Author's Note: Okay – there's an explanation for this – I swear!! Omg – so I'm really into Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments Series, which includes City of Bones and, just recently, City of Ashes. I was lucky to get the book like 4 days prior to the release date so that I didn't have to buy it at a bookstore on my spring-break vacation. Anyway, I finished it in the five days I was on my vacation and I LOVED IT. Seriously – Clare's characters are the most dynamic, interesting, funny, and round that I've encountered for awhile – I'm trying not to be cheesy here, but solely based on how complex her characters are, I haven't see characters as complex since the Harry Potter series for me – although it isn't ANYTHING like the Harry Potter series at all. To get right to the point, City of Ashes was a rollercoaster ride from beginning to end – and just when I thought everything was going hunky-dory in the epilogue, this ONE little scene – these FEW words Clary said, made me want to chuck the book across the room (just like I wanted to do with City of Bones initially – lol), cry hysterically, and write a long e-mail to Clare asking her to hurry up and finish the next book!! But, since I really couldn't do anything like that (although I slammed the book shut and got all huffy), I fell right asleep after reading the epilogue just so I wouldn't have to think about it. Morning came, and, alas, I couldn't stop thinking about it (and my sister had not started reading it yet, so I couldn't talk about it with her!). So, how could I make myself feel better until the next book? Fan-fiction – here I come. XD I rewrote half of the epilogue to City of Ashes in one day to make myself feel better (even in the airplane and car ride on the way home from vacation!). And so, I present to you my hasty attempt to make myself feel better in anticipation for the next book. PLEASE NOTE: A lot of this is still based off of Clare's initial epilogue. Some wording may be close or copied from the real book. I only changed what I wanted to happen in the epilogue to make it seem more realistic to me in anticipation for the next book.

Disclaimer: I DO NOT own Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instrument Series to ANY degree whatsoever. Whatever parts I used from Clare's initial epilogue to City of Ashes are hers and HERS ALONE. I just mod-ed and tweaked it a bit. ;D

City of Ashes: Epilogue Remixed

Note: I have kept everything in the epilogue the same up to when Jace and Clary enter Taki's, so that is where I shall begin!

The ifrit let the two of them pass without so much as a second glance. Clary was shivering all over – but it was not from the bitter cold that made her breath show in silvery puffs or that made Jace's hair shine with gold highlights.

Inside, Jace and Clary chose a booth near the back and slid in across from each other. Kaelie, the pixie with a svelte figure and shining blue irises with no pupils, set two menus on the table for them. Before departing, she eyed Jace with a curious look. Jace ignored her, staring dutifully instead at the menu. Kaelie left with an air of dejection to her stride.

The time was nearing, but Clary didn't know where or how to start. A gnawing in her stomach made her feel raw and exposed. Instead of saying anything, she just stared at Jace (who was still looking at the menu), with renewed interest.

Unlike Simon, Jace was a study in lights instead of darks. It started with his hair. Like a sun, it lit up all his features and appeared soft to the touch – she had the sudden urge to touch it, but held back. Then, her eyes traveled down his face: to his skin, a perfect pale honey-color – to the pleasant angular planes of his face – to the slim, long, almost elegant hands clasping the menu. With a shock, Clary realized that Jace looked like some sort of fallen angel – even his bright hazel eyes were perfect – and were staring right at her.

"What?" he asked, alarmed. "Is there something wrong with the haircut that you didn't tell me about before?"

"Oh – no," Clary said, her eyes leaving Jace. She remembered what she had told Jace before – I never look at you! Everything was different now…

Trying to ignore him, her gaze wafted around the room instead, taking in the variety of people in the restaurant – from the warlocks in their iridescent display of apparel – to the werewolves snacking on lamb chops while discussing a face-off between Magnus Bane and Dumbledore from Harry Potter – to the slender bodies of the faeries, reclining in their chairs and talking in their light, sweet voices…

Clary remembered the Seelie Court and how the rune Jace had traced on her arm had showed the faeries true nature – how feral and deceitful they are. Then she reflected on the kiss that she and Jace shared the same day… Her stomach twisted nauseatingly and she clutched it hastily.

I have to do this, she told herself. I can't take it any longer!

"Are you hungry Clary?" Jace asked suddenly, staring at Clary's small hands around her stomach.

"Um -," but before she could reply, Kaelie returned with a pen and a paper pad in her hand.

"Have you decided?" she said coolly – not looking at Jace. Her tone did not seem to faze him.

They both made their orders – Jace, a plate of sweet potato fries, while Clary, who hadn't even looked at the menu, ordered two random lines off the page. Jace also asked for several dishes to put in boxes for the rest of the Lightwoods.

Kaelie left smoothly and now Clary and Jace were really alone. Clary took a deep breath to settle her heart and hoped she wasn't blushing. The urge to spill out everything to Jace was so strong that her tongue burned like someone was holding a lit match to it. Luke was right – she couldn't hold the truth back anymore – she could not lie to herself. She had to say something…

"Clary – are you okay?" Jace said, staring at Clary's hands. She hadn't noticed that she had taken her napkin and was ripping it to pieces. "Because if you rip that up anymore, you could give the bits to Luke to use when he shaves."

Clary scowled and abruptly dropped the napkin.

"What is it that you have to tell me so badly anyway?" Jace inquired – all hints of sarcasm gone. Instead, his face was blank, almost uneasy.

"Okay Jace – I have something to tell you," said Clary – a bit louder than she really wanted.

Jace blinked and said, "Clary, I have something to say too – actually I'd like to –"

But before Jace could finish, Clary cut in abruptly – her words coming out in a wild torrent. If she didn't say anything now, she knew she never would.

"Jace – I've been thinking about you a lot. You can't seem to stay out of my head – when you said -," she gulped, "- when you said that you wish you could follow me into my thoughts – you had no idea that you were already there – already with me. What you said before was right – I have been lying to myself – and I can't take it any longer – my heart can't take it any longer!" she breathed deeply and risked looking up from the table. She was staring at Jace, who looked like he had been shocked by a stun gun or that he had swallowed a bug and just realized it. He was white-faced and unblinking – staring at her.

"What I said before, Jace, was true – I wish that you weren't my brother and that Simon was…" Clary shook her head sadly and could feel the tears bunching up behind her eyes, which she tried desperately to hold back. She had to finish this. "I was cruel to you Jace – you were being honest to yourself and to me – I wasn't – and I'm sorry…" Clary could taste the salt in her mouth and realized that her futile attempt to hold her tears back was in vain. She hastily wiped the tears away as she said so softly, she wasn't sure Jace could hear her, "But I'm her to tell you the truth…"

It was silent for a second, but the mood was interrupted when Kaelie returned with a couple of boxes, Jace's fries, and what looked like a plate of chocolate covered crickets with banana slices and dead maggots for Clary. Clary barely registered what she ordered before she pushed it away. She was far from hungry.

When Kaelie left, Clary looked down at her hands resting on the table. She did not know where to start anymore – it was like all the courage she had had moments before had been sucked out of her – making her feel hollow inside. She wished distantly that she had used her mother's stele to inscribe the fearless rune on herself before Luke had dropped her off. Then she thought better of it – Luke would have asked questions.

Suddenly, Jace's hands were on hers lying on the table. They were warm and smooth – and oddly soothing. He squeezed her hands – as if in encouragement to keep going. She breathed deeply and tilted her head up again to look directly into Jace's eyes, who were staring intensely back at her.

"The truth is Jace – that – that I love you. I've loved you for longer than you know – I just couldn't admit it to myself. I love you more than a brother – I love you so much that it physically hurts me when you're not here. And I don't care what other people think anymore – that was just the small part of my brain that wanted to rationalize it all. But I can't rationalize it anymore – for emotions are so irrational. I love you Jace, and I'm sorry I haven't told you sooner."

Her hands were shaking, although Jace was still holding tightly onto them. Her heart was pounding so erratically that Clary pondered whether it was going to fall out of her chest or not. But her mind felt clear and her stomach was no longer upset. Her burden had been lifted, and she felt braver than she ever did in her life – braver than confronting her father and braver than inscribing the "open" rune on the bulkhead of the ship. But – if she could pin everything down to one emotion – what she really felt was – free.

"I love you," she said again, tasting those three little words on her lips and relishing in them because she knew they were true. And she wanted to say them more. "I love you Jace and I'll always love you."

Jace's grip on Clary's hand tightened, like he was holding onto her as a life support – or as if he was trying to make sure she was really there and real. Clary eyed him carefully, watched as his mouth slightly opened and his eyes warm and soften – watched them liquefy into molten gold. His mouth closed, then opened and closed again – he was clearly at a loss as to what to say. Clary knew that Jace had thought Clary would never have said what she had in a million years.

"So," Clary began, voice cracking, "What was it you were going to say before – before I blurted out everything?"

Unexpectedly, one of Jace's hands let go of Clary's and reached across the table towards her face. The back of his hand slid gently down her check where her tears had been earlier. Clary closed her eyes.

"Nothing," said Jace – sounding like he was out of breath. "I was simply going to apologize."

Clary opened her eyes wide. "Apologize? For what?"

"Apologize for being a jackass to you," Jace said coolly. "You see Clary, I've never felt this way about anyone before -"

"Me either," Clary added.

"- and I didn't know how to deal with it," Jace continued. "I wanted you so badly, that I did not stop to think, like you did, about everyone else. I pushed everything on you and I'm sorry about that. I'm sorry for everything I did to you."

He looked sunken, deflated almost. Clary took Jace's hand off her face with her free hand and interlaced her fingers in his. "Don't – please don't. You don't need to apologize – at least you were being honest with yourself…"

He smiled somewhat. "Maybe so – but that doesn't excuse how I treated you – and I'm sorry." His gaze left where their hands were intertwined on the table and back up into her eyes. "Clary?"

"Yes?"

"I love you too," and he smiled – not his usual supercilious, haughty smile, but a genuine one that seemed to make his whole being glow with the sincerity in it.

Clary smiled too and she laid her head down on the table – exhausted – glad that it was all over – glad that she had triumphed. Jace released her hands and moved some of Clary's hair that was covering her face on the table. He leaned down to look at her properly.

"Are you sick?" he asked curiously.

"No," Clary shook her head. "More like – relieved."

"What – did you think I was going to bite your head off?"

"No – I –"

"Because I only do that on special occasions," he said, grinning. Jace glanced to his side quickly and then looked back at Clary, saying softly, "But I can understand why you're sick…" and then with more sarcasm, "Especially with that sitting next to you. Are you going to eat it?" he asked, nodding towards Clary's dish of whatever-it-was.

Clary turned her head on the table to look at it – her face immediately furrowing.

"No," she said.

"That's a relief. It would take more than a fearless rune to eat that."

Clary couldn't argue with that.

Jace momentarily obtained a rather pensive look and then pulled Clary's dish across the table to him. "But maybe Izzy would like this. She must have a stomach of steel if she can eat her own cooking." With that, he looked in the Styrofoam boxes for Isabelle's meal. When he found it, he plucked a few choice maggots off of Clary's dish, placed them neatly around Isabelle's plate of spaghetti, closed the box, and set it off to the side. Clary lifted herself off the table and stared at him.

"What?" said Jace innocently.

Clary just rolled her eyes.

"Are you hungry at all?" questioned Jace.

Clary thought about it for a second. Her stomach wasn't upset anymore – but she wasn't quite sure how much she could eat just yet.

"I'm – peckish," she decided awkwardly.

Jace pushed some of the boxes sitting next to him aside and then gestured for her to come and sit next to him. She obliged, scooting in close to him on the booth.

"At least have some of mine then –" and Jace pushed his dish over between the two of them.

"Thanks," Clary said, picking up her fork from across the table.

Jace grinned and put his arm around Clary's waist as the two of them dug in.

-

They ate in silence – interrupted only when Kaelie took both of their dishes – one untouched (except for a few maggots), while the other mostly empty. Jace coughed up the bill in dollars and placed it on the table. They exited afterwards, each carrying a few boxes.

"So," Jace began, breaking the silence. "Why did you suddenly decide to come clean?"

Clary thought about what that implied for a moment before responding. "Actually, it was something Luke said to me," she said, looking out to the street in front of her. Clary hoped that Jace wouldn't pursue the subject – that he could tell by the tone of her voice she did not what to talk about Luke and her mother. She was glad that all he did was nod.

"Where are you going now?" he asked.

"To the hospital. Luke's waiting there for me."

With another nod, Jace placed the boxes of food for the Lightwoods on the stomp leading into Taki's and Clary followed suit.

"You won't avoid me anymore – will you?" Jace asked softly.

"No – I won't," said Clary, taking Jace's hand without really thinking about it.

Jace closed his eyes and exhaled. "Good." And before Clary could even register what he said, Jace pulled Clary towards him. They stood, facing each other – and very tenderly, Jace lifted Clary's chin up towards him. Clary closed her eyes and soon she felt the gentle brush of his lips on hers. Clary's hands flung up on their own accord to cup Jace's face and pull him toward her. His hair curled around her fingers and felt like velvet. Jace's hands were around Clary's back, crushing her to him, but she didn't care. She suddenly wished she could be apart of Jace. And as the kiss stopped being gentle and became fiercer and more passionate, Clary thought she was apart of him. His lips were like fire and it felt as if electric shocks were running up and down her body. Soon, the kiss ended when they both had to stop and suck in air. Abruptly, Clary felt empty, as though something vital had been taken from her – even though they were still holding onto each other.

Panting, Clary forgot where she was supposed to go after Taki's. She stood in Jace's arms, resting her head on his chest. Jace leaned forward and lightly kissed her head.

"Do you want to come over to the Institute – or are you still going over to the hospital?" he asked, his voice low.

That's right – she had to go to the hospital. She broke out of Jace's hands and regretted doing so the moment she did. His arms were warm and comforting – while the outside air was cool and crisp. It smelled like autumn and the soon arrival of snow.

"I told Luke I was going to meet him at the hospital," Clary said, but when she saw the look on Jace's face, she amended – "But I might be around tonight, or tomorrow, or the next day – and you know you can always come over to Luke's anytime you want."

Jace gave her a sly look – "Okay then – I expect you over tonight to start your training and everything."

Clary's eyes widened. "Training?"

Jace nodded. "You are a Shadowhunter after all – it's time you learned a few tricks."

Clary furrowed her eyebrows in disbelief, but nodded all the same. "Okay then – tell Isabelle, Alec, and Max hi for me."

He nodded. Clary turned then and began walking towards the hospital when she heard Jace say softly, "I love you Clary."

She turned, eyes bright. "I love you too Jace." And she walked away feeling freer than ever.

-

Perhaps the future was brightening. Sure, Simon was a vampire (who could be out in the sun), and her father was a nut case with the mortal instruments at his command, and her mother was still an unconscious vegetable – but as she walked the steps up to Beth Israel's, Clary couldn't help but feel optimistic – the sun was shining – there was hope. Maybe Simon would fall in love with Maia. Maybe the Clave with recover the mortal instruments. And maybe, just maybe, her mother would stir again.

The further Clary walked up the steps, the more she could see the cloaked figure of someone standing over to the side and in the shadows. Everyone walked passed the figure, apparently unaware of its presence. The figure also appeared to shimmer slightly, and Clary knew that it was putting up some serious glamour. Silver hair wisped from beneath the cowl over the figure's head and as Clary approached closer, she could tell that the person was distinctly female. When the figure motioned her over, Clary momentarily hesitated, hoping that her luck had not run out – that this particular someone brought her good news. With resolve, Clary carefully walked toward the woman on the steps – her future revealed and decided before her eyes.

--

AN: I support comments before favoriting! Please, before favoriting, tell me what you liked/disliked about this – it helps me grow as a writer! Even if you hated it, I'd like to know why. Thanks, and I hope you enjoyed! Oh – and another note: After reading this over, I realized that this is very much a product of my emotions after City of Ashes – meaning, sorry if some of this sounds out of character. It's highly dramatized, I know. XD