Authors Notes: My first one shot for a series that I recently fell in love with. Written for my friend and FANTABULOUS beta Marcy! Enjoy!
Music that inspired this writing: "Fire" by Augustana and "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room" by John Mayer...go listen, they are WONDERFUL!
Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I do not own Simon, Clary, or Jace or any part of the Mortal Instruments Series.
I sat and watched; all night I watched as her every move played out in slow motion. I asked myself at first why I insisted on torturing myself like this; I didn't receive an answer, not that one was expected. The reprieve I felt when I let myself see her as I needed to more than made up for the agony of only being able to watch.
She was dancing with Simon, what should have been a slow dance between lovers. They looked more like sister and brother; the irony killed me. I'd give anything to be in his place. Rather than shouting things at her over the music to make her laugh I'd whisper things into her ear to make her blush. Rather than tickling her sides with my fingers, I'd place gentle pressure on her back, pulling her closer to me.
These dances in the Glass City were dull, repetitive, and a frivolous choice of activity given the current state of things if you asked me...unfortunately, no one did. It did provide a good distraction, I guess. And it was nice to see Clary smiling and laughing, something I hadn't seen her do in several days.
She was exquisite tonight. Her hair tumbled over her shoulders in loose curls and the black dress that Isabelle had put her in was beyond words. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't see her as a sister, perhaps because I never got to see her in all of her awkward pre-adolescence glory. 'Like a brother' I'd told her, my biggest lie ever.
I've never actually lied to or for anyone before, not when it really mattered...but for her, for her, I'm finding that I'd do a number of things that I wouldn't have done before.
Simon spun her and the smile that spread across her face could have reignited a star long burned out. I stopped and started down the winding staircase that led to the ball room floor. The song that had been playing started to come to a close as I made my way through the crowed of dancers.
I was in front of them before I realized what I was doing.
"Jace!" Clary exclaimed in obvious surprise.
"Good evening, Clary." I spoke softly, still under whatever spell she'd been weaving over me the entire night. I turned my head once in greeting to her companion, "Simon."
"I thought you weren't coming to this 'ridiculous waste of time'?" He asked me, only a hint of malice in his voice.
"My fairy god mother showed up, I have to be back by midnight." I shrugged.
Clary rolled her eyes and turned to Simon, placing a hand on his chest. "Will you go get me a drink?"
It was a gentle way for her to ask him to leave us and he knew it; he also accepted it with grace. He simply nodded backing away a few steps before turning and striding slowly away from us.
We just stood there, towards the edge of the dance floor. The opening notes to another ballad began to fill the air; all haunting piano and desperate vocals. The lights glinted off her fiery hair as she started moving slowly to the sadness. I was frozen; left to wonder if she had any idea how she affected me.
"You just gonna stand there and make me dance all by myself?"
That woke me up. I blinked and reached out to pull her to me. She slid into my arms fitting as though rather than being made from the same mold we were cast from complimenting ones; yin and yang, light and dark, her and I. Neither of us couldn't exist wholly without the other.
I couldn't think of her that way. I could see her as a sister; I had to. I would for the sake of keeping her...surely any part of Clary was better than nothing at all.
Everyone was staring I was sure. She was right; we would never have been able to escape the condemning eye of society. The empty space between us was painful to keep; like trying to hold two strong magnets a fraction of an inch apart. Almost impossible, not because I wasn't strong enough, but because it went against everything that was naturally meant to happen.
The song started to swell around us, and I took one of her hands from my shoulder and held it in mine. The way she looked at me then, almost guiltily from breaking personal boundaries, made it difficult for me to continue to convince myself that all she wanted from me was a brother.
The cool air from the open doors that led out to the empty balcony washed over my face and brought me back to reality. I smiled down at her and spun her out slowly. She stumbled on her way back into my embrace and fell hard into my arms. I lost my footing and we both tumbled backwards out onto the open balcony and into the dark cover of night.
I tightened my arms around her as I broke her fall. When I opened my eyes she stared down at me, her sweet red lips a breath away from my own. My brain shouted at me to move away while instinct urged me to close the distance.
I stared deep into her eyes trying to read her thoughts; she answered my gaze without any trace of hesitation. I could see the same war waging in her head that I was losing in my own.
I couldn't do it. It wasn't what she wanted, and therefore, wasn't a risk I was willing to take anymore. I sighed closing my eyes and began to turn my head away from her, I needed to breathe, to clear my head of her.
She stopped me with her warm palm on my cheek. I reopened my eyes and met determination and fire...her eyes burned with both. She kept them trained on mine as she leaned in stopping a millimeter before contact. Her lips parted and she exhaled the breath that she'd been holding in, so sweet in my mouth.
A challenge? I accepted.
I caught her top lip between my own, so slow. Heat and relief and pain flooded over me. I moved a hand up her back; twisting in her hair, holding her to me as she ran her tongue along the line of my bottom lip.
"Clary?" Simon's voice carried through the doors, breaking the dark quiet that had quilted itself over us.
She jerked her face away from mine, and everything came flooding back; the music and loud conversations from inside, the warmth of her body pressed against mine, and the ramifications that would probably result from what I'd just done.
Her breathing which had all but stopped, restarted double-time. She jumped up and held a hand over her mouth as she stared down at me. The emotions that flooded over her features flashed so quickly that I couldn't keep up.
"Clary?" Simon was closer now.
I sat up, "Clary-" her name stuck in my throat; I couldn't find the words to continue.
She slowly shook her head from side to side, and then turned and left me there.
Wondering...watching...waiting. I knew now that this thing; she and I...it wasn't a simple as yes or no. There was no turning it off any more than one could turn off the flames of a burning building. Just like that; eventually...we too would be consumed.