Authors Notes: Another one shot in which I substitute my own reality for Ms. Clare's. Enjoy!!
Many thanks go to my MJ's for helping this along!
Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I do not own Clary, or Jace or any part of the Mortal Instruments Series for that matter.
Clary jumped back from Isabelle and fell into a crouch. She hadn't thought when she'd accepted Isabelle's, Jace's, and Alec's offer to train her that it would include hand to hand combat. Though, now it made perfect sense. She wasn't very good at fighting with her hands. They had dedicated several hours a day for the last four days to it, and she had the welts and bruises to prove it. Even with the protective and healing Marks they'd given her, she still had taken to soaking her aching body in a warm tub for the last three nights.
The combat training room at the Institute was large and relatively secluded. There was a small locker room and a second level observation deck; the rest of the room was devoted to open floor space.
Isabelle lunged at Clary again, but Clary stepped out of the way just in time, placed a tap on Isabelle's back just hard enough to over balance her, sending her hurtling to the floor. Clary stood over her with a shocked expression on her face. The two boys watching had two very different expressions on their faces. Alec's was clearly impressed, and Jace's...she couldn't tell really, emotion flashed and was replaced with nothing so quickly that she didn't have time to process it before it was gone.
"That's it," Izzy declared from the floor as she turned and started to get up. "I'm done. Sweat was beading on both of their foreheads, dripping slowly down their temples.
"Great!" Jace exclaimed. "My turn."
"Actually," Alec interrupted him, "time's up for today anyhow."
"What! I only got to go at her once today, that's hardly fair!"
Alec and Izzy turned and looked at him; Clary had somehow missed his unintentional innuendo. "Good Lord, Jace! You are such a whiner, if you want to train a bit longer we can. I'm actually a little pumped up still." She shook her hands out and bounced in place on the balls of her feet.
"I'm not sticking around; I have to get ready for tonight." Izzy threw out.
"Yeah," Alec said, "It's been a long day man, I done with this today."
"You don't have to stay." Jace said simply shrugging his shoulders.
"You won't have anyone here to spot. What if something happens to you?
Jace rolled his eyes. "You worry too much, Alec. I'm pretty sure Clary has mastered a simple healing rune by now. Not that I'll need one," he added with a smirk.
"Nothing is going to happen, Jace. I'll go easy on him." Clary said, smiling.
Jace scoffed, "Right, like you could ever touch me...if I remember correctly every time we've sparred we've finished with you looking up at me from the flat of your back."
"You're getting awfully cocky." Clary countered.
"Some things can't be helped." He said simply, a smirk playing at the corner of his mouth. Clary just stared at him. "We won't be needing a spotter, it'll be fine." Jace threw over his shoulder to Alec and Isabelle.
They must have left, because Clary didn't hear them anymore. She didn't look up to see if she was right or not. She was focused on Jace, he was still stunning...there would probably never be any reprieve from that. It'd been days, weeks, months—she didn't know anymore, since they'd found out they were related. They could never again act on the desire and still developing love they felt for each other; or that she felt for him at least. She wasn't completely sure how he felt about her anymore.
He was either completely over whatever he did feel for her, or he was really good at hiding it. She never saw a trace of anything in his deep gold eyes; nothing but humor. His ultimate disguise. She could never tell when his sarcasm was simply instinct or when it was a mask hiding his true feelings. She watched him often when she didn't think he'd notice. Waiting to see is that carefully cultivated façade would crumble, or at least reveal a window; some way to see into him.
He stood there, watching her now. She stared back into his eyes, empty but for her. She was reflected back at herself as if she stood between two mirrors; forever receding into the distance. She took just one slow and careful step toward him. The floor creaked and he blinked for the first time in what seemed like hours. He stood up straight and took a step back away from her. She could almost see the wall slam back down. She waited for the sarcastic remark that she knew was coming, instead he reached down and grabbed the hem of his black t-shirt. He pulled it up over his head revealing his defined torso in a swirl of black and honey.
Jace started circling her. She watched unable to look away as the muscles across his chest and arms shifted, constricting and releasing under his skin as he moved around her preparing to attack. Clary was transfixed; she couldn't tear her eyes away from him, and was still caught off guard when he dove after her. Seconds too late, she put an arm up to block his blow. She stumbled backwards as a sharp pain shot itself through her shoulder. He whirled around and started back after her again, but she was ready this time. She jumped back out of his way and crouched down. Her greatest advantage in hand to hand combat was her size. The smaller the target the harder it is to hit, Jace himself had taught her that.
She stuck a small foot out just before he met her for a third time and caught his ankle sending him sprawling to the ground. She watched the emotions on his face as he quickly got back to his feet. The air around them sparked and vibrated with an energy that she'd not experienced while fighting before. Clary couldn't imagine what would have produced it, but she smiled as it began to fill her up. A pleasant tingling sensation that started at the back of her neck and flowed down her arms right down to her fingertips. She jumped up and swung her leg, enjoying the shocking jolt that slammed though her body when it made contact with his side.
Surprise fell over her though, when he grabbed her leg and tossed her across the room. She slid to a stop in a heap about 15 feet from him. She slowly lifted her head and peered at him through the strands of hair that had fallen out of the tight ponytail at the back of her head. He met her glance breath for breath. His chest heaved now, any trace of humor completely gone. After a long moment he held his hands out and raised his eyebrows in question.
She didn't hesitate. Clary got back to her feet and was after him before she'd finished exhaling the breath she'd pulled in while raising herself off the ground. She caught a spark of something in his features that hadn't been there before as she ran after him. The fighting was quick now, blow after blow meeting block after block. She struggled to control her breathing, her tight fitting workout clothes sticking to her soaked through with sweat.
Jace didn't have that problem, his bare chest glistened. His hair clumping with wet and falling in tempting tufts in front of his eyes. She was struck again by his beauty, though it was a completely different kind of beautiful this time. This was a rough and imperfect beauty...all desire and need. Distracted, she let her hands fall to her sides and took several steps back, nearly stumbling and falling backwards on her ass. She watched him as he dropped his own hands and leaned over supporting his weight on his knees. Breath came heavy and thoughts quickly. Clary struggled to regain her composure, she should have turned away. She watched as he stood and brought a hand up to his forehead, pushing his sweat darkened hair back out of his eyes with his fingers. It didn't stay long, slowly swooping back down over his temple.
Her knees threatened to give out and she was suddenly so angry. Angry at him for distracting her, angry at him for loving her and not loving her, angry at the situation...angry at herself for not being able to step back from it no matter how hard she tried...no matter how much time passed.
She lunged at him, only barely registering the look of surprise plastered across his face. She swung at him blindly, grateful for the sweat dripping down her face that hid the burning tears finding their way across her cheeks now. She didn't notice when he stopped fighting back.
Her hands worked of their own accord now. When they grew tired she backed up, swung around, and the outside of her leg made resounding contact with him. He went flying backwards into the wall with enough force to cause two of the framed pictures to slip from their nails and plummet to the floor with an echoing shatter of glass.
And then all was quiet. The only thing she could hear was the gasp-gasp of her own shallow breaths.
Clary brought her hand up to cover her mouth, which hung open in an expression of shock and fear. She stared after Jace for what seemed like forever, but which probably only amounted to about 15 seconds. Waiting...waiting for him to move, but he just laid there on his side. She started toward him, running—nearly stumbling in her haste to reach him.
She fell to her knees by his side and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. He groaned, "Jesus woman, are you trying to kill me?"
He rolled over slowly and looked up at her. "Oh, Jace!" She very nearly shouted. "I thought...I thought." She couldn't finish the thought, not willing to think it again. "I'm so sorry." She finished lamely.
He attempted to get up; she watched an expression of shocked pain flash in his eyes and he fell back to the floor. "Shit!" He shouted.
Clary's hands fluttered around his curled body looking for some where to touch, something to do. "Jace! What's wrong? I'm so sorry, I don't know what came over me. I didn't mean to—" He put up a hand to stop her.
"No apologies right now, Clary. You are going to have to heal me."
"No, I can't...What if I mess it up? I'll go get Alec, he can't have gone far." She started to stand.
"No, it can't wait. And it isn't that hard, you'll have no problems doing it."
"Jace, I don't—"
"Clary, just for once! Please. Do this." He gritted his teeth as he turned his head to look at her as he said that. She was quiet as she nodded.
"What's wrong? What exactly did I do to you?" She reached out and brushed more hair out of his eyes. He was still shirtless and she could see a large purplish bruise beginning to form around the base of his neck and opposite shoulder. She leaned closer to him.
"I think my collarbone is broken." He whispered. "You can fix it. It's no problem at all."
Clary stood and rushed across the room, grabbed her stele from the pile of her things, and returned to him as quickly as she could. By the time she'd gotten back to him, he'd gritted his teeth and rolled over onto his back.
"Ok, what do I do?" She asked, poised and ready to fix her mistake. She looked down at him. He was drawing in short gasping breaths, his chest barely rising and falling. His eyes were shut tightly and his lips were pressed in a thin line. She felt terrible. Clary didn't know what had come over her. She was just so angry and he was there, challenging her to hit him...so she did.
He kept his eyes shut, speaking through his clenched teeth. "On my arm there should be a faded rune."
"Jace, there are lots of faded runes on your arm."
"The healing one, Clary. Do you remember what it looks like?"
"Yes." She touched the faded white lines on his arm, remnants from receiving this Mark over and over again for years. "Here?"
He breathed in a short gasp and released it as he said, "Yeah." He was quiet for a moment, "You'll have to trace it with the stele, just trace over the marks that are already there."
"Ok." She answered simply. She brought the delicate looking tool to his arm and started brushing it over the lines as carefully as she could.
"No," He gasped. "Harder than that, you have to press a bit harder than that."
She didn't speak, just added pressure bit by bit until she saw his tense frame start to relax. She stopped moving the stele when he stopped moving. His breathing very shallow now; even, almost like he was asleep.
She watched him as his muscles started to relax one by one. His breathing gained depth, finding a more normal rhythm. His face relaxed; eyes still closed but not screwed shut like before. His mouth--which had been taut with pain—relaxed, and his lips, still swollen from being bitten, were a deep shade of red as blood rushed back to the veins that filled them. He still didn't move.
His face and torso still glistened with the sweat that had accumulated during their training. His hair was beginning to curl as it dried in golden disarray across his forehead. She reached up and fingered one of the curls before letting it fall. She glanced down at the stele in her other hand. Without thinking she raised it and touched the tip of it to his chest.
"What are you doing?" He whispered, staying still, allowing the healing mark to continue its work.
"I dunno." She whispered back.
"Probably not the best idea then."
She continued her work. Letting instinct take over, she had to help him...make this better. She focused on him, on his torso and shoulders; watching the bruises fade. She let her eyes close and raised her other hand, placing it on his face and brushing away his hair with tender fingers. She felt his hand cup hers, holding it to his face.
"Clary, what are you doing to me?" He whispered, his breath started to pick up; coming once again in short gasps.
"I...I'm helping you. I'm giving you what you need."
"How do you know what I need? I've had it, the healing rune is nearly done working. I can feel it."
"No," She spoke quietly, "hush."
He stilled then, though Clary wasn't sure if that was because he trusted her, or if he just couldn't move yet. Her movements slowed and she cracked her eyes open a fraction to see what she'd done. On his chest , over the collarbone that hadn't been injured was a small black rune. A combination of swirls and sharp angles, working together to form something beautiful. She had no clue what it meant or did, but it was beautiful, just like the boy that wore it.
She set the stele down next to her and carefully traced one finger over the dark lines. Once it'd finished its journey her finger was joined by the rest of her hand as she laid her palm flat on his chest, moving it carefully to the other side that had only moments ago been broken and bruised. She looked down at his face; his eyes were open now and trained on her. They were so deep; full of so many questions and answers. He turned his head slowly, keeping his eyes on hers, until his lips brushed against her palm still held to his cheek by his now very warm hand. His eyes held a challenge. Pull away, Clary. They demanded. Pull away.
Her heart started to hammer in her chest, the sound pulsed in her ears until they rang in protest. She could feel blood rushing to her face, her pulse pounding away in her neck. She couldn't move, frozen in place as if her limbs were suddenly filled with sand. He closed his eyes then, and pressed his lips to her hand more firmly. Her eyes fell shut, and her breathing hitched.
Jace worked his lips up her palm, not stopping until he'd reached the very tips of her slender fingers.
"Jace. I—I don't...I…meep." He took the tip on her finger into his warm mouth briefly, effectively cutting her off with a feeble squeak. He didn't linger, taking her finger tip out and pressing a lingering kiss to it before turning her hand over and ghosting his lips over the back just as he had her palm.
Tiny sparks of electricity flared across her skin, lingering for a moment too long before fizzling out. He took his time with the back of her hand; running his lips slowly down each one of her fingers, and kissing each tip. She pulled her bottom lip in between her teeth and bit down lightly, her breath coming in stuttering, irregular gasps.
After he'd finished devoting an equal amount of time to each finger he moved to her wrist. He lingered there, running the soft skin on the inside across his cheek before bringing it to his nose. He inhaled long and slow.
"Clary, what'd you do to me?" He whispered. It was almost a mix between a moan and a whine; like he couldn't decide if he was happy or angry...like he was struggling to win some kind of battle that she couldn't see.
"I didn't—I mean I don't..." She trailed off as he started traveling again, up the inside of her arm. "...I don't know." She finished lamely.
Jace ran his nose so slowly up her arm, pausing to kiss the inside of her elbow and then moving on. She felt like her arm was on fire, and it was spreading quickly. He used his other arm to prop himself up on his elbow, she still hadn't been able to move. He tugged her down an inch so he could reach her shoulder. He placed a firm kiss there, and then shifted until he was sitting up mirroring her position.
He watched her again. Clary couldn't understand the look in his eyes. They were so raw; whatever was there was completely unguarded. He leaned in so slowly...slow enough for her to stop him, had she wanted to. He ghosted his nose across her shoulder right up to the base of her throat, and she tilted her head involuntarily. He put his lips right where her pulse was pounding out a disjointed rhythm, hard and heavy, and held them there.
She brought her hand up and wound her fingers in his hair, holding him to her. He journeyed up to the skin just below her ear. He kissed her there and then backed up a fraction of an inch, his breath too hot on her ear.
Jace froze then, not moving but for grabbing her hand from his hair and pulling it down to his chest. He pressed it to the warm slick skin over his beating heart. It slammed in his chest; she could feel its power and speed. "You feel that?" He breathed against her ear?
"You feel what you do to me?" His lips brushed her earlobe and she couldn't stop the shiver that ran down her spine.
"Yes." Clary exhaled.
He took her earlobe between his lips and tugged gently, and then kissed her in that spot right where her ear met her cheek. "Every time I see you, Clary. Every time I see you my heart does that, and there isn't anything I can do to stop it."
"Why?" She couldn't get much else out. His face was still so close, and she was having a hard time forming a coherent thought.
"I ask myself that every day."
"No, why didn't you," she struggled to get the words out. "...tell me? Why didn't you tell me?"
He was still running his lips across her cheek, not kissing but it burned all the same. She could feel his eyelashes, butterfly soft, grazing her high cheekbones. He paused, "It's not what you wanted."
Clary kept her hand pressed firmly to his chest just over his heart. "It is."
She felt him sigh against her cheek. "Don't toy with me, Clary."
She turned her head from side to side slowly, and he moved down her face; stopping just shy of her lips, his kiss only a breath away. "Say it." His lips brushed hers when he spoke.
"No. Say it." His hot breath washed over her lips and she could taste him on her tongue. It brought back memories of the last kiss they'd shared, and her breathing hitched.
"I want this, Jace." She ran her hand up his chest and around the back of his neck, giving him no option to escape.
He leaned in and caught her top lip for just a second before letting it go. "What?" He was gasping for air. "What do you, want?"
"I want it," Her lips vibrated as her soft voice passed through her lips and onto his. "I want you."
Jace pressed his lips to hers, hard and soft all at the same time. With a shared sigh he fell back and she followed. Lips moved against each other slowly at first, carefully. As if they were both afraid of breaking whatever fragile spell had been cast to allow this. Her fingers found their way up into the hair at the back of his head, and as he tilted his head one direction, she tilted hers the opposite. It was like dancing with someone, up and down, side to side, give and take.
When his lips parted and she felt his hot tongue brush her upper lip briefly, there was no hesitation as she parted her own in invitation. And when his tongue met hers she couldn't stop the groan that found its way up her throat. It was divine. Perfect. And she returned the favor, pressing back until she had the satisfaction of forcing the same sound from him.
Clary could taste him, and it was so different from the other times they'd kissed. The desire they felt for each other had been fermenting for so long...sitting in silence. It hadn't been allowed a face or a voice, and now that they could both not only see and hear it but feel it—touch it—taste it...it felt uncontainable.
She felt his hands leave burning trails on her waist just under her shirt. He seemed hesitant, like he was still asking her permission...still begging her to say that she wanted him.
"Ugn," She let out, "Jace. I want this." She repeated again. That gave him whatever it was he had been waiting for, his warm fingers traveled up higher, brushing the fabric on the underside of her breast. Clary felt the curve of her back grow more pronounced as she pushed herself into his touch. He reached around the back of her and pulled her the rest of the way onto him, cradling her between his legs.
She needed air and pulled away from his lips, but she was unwilling to let this—whatever this was—stop. She ducked her head under his chin and kissed him there. Experimenting, she let her tongue dip out and taste the salty sweet skin of his neck, and was rewarded with a gasp. She smiled against his skin and tried using her teeth; so, so gently. This time rather than a gasp she both felt and heard a low moan deep in his chest. He pushed his head back granting her more access, his hands drifted down her sides and she had to fight to keep from yelping when he grabbed her backside with both hands and pulled her up another two inches.
He kept his hands there, hot and heavy and electric...nearly burning her even through two layers of fabric. She set back to work on his shoulders and chest; particularly enjoying the shapes residing right where his throat met his shoulders. She slowly worked her way down, tracing the dark black lines of his permanent Marks and the silvery lines of his faded ones. She could hear him positively panting, and when a faded Mark led her tongue to his nipple he hissed and arched his hips up using his hands on her bottom to hold her down.
The pressure was divine, sending a shocking wave of pleasure through her. Clary cried out against his skin, and dug her nails into his shoulder. He brought his hands up, cupped her cheeks, and claimed her lips once more; swallowing the tail end of her cry. Clary couldn't think straight; the only thing she knew to be truth was that she needed to feel that again.
Before she could do anything to act on that impulse however, Jace was lifting himself up and she went with it, willing to do just about anything for him at that point. He expertly sat up without letting so much as an inch of space find its way between them. His hands were all over then, leaving trails of searing heat wherever they touched. She simply held on to him as tightly as she could; the fear of how painful a fall from the heights they were reaching would be edged its way into the back of her mind.
Jace pulled back from her, eyes closed, lips swollen and glistening, breath coming in short stuttered gasps. He licked his lips and a small smirk found its way to the corner of his mouth, almost as if he were still enjoying the taste of her on them. Clary watched him closely as he slowly opened his eyes, and looked right into hers. Deep. So deep.
He stared for what seemed like hours, days, years; but it wasn't uncomfortable. It was like he was enjoying his moment. Making is last. Savoring each second.
Slowly, his hands gripped the bottom of her shirt. He raised his eyebrows infinitesimally, asking permission. Way beyond thinking, Clary simply raised her arms over her head in answer and he wasted no time pulling her sweat soaked shirt off and tossing it over his shoulder. He returned right to her mouth, pulling her against him. If she thought the feel of his bare chest had been heavenly under her fingertips, it held nothing to this. Nothing.
The feel of his skin under hers set every nerve in her body on edge. She was suddenly hyper aware of every single piece of her that was touching him. From the wisps of his hair that were caressing her forehead as he moved his lips hungrily against hers, all the way down to the distinct bulge where she was sitting on his lap. His kisses slowed and he moved his lips down slowly along her jaw line. He used a hand to move her face to the side so he could get to the spots he wanted. She was putty in his capable hands, so far beyond reason...lost in sensation.
His lips and tongue worked their way down from her ear, his other hand pushing her now loose hair off of her shoulder. He peppered kisses across her shoulder, stopping where her pink lace bra strap created a slight indentation. His hand came up deliberately slow and hooked one finger under it, while his lips continued to work meticulously against one hypersensitive spot. Clary stopped breathing, when she felt his hot tongue caress the indentation that the strap had left on her shoulder. He pressed one lingering kiss on the now moist skin before replacing the strap and continuing on his way.
Painfully slow, he moved down along the line of the delicate lace. Her chest heaved and she was sure he must be able to hear her heart trying to pound its way out of her chest; and either didn't care or was enjoying it, because it only seemed to encourage him. He pressed his lips in quick succession along the flushed skin that stretched out above her breasts. Her head fell back, she couldn't hold up it any more. He slid a hand around her back to support her melting frame.
When he finally made his way up to her other shoulder, he let his teeth graze the subtle curve before biting down. Her head shot up, and she couldn't stop the cry that escaped her or the involuntary rock that her hips gave, drawing a guttural sound from him as well.
"Jesus, Clary!" He took her mouth once again. Hungry and desperate. It was she that pulled back first this time, gasping for the air that he kept stealing from her. Jace studied her again for just a second before he lifted her and turned her around in his lap. Blind to his expression and his actions now, Clary simply closed her eyes and gave herself over to feeling. She felt his fingertips run down her back, shoulder to hip...slow, slow. When he reached her hip his hand curled around and he embraced her from behind, pulling her back against his torso. He leaned in close to her ear and whispered, "Never, never in my life did I ever imagine-" His voice was breathy, and the shock of hot air to the back of her ear sent a shiver through her that rippled up and down her spine. His hands moved up, smoothing across the soft expanse of her bare stomach.
He leaned down and pressed a kiss to the back of her shoulder, holding it there for a second too long but stopping before it could actually begin to burn her. One of his hands left her front and swept the hair that lay sticky with sweat across her back and shoulders away, revealing to him the creamy taut skin hidden beneath.
He worshiped her back just as he had her front; lingering on spots that he must have found particularly appealing. She had no way of knowing the intentions behind his actions, all she knew was how it made her feel. ...Like she'd found home? ...Wish fulfillment? ...She didn't even know. It was good. That's what she knew; it was good.
He stopped suddenly and pulled back. The shock of losing his warmth filled her with a void that she hadn't expected. When he didn't move again or speak she got worried.
"Jace?" She barely whispered, so afraid of ruining everything.
Both of his hands had left her, and he brought one finger up and ran it across a spot on her left shoulder; almost as if he were tracing something.
"Where'd you get this?" He asked, his voice missing the warmth and desperation it had been dripping with only moments before.
She scooted off his lap and looked over her shoulder at the spot that still smoldered with his touch. It was a small faint scar, in the shape of a star.
"Chicken Pox." She said simply. She felt on the verge of tears, how do two people go from that kind of heat to this in seconds? She briefly wondered where the desire went; because it had to have ended up somewhere...it couldn't have just evaporated, could it?
She looked up at him and he seemed contemplative. "Jace? What's wrong?"
"What did you do to me?"
"That mark. What did you do to me?"
She glanced down and saw the faded white lines of the beautiful rune she'd drawn on him earlier. Realization cleared her senses like the sun clears away a fog. "Oh." She spoke quietly, almost like she was speaking to herself.
"I'm not positive, I was just thinking that I wanted you to have what you needed. I wanted to give you whatever you needed to be better; inside and out."
"That's ridiculous, Clary."
She backed away from his hurtful words.
He started again. "You don't understand, there was nothing stopping me a moment ago...nothing. No thoughts of inhibitions, no right or wrong, nothing." He paused, staring into her eyes. "If that rune's function is what you say...then all I need is, you...because there was literally nothing else."
"No." He shook his head and started to stand. "That can't be. That CAN'T be!" He was shouting. Angry, whether at himself or with her she had no clue. "...it can't be, and you know it."
And with that he turned and walked away from her and out the doors of the training room. Leaving her alone on the floor. Open...bare...in every possible way. She reached for her shirt and pulled it over her head as the first sob found its way up her throat.