus smiled as he fingered the shell. "Has it ever done this before?" he whispered, because the moment was too perfect to have loud voices ruin it.

"Yes," Alec breathed back. But wait, Magnus probably needed an explanation, even if Alec himself didn't have one. "It – it's battery operated."

Magnus hummed, his gaze still on the shell. He lifted it and turned it over, running a light finger over the grooves and edges. And then Magnus's eyes were on him instead, and they were staring each other down. It wasn't intense, like a staring contest; it was more like their eyes locked, and neither could bear to look away. The purple glow glinted off Magnus's eyes as he looked at Alec, making his look seem mischievous. Alec promptly got lost in this gaze that made his knees weak and his insides turn to goo.

Somehow Magnus had gotten closer, and now their noses were nearly touching. One hand had snaked around Alec's waist to the small of his back, while the other had left the conch and was now caressing Alec's cheek with a feather-light touch. Magnus was leaning closer, and Alec's eyes fluttered closed. He felt Magnus's warm breath on his face, moving up his jaw to his ear, where he whispered, "It doesn't look battery operated."

And then Magnus was gone, making his way back up the beach, leaving Alec trembling and struggling to regain his breath.

What? No. No. It couldn't just – it can't just end like that!

"Magnus!" Alec called after him, running towards him, his conch shell bouncing on his chest. But he didn't care at the moment.

Magnus stopped and turned, an expectant expression on his face. "Yes, Alexa –?"

But Magnus didn't get to finish what he was saying because Alec had run into him, their bodies colliding forcefully, and then Alec was kissing him.

It was as if a great weight had been lifted from Alec's shoulders when their lips met. At first, Magnus was still from surprise, but then kissed Alec back with equal fervor. Alec wrapped his arms around Magnus's neck, and could feel Magnus's hands digging into his hips. It all seemed so natural, as if they were puzzle pieces that finally found their match. Their lips swept and clashed together, reminding Alec of the ocean with its unpredictable tides and waves and depth. Alec felt Magnus's tongue sweep across his lips, and very willingly opened his mouth to grant him access, giving a little moan when their tongues collided. Through his closed eyes, Alec could see the bright glow of the conch shell between them, but it seemed that Magnus didn't care, so neither did he.

When the kiss ended, Magnus smiled as he leaned his forehead against Alec's, their noses touching. "You have no idea how long I've waited for that," he whispered, nearly breathless.


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