Disclaimer: i dont own any of the mortal instrument characters.

Jace stood by the window, his fore-head pressed against the window pane, his unsteady breath steaming up the glass. Silent tears sliding gracefully down his cheeks as the hollow ache in his chest continued.

The cold of the glass was comforting, something for him to concentrate on. However, he couldn't rein in his thoughts as they returned to Clary. The way she smiled wistfully at him today. How her arms had wrapped around him so tightly. The smell of her, the way his skin tingled every time she touched him.

Another sharp pang from his chest brought him out of his memories. The desire to hold her, to touch her, to tell her everything was going to be ok was burning stronger than ever.

There was a soft knock at the door. His heart skipped a beat. He didn't have to open the door to know who it was; he'd heard it so many times before. He wiped his cheeks dry; she couldn't see him like this. He slowed his breathing, wiped the window clear, shrugged, and lay down on the bed.

"Come in," he called. The door opened and Clary's head appeared around the side.

"Hey," her green eyes surveyed the room, slowly, then finally rested on him. "Can I come in?"

"Of course, you don't need to ask!" Jace chuckled, always so polite he thought. She slid in around the door, her body curving gracefully as she twisted to shut the door silently. She turned around, a look of triumph on her face, a playful glint her eyes.

"Church was patrolling the bloody corridors, took some time to get past him but I'm here…ta-da!" She winked at him and his breath caught in his chest, another wave of desire washed over him, the hole in his chest filled with the longing ache to tell her. Feeling this way was bad enough but not knowing what she felt for him was torture. But how could he raise the subject without drawing suspicion, it was impossible.

Clary sat beside him on the bed and put her hand on his forehead. Her brow furrowed and the playfulness in her eyes disappeared, replaced with concern.

"Are you feeling ok? You look like death warmed up." Her hand moved slowly from Jace's forehead down his face, where she brushed her fingers across his cheekbone.

He closed his eyes. This is heaven, he thought as her fingers trailed down his cheeks to his lips. Another pang of pain rang in his chest like a gong; his heart was hammering. Ok, he thought, maybe this is hell after all. He wanted some much just to kiss her fingers which were now gliding slowly over his lips.

Clary's fingers stopped in the centre of his lips for a second, frowned, and then tapped them against his lips as she spoke.

"Hello? How are you feeling because you really don't look well?" Jace opened his eyes and smiled.

"Sorry…I'm feeling fine. Don't worry about me." He tried to put as much feeling in his lie but he knew his voice had betrayed him.

She sat there, still as a statue, thinking. He focused out the window on the glowing city outside, trying to control his emotions. This was completely irrational. He was usually so good at hiding and yet when she was around…it was like she could take his masks, his serenity, and make him face the things that he ran from.

He stole a glance at her and regretted it as soon as he did it. She was still sat in the same position. Her face was soft and her eyes were closed, her long black lashes skimming the top of her cheeks. Her lips trembled slightly and a lone tear was poised on the end of her nose.

He reached up and wiped away the tear with his finger, his eyes scrutinizing her face for any emotion that would portray the reason behind her tears. Clary was better at this than he was. She remained still, her face completely emotionless. A perfect picture he thought.

Jace sat up so he was eye level with her, and gently swept a stray strand of hair out of her face. She opened his eyes, and a couple more tears escaped from the liquid emeralds of her eyes.

His heart was shattering against his chest, sure to break through his ribs at any moment. He hated being this close to her. He could never control himself. But then again, he couldn't pull away; he loved the closeness between them.

"I'm sorry" Clary whispered.

"You're forgiven." She smiled and more tears rolled down her face. "What are you sorry for?"

"For what ever I have done."

"You haven't done anything." Jace put his fingers under her chin and moved her head so that she was looking at him. An angel shouldn't cry, he thought.

"For a while now, it's like you can't stand to be near me. You won't look at me. You pull away from me. You hardly talk to me anymore! And every time you allow me near you, you look like…well, like you just did then, in pain, frightened. I just thought it was me, but everyone's noticed it. You've changed, and I can't help but think that I've done something to cause that!" she sighed. The tears were flowing down her face freely.

He didn't know what to say. The words he wanted to say were trapped in his throat, like a ball. They sat in silence; the only sound was the rain beginning to drum softly against the window.

"It's not you, it's me…" he choked on the rest of the sentence. A sad smile spread across her face.

"I've heard that before," Clary's voice was barely audible.

"I…you…" He couldn't think of anything. The hole in his chest had deepened and was now filled with despair along with fear. He needed to comfort her, he knew that. But he couldn't tell her the truth, as much as he wanted to. The tiny strands left of their delicate friendship would break and he couldn't bare the thought of losing her completely. He was trapped, sacrifice everything and tell her or make up a lie to save her feelings. He chose the latter.

"I haven't been feeling well," was all Jace could say. Anger flickered across her face.

"I thought you just said you felt fine," more tears tumbled down her face, "and how come you only feel ill when I'm around and not when anyone else is around? How come your only "not feeling well" when I talk or touch you?!" Clary's eyes sparkled with malice now.

"It's not you I swear," he whispered, he could feel his eyes burning. He pushed the tears back and swallowed. "I haven't been feeling well I promise you-"

"You are a really bad liar," she interrupted, her voice was raised.

"Please…believe me," he whispered. His eyes were filling with tears. He got off the bed and walked to the window and pressed his fore-head back in its original place. He welcomed the cold. She stood on the opposite side of the room facing. "Please…" he whispered again, hating himself for breaking down. How did she do this to him?

"I'm not leaving until you tell me why," her voice broke on the last word.

"Please…just drop it," his voice slightly louder now.

"No, not until you tell me the truth!" And he knew she meant it. Stuff it, he thought. He turned to face her. His tears were tumbling down his face and his jaw was set. This is going to hurt.

"You want to know?" he was surprised at how his voice was coated with venom. She looked surprised too. He had never said a bad word towards her; he had always been so gentle and forgiving with her.

"You really want to know," his tone was mocking now. Clary nodded slowly. He chuckled slyly. This was going to hurt them both.

"Well I'm sorry to tell you, but unrequited love hurts," his voice broke on several words. He hadn't been this emotional for a very long time. Even at his parents funeral he hadn't shed a tear, but now he couldn't stop them.

"You're talking in riddles again," she said quietly. She looked like a rabbit caught in head lights, her big, teary eyes peering at him under lashes. Jace's heart skipped a beat.

"Are you really that blind? Don't you have any idea what so ever?" He paused. He examined her face, sadness and fear was all that he found. He turned to look out the window. He could see his reflection in the glass, and he had to admit he would have been scared of him. He hadn't changed out of his ripped clothes; his own dry blood coated his hand. Dark circles surrounded his eyes and he was covered in mud. Not my best look, he thought.

Without turning to look at Clary, Jace whispered. "You've never seen…" He paused gathering his word. He licked his lips and turned. His heart was racing and his breathing was deep.

"I have loved you since I was a little boy. At first I just loved you like a best friend, I wanted to protect you, and I never wanted to be away from. As I got older, I was confused by what I felt. We always would ring each other, it was normal for us, you ring me to talk about school or discuss the latest gossip, and I would ring you just to hear your voice. I was interested in what you were saying, of course was, but I would sit there for hours listening to you talk about girly stuff and I would be completely absorbed in what you said, because you said it."

He paused. He was slightly calmer now.

"When you would walk down the street, your hair blowing in the wind…" That wouldn't do, he thought. He licked his lips again with frustration. Why couldn't he just say it?

"As I…no, we grew older, my feelings for you got stronger. My knees would go weak when I saw you; I would always get butterflies in my stomach. I just thought I had a simple crush…not that crushes are simple things!"

Jace paused to catch his breath. He couldn't bear to tare his eyes away from Clary's face, just in case he caught some inclination as to what she was feeling or thinking.

"When I left you, I thought about you none stop. I tried not to! I tried to occupy myself with other things, but it was impossible. I finally admitted to myself the thing that I had tried to avoid for so many years…" he looked directly into her eyes and took a deep breath, "I had fallen in love with you."

She stood there in silence, her face perfectly emotionless; the dead look in her eyes made his stomach turn.

"I've tried hard to not love you, I swear I have, but you can't imagine how hard it is. I've tried to hate you, be away from you, to ignore you, to be horrible to you…but you're so utterly sweet, innocent and kind, that I can't help but go back to square one and render myself yours." Jace couldn't stop the tears, he couldn't control his breathing. He thought he was a mess anyway but this was ridiculous. To late to turn back now, he thought.

He couldn't look at her anymore. He was too ashamed that he had cried in front of her, he was scared that he'd said too much and lost her completely. He looked out the window and focused on nothing.

"The thing is I know I'm not good enough for you." Just saying those words nearly made him double over with pain. "I've always known that. And so I've tried to be your friend, I was still able to be close to you, still able to comfort you gently when you've been upset. I've always tried to be there for you, no matter the time, day, the place where I am, what I'm doing at the time; when you have called to say you need me I have always been at your side, no matter what." Jace choked on his words; it felt like his heart was in his throat.

"I have stood by and watched as certain boys have caught your fancy, some of them have been friends of mine, who you asked me to "set you up" with." He put one hand on the window to steady him and closed his eyes. The pain was unbearable making him gasp for breath.

Painful memories came flooding through the barriers which he had so carefully put up. He was falling apart where he stood. So many things he'd buried were resurfacing. Flashes of unwanted memories digging up more as they came played across his mind. He was reliving all the feelings, the memories themselves. He forced himself to open his eyes; he couldn't lose himself now.

He turned and leaned against the window, he focused on the floorboards. "So you see, for years I have been sat on the sidelines, waiting for the day that will never come…" He looked up through his tears at her. He was on the verge of completely losing all of his precious self control.

"And I will continue to sit there, holding my breath, forever loyally at your side when you need me…" He was beginning to slide down the window. With his voice choked, his soul broken, his barriers down, his head swamped with memories of all his mistakes, he whispered, "I'll still be there if you need me, and maybe in the next life, just maybe…I'll be good enough for you." He smiled a crooked smile and slowly closed his eyes.

Out of exhaustion, Jace collapsed to the floor, losing himself entirely in his history and surrendering completely to his emotions. He had fore-told that opening himself up like this would be painful; he just hadn't anticipated the force of which it had hit him. How could he be so stupid? He'd been so careful not to think of things that could resurface other feelings; he'd always contained himself with his measured self control.

Clary stood there. Numb. Of course she hadn't seen anything; Jace was always a closed book, always so cryptic. He was always so calm and serine, and here he was in front of her. Lying awkwardly on the floor and crying uncontrollably.

She didn't know what to do. She wanted to hold him and reassure him until he was ok. But after what he had just said she didn't know if she would make it worse. She couldn't just let him lie there. She was shocked at how much emotion he had, she'd never seen him so distraught over one thing.

Jace was on his side, hugging his knees for comfort. He couldn't believe what was happening. It's just a bad dream, he thought. A memory of his parents flashed behind his eyes, releasing a fresh bout of tears; he wanted so much for them to be with him right now.

He felt arms weaving their way around his body, and shift him softly so he was sitting. The one arm was around his waist whilst the other cradled his head, rocking gently from side to side till the early hours of the morning, where he finally slipped into an uneasy slumber.

Rite...emotional and long, i know. Tell me what you think no matter how bad it is. tara x